Oct. 3, 2009
(5:24 p.m.): I think Brian Kelly summed up today’s game in his opening statement pretty perfectly. Good effort by the Bearcats, not good enough execution, need to shore up a few things during the bye week.
“We’re pleased with the win over a Miami team that played real hard,” he said. “Our kids played hard as well, and I was pleased with the effort that our team gave. But I wasn’t pleased with a number of things. But when you look at this game of football, you just try to keep winning football games. Today was not our ‘A’ game, not to take anything away from Miami. We have some work to do. From our standpoint, a rivalry game, you’re going to get somebody’s best shot. Miami gave us their best today.”
But BK pointed out two specific examples that didn’t please him. 1) The third and 21 play in the second quarter when Miami quarterback Zac Dysert rushed for 10 yards and Ricardo Thompson’s late hit out of bounds gave the RedHawks the first down – and the eventual touchdown. 2) The other Miami score when sophomore cornerback Dominique Battle whiffed on Dysert after a corner blitz that allowed Dysert to hit Andre Bratton for the 19-yard touchdown that made it 23-13 midway through the third quarter.
The moral of the story seemed to be – UC played fine, well enough to win comfortably against a rival, but perhaps not well enough to win a Big East title.
Neither on defense nor on offense, where Tony Pike completed 23 of 42 passes for 270 yards, two touchdowns and an interception and seemed just a little bit off his game.
“It seemed like the wind was at our face every time,” Pike said. “To our coaches’ credit and our defense’s credit, we stuck with our gameplan and we were able to run the ball a little bit. We just had a few mistakes on offense, not putting the ball where it needs to be and a few drops. Overall, you’re going to have games like this where the conditions weren’t perfect.”
But when Miami was driving, losing by just 10 points, the defense provided the big play when it was needed most. Earlier in the game, sophomore linebacker J.K. Schaffer had seen the route the RedHawks were trying to run, and when Dysert threw the ball his way, he was ready for it.
“We were thinking we absolutely had to come up with a stop,” Schaffer said. “There wasn’t really any other choice. They might drive the ball on us a little bit, but we’re going to bow up and do our best to stop them. That shows you the toughness of our defense.”
Obviously, the running game was huge. Since Miami made it a special effort to double-team Mardy Gilyard, the running game was there for Jake Ramsey (12 carries, 103 yards) and Isaiah Pead (five carries, 60 yards).
“They sent an extra guy Mardy’s way, and they gave us the numbers game for us to run the ball,” Pike said. “They were putting almost four to three on our trips side and they were overloading to our boundary side (short side of the field), so we had to establish the run.”
It was a must for the Bearcats.
“If we didn’t run the ball today with any effectiveness, we would have struggled,” BK said. “It was absolutely crucial, giving the kind of looks that we got in our offensive structure.”
The defensive line was outstanding. Alex Daniels collected four sacks, Derek Wolfe had two, and Craig Carey, Walter Stewart and Brandon Mills each had one. Overall, the Bearcats collected 10 sacks against Dysert for a total loss of 63 yards. That, in part, helped contribute to a UC defense that allowed only 30 rushing yards on 35 carries.
“Our preparation this week was very upbeat,” Daniels said. “We had to get some pressure off our secondary. With the three defensive lineman and Walter Stewart coming off the edge, it was our focus to get pressure. Some things happened for us, and we got some sacks. We didn’t start as fast as we wanted to, but we ended up finishing fast and we stopped the big plays.”
This and that: UC has beaten Miami four-straight times for the first time in this series’ history. “Being a Cincinnati guy, for me, it’s special,” Pike said. … Andre Revels’ 13 tackles is a career high. … Running back John Goebel made his first appearance of the season, working with the special teams unit. … Mardy Gilyard has a touchdown streak of seven games.