Kay and Bearcats Pass Owls, 38-20|
Oct. 11, 2013
CINCINNATI - Looking to rebound on a short week, University of Cincinnati head football coach Tommy Tuberville was looking for a quick start. He got that, as the Bearcats scored on the opening drives of each half en route to a 38-20 victory over Temple in American Athletic Conference action on Friday night at Nippert Stadium.
The Bearcats improved to 4-2 on the year and 1-1 in league play behind an impressive performance from quarterback Brendon Kay (Marine City, Mich./Marine City). The senior was 31-37 passing for 270 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also rushed for 18 yards and a score.
Kay's favorite target was Shaq Washington (Maple Heights, Ohio/Maple Heights), who he hit 11 times for 72 yards. Anthony McClung (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) did the scoring on the receiving end, catching two touchdown passes as part of seven hauls for 78 yards. The rushing attack was led by Tion Green (Sanford, Fla./Lake Brantley), who carried it 18 times for 91 yards and a pair of scores.
The Owls (0-6, 0-3 AAC) saw freshman quarterback P.J. Walker throw for 200 yards on 12-22 passing, good for two touchdowns and an interception. He also rushed for 48 yards. Zaire Williams and Kenneth Harper each had three catches for 51 and 40 yards, respectively. Jalen Fitzpatrick and Clinton Granger had the two receiving touchdowns.
Tuberville's desire for a fast start was fulfilled immediately. The defense forced a three-and-out to open the game before the offense took its turn with a 10-play, 79-yard drive that culminated in a 24-yard run by Green. It was the first time UC recorded an opening-drive score since the UConn game last year (Dec. 1).
The defense kept the pressure up, forcing another punt, but after UC returned the favor, the Owls answered with a four-play scoring drive capped by a 34-yard pass from Walker to Fitzpatrick, tying the game at 7-7 with 4:21 to play in the first quarter. The touchdown was the first time an opponent scored on the Bearcats in the opening quarter of a game at Nippert.
The Owls then kept the momentum, as Will Hayes forced Ralph David Abernathy IV (Atlanta, Ga./Westminster School) to fumble the ensuing kickoff. Haason Reddick fell on the ball and Temple had a short field, opening the drive at the UC 24. Five plays later, Williams found the endzone from one-yard out and Temple led, 13-7, as Nick Visco clanked the PAT off the right upright.
The Bearcats responded on the next drive to retake the lead, marching 80 yards on nine plays. The score came when Kay hit McClung for a 25-yard pass as the senior streaked down the sideline. The PAT gave UC a 14-13 lead a minute into the second quarter.
The defensive pressure kept up, forcing another Temple punt. UC's drive stalled after starting at its own one-yard line, but a 58-yard boot by Kay pinned Temple at their own one-yard line, enabling Edwards to intercept Walker on the first play and give UC the ball at the Owl 12. Kay extended the UC lead, going on a four-yard scamper to make it 21-13 with 7:10 to play in the half.
The Owls responded quickly, using just five plays to go 81 yards and score on a 30-yard pass from Walker to Granger. The PAT cut the UC lead to 21-20 with just over five minutes until the break.
The Bearcats extended the lead before the half on a two-yard run by Green. His second touchdown of the game capped an 11-play, 71-yard scoring drive that took 5:04 off the clock and left Temple with just one minute to score before intermission. The long drive would turn out to be beneficial, as with no timeouts left, Temple drove down to the UC 25-yard line before time expired in the half.
UC came out strong in the second half, as well. The first drive of the third quarter took 11 plays and went 58 yards before Kay hit McClung for a four-yard score. The PAT pushed the lead to 35-20. The drive was set-up by a 38-yard kickoff return by Abernathy that allowed UC to start at its own 42-yard line.
After a trio of punts, Tony Miliano (North Bend, Ohio/Elder) converted the only field goal of the game, connecting from 44 yards to cap a 9-play drive and extend the lead to 38-20 with just 51 seconds left in the third quarter.
The defense then forced another turnover when Walker was stripped by Jeff Luc (Port St. Lucie, Fla./Treasure Coast/Florida State) and Jordan Stepp (Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis) recovered it on the UC 14-yard line. The Bearcats took over with 12:42 left in the game and were forced to punt, but not before taking nearly six minutes off the clock.
Temple took over with 6:46 left and UC up 18 points, 38-20. The Owls ran 10 plays for 35 yards before punting, but most importantly for the Bearcats, ate 3:35 off the clock before UC took over on its own 17-yard line with 3:35 left to play.
UC used Jordan Luallen (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove/Georgia Tech) in the wildcat to close out the game, with the senior rushing six times for 59 yards to run out the clock.
For the game, UC out-gained the Owls, 475-377. The Bearcats eclipsed 200 yards in both rushing (205) and passing (270), while winning the time of possession battle, 37:00-23:00. The contest was far from clean, with a total of 19 penalties being called for 195 yards. The Bearcats also scored on all three trips to the red zone.
UC returns home next week, hosting UConn for a homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 19. Kickoff is set for Noon at Nippert Stadium and tickets are available by visiting GoBEARCATS.com or calling 1-877-CATS-TIX.