Cincinnati Stops No. 20 South Florida, 38-33

GOBEARCATSDOTCOM Ben Mauk eludes South Florida's Woody George during the second quarter. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
GOBEARCATSDOTCOM
Ben Mauk eludes South Florida's Woody George during the second quarter. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
GOBEARCATSDOTCOM
Football |

Nov. 3, 2007

Final Stats |  Quotes |  Notes |  AP Photo Gallery 

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Cincinnati forced eight turnovers, scored 31 points in the first quarter and protected the football better than it had in weeks. Still, the Bearcats needed a game-ending defensive stop to barely hold off No. 18 South Florida (No. 20 AP).

"We said it was going to be exciting," Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly said after Saturday's 38-33 victory continued USF's rapid plunge from national championship contention to last place in the Big East. "We certainly are not cookie cutter when it comes to the way we play the game of football."

Antwuan Giddens scored on a 63-yard reception and recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a second touchdown, helping the Bearcats (7-2, 2-2) stop a two-game losing streak that knocked them out of the Top 25.

Ben Mauk tossed three TD passes and the Cincinnati defense forced eight turnovers, including four interceptions and a fumble by Matt Grothe, who threw for 382 yards but only one touchdown for USF (6-3, 1-3).

Mike Mickens returned an interception 79 yards for a touchdown, and Mauk also threw TD passes of 16 yards to Dominick Goodman and 4 yards to Earnest Jackson for Cincinnati, which led 31-14 after one quarter and 38-20 at the half.

The Bearcats, who've won seven of their first nine for the first time since 1976, remained in the race for the Big East title and a lucrative spot in the Bowl Championship Series after losing two straight to Louisville and Pittsburgh.

"This keeps us in the hunt, keeps us alive," Mauk said. "We've got to come back and play great football the next three weeks and we'll go to a BCS bowl."

USF climbed all the way to No. 2 three weeks ago, but consecutive losses to Rutgers, Connecticut and now Cincinnati threaten to drop the Bulls out of the Top 25 altogether.

Conference games remain against Syracuse, Louisville and Pitt, however coach Jim Leavitt conceded the best his team can hope for at this point is the young program's third straight bowl berth.

"I don't know if we we're the No. 2 team in the country. I don't know who else is out there. I don't know if there are any great teams this year," Leavitt said, adding that the Bulls easily could be 9-0.

"We deserved to be in there because of the games we won, the teams we beat. But you've got to stay there. ... It's not like we're getting blown out. We've had a chance to win every game."

Grothe's 8-yard TD pass to Jessie Hester Jr. trimmed Cincinnati's lead to 38-33, but USF's 2-point conversion attempt failed and Jackson returned the ensuing onside kick to the Bulls' 25.

But Cincinnati struggled to put the game out of reach the entire second half, and the final two minutes was no exception. The Bearcats turned the ball over on downs at their 39, giving Grothe a chance to pull out a dramatic victory.

The USF quarterback threw 18 yards to Marcus Edwards, then connected with Hester for a 24-yard gain to the Cincinnati 18 with eight seconds remaining. He took shots at the end zone on the next two plays, but both fell incomplete -- the last with no time left on the clock.

Mickens' interception return, Giddens' long TD reception and the receiver's other touchdown on a punt blocked by Connor Barwin all came in the first quarter, when USF turned the ball over three times.

Throw in Trae Williams' 73-yard interception return on the third play of the game, as well as Mike Jenkins' school-record 100-yard kickoff return for another USF touchdown, and it truly was a first-quarter of highlight-reel plays.

Both teams were climbing in Top 25 after winning their first six games of the season but found themselves in desperate need of a win Saturday after losing two straight in conference play.

Even though the matchup lacked some of the appeal many felt it would have after USF reached No. 2, it was still very important to the Big East race.

Mauk's third TD pass made it 38-17 with just under two minutes left in the opening half. But the Bearcats would not score again and played into USF's hands by being unable to run the ball and take much time off the clock the rest of the game.

"It left our defense exposed because we couldn't close it out," Kelly said.

Delbert Alvarado kicked a 41-yard field goal just before the half, and USF pulled within 38-27 when Grothe scored on a 7-yard run late in the third quarter.

Grothe completed 31 of 54 passes and also rushed for 75 yards on 22 carries. USF finished with 481 yards total offense to Cincinnati's 375.

Mauk was 13-of-31 for 162 yards and one interception. He led Cincinnati with 75 yards rushing on seven attempts, however Bearcats tailback Jacob Ramsey was limited to 40 yards on 21 carries.

"The way the defense fought ... to shut them out the second half, despite all the turnovers, is really something," Leavitt said. "The offense kept fighting, too. You just can't turn the ball over that many times and expect to win."

 

 

    Fox19

    Dangel breaks former high school coach's UC record

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Sycamore High School grad excels in lacrosse at UC

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Gunner Kiel impresses at UC football's spring game

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Youthful UC can make its own history next season

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC's defense makes statement in latest scrimmage

    FanIQ.com

    Remember Gunner Kiel? He's Ready to Dominate

    SportsIllustrated.com

    Hank Hughes Q&A

    New York Times

    Growing as a Player, Beaming as a Father

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    NCAA Tournament is 'Cincinnati vs. the world'

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Kiel comes out strong in Bearcats' spring scrimmage

    Sporting News

    2013-14 Men's Basketball All-Americans

    Fox Sports

    Cincinnati made me a believer

    CBS Sports.com

    Former redshirt Sean Kilpatrick finishing out historic career

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Q&A with UC AD Mike Bohn

    ESPN

    Brennan's Wooden Watch: Week 14

    MLSSoccer.com

    Fit and healthy, Omar Cummings offering a new dynamic up top for Houston Dynamo

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Men's soccer signee Clark named Gatorade Ohio player of the year

    ESPN

    Munchie Legaux and Shaq Washington gain extra year

    Denver Post

    Mike Bohn eager to point Cincinnati Bearcats in right direction as AD

    The Washington Post

    No. 7 Bearcats have highest ranking in 10 years

    Yahoo! Sports

    How Sean Kilpatrick willed UC past Louisville and back into the nation's consciousness

    SI.com

    Cincinnati takes over AAC with win at Louisville

    ESPN.com

    Tough Bearcats don't get rattled

    ESPN.com

    UC staves off Temple to stay perfect in AAC

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC looks to 15-year sports admin vet Reed-Francois for interim AD

    CBS Sports

    No. 15 Cincinnati stomps UCF, wins 11th straight

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats take down USF 61-54, win 10th straight

    USA Today

    Why Cincinnati is not a team to sleep on

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Short-handed Bearcats cautious about ranking

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC's goal: win them all at home

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Cronin: Not easy, but Cats got through fatigue

    The News Record

    What you missed in UC sports during break

    FB Schedules

    Boise State, Cincinnati Schedules 2019, 20 Home-and-Home Series

    Forbes

    The Best and Worst College Football Teams for the Money

    USA Today

    Report: Colleges doing poorly at hiring women coaches

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Randolph named AAC Player of the Week

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC women's basketball knocks off Ohio State

    Bleacher Report

    Belk Bowl 2013: Cincinnati-North Carolina

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Belk Bowl: UC vs. UNC

    ESPN

    Belk Bowl Breakdown

    BelkBowl.com

    The Showdown is Set

    ESPN

    Cards, Bearcats set for defensive battle

    CBS Sports

    Louisville-Cincinnati Preview

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Thursday is UC's fight for perception

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Don't let UC's next opponent fool you

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC jumps to No. 23 in USA Today football poll

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats break into USA Today Top 25

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    McKay turns in monster game against Rutgers

    ESPN

    Kay throws for 408 yards, 4 TDs as Cincinnati routs Rutgers

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats won't lessen the pressure

    News & Record

    Pressure takes toll on NC State against Cincinnati

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats face variety of bowl scenarios

    The News Record

    UC weary of SMU's aerial attack ahead of AAC clash

    Bleacher Report

    Best College Football Moments in Cincinnati History

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Mark Barr returns to UC, gets ovation

    HoustonDynamo.com

    After frustrating year, Omar Cummings puts Houston Dynamo on his back with clutch playoff goal

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC's Shaq Thomas 'our version of Herb Jones'

    USA Today

    Cincinnati holds off Memphis for third straight

    ESPN

    Cincinnati's Mark Barr out of hospital

    TopDrawer Soccer

    Furman and Cincinnati men go nose-for-nose in College Goal of the Week

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Green seizing his moment for the Bearcats

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats' Jermaine Lawrence is new breed of forward

    UC Magazine

    Hostility to Hope: Feature on Men's Soccer Player John Manga

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats' Jermiah Davis III fights to be remembered

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats' Justin Jackson goes from energizer to example

    The News Record

    Cronin excited for new group

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC Bearcats' Sean Kilpatrick: 'It's the season now'

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats basketball will have fresh look

    The News Record

    UC Looks to RetainVictory Bell for Eighth Consecutive Season

    Miami Herald

    Kay Ready to Lead Bearcats into Rivalry Game

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Former Bearcat Thompkins making most of shot in NFL

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    New practice setup could benefit UC basketball

    ESPN.com

    Munchie Legaux out for season

    ESPN.com

    Cincinnati Rolls Past Purdue

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats defense puts up dominant effort

    American Athletic Conference

    2013 Team Previews: Cincinnati Bearcats

    Sports Illustrated

    Bowl projections: Cincinnati vs. North Carolina in the Russell Athletic Bowl

    Cincinnati Business Courier

    Bearcats sell out football opener against Purdue

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Depth at defensive line still strong for Bearcats

    Bleacher Report

    Cincinnati Bearcats Football 2013 Team Preview

    UC Voted 2nd

    Coach Tuberville and his players discuss their reactions to being voted to finish 2nd in the inaugural season of the American Athletic Conference

    QB Timetable

    Coach Tuberville discusses his timetable to choose a starting QB with The Cincinnati Enquirer

    Thompkins at Patriots' Training Camp

    Former UC wide receiver, Kenbrell Thompkins, impressed many at Patriots' training camp 

    World University Games

    Sean Kilpatrick talks about his experience overseas

    World University Games

    Sean Kilpatrick talks about his experience overseas 

    Nippert Renovation Plan

    The Cincinnati Enquirer looks at the Nippert Stadium Project

    Cincinnati football's 'Crocodile Dundee'

    A former professional rugby player from Australia joins the Bearcat football team

    2013 Preseason 'Watch List' 

    Several Cincinnati Bearcats make 2013 national 'watch list'

    Sports Insider Today

    Young Cincinnati Team Looks to Improve in 2013 Amidst New Conference Setting

    ESPN Blog

    Cincinnati to play Pitt in December

    GoBEARCATS.com

    Former Bearcat Herman Qualifies for U.S. Open

    USA Today

    BearcatsTV Gets National Attention from USA Today's For the Win

    SportingNews.com

    Cincinnati Bearcats Baseball Earns Top Honors in Videobombing

    The Washington Post

    Cincinnati Bearcats Do the Best Postgame Interviews

    Fox Sports

    Bearcats Rock Postgame Interviews

    Philly.com

    Cincinnati Bearcats Revolutionize the Post Game Interview

    YardBarker

    You'll love this Cincinnati Bearcats Post Game Funny Business Compilation

    Philly.com

    Those guys having all the fun: An oral history of the Cincinnati baseball team's videobombs

    MSN Now

    This college baseball team wins the 'best interview' award

    ESPN.com

    Winn, Cincinnati run over Pittsburgh

    Cincinnati.com Bearcats Blog

    Cincinnati looks to sophomore RB Ralph Abernathy to increase production