No. 16 Bearcats Headed to First BCS Bowl Game with 30-10 Victory over Orange

GOBEARCATSDOTCOM Running back John Goebel (22) runs for a touchdown. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
Running back John Goebel (22) runs for a touchdown. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
Football |

Nov. 29, 2008

Final Stats |  Quotes |  Notes |  AP Action Photos  |  Photo Gallery   | Postgame Press Conference

CINCINNATI (AP) - Defensive end Connor Barwin raised the gold-topped trophy above his head, then walked through hundreds of Cincinnati fans who got on their tiptoes and reached as high as they could, hoping to touch the keepsake with their fingertips.

There's never been a day quite like this in Cincinnati.

The 16th-ranked Bearcats beat Syracuse 30-10 Saturday, then gathered in the end zone amid tightly-packed fans to hoist the trophy that represents their first Big East title during their fourth season in the league.

"We got smacked around our first year in the Big East," said receiver Mardy Gilyard, munching on an orange he plucked from the artificial turf. "I'm at a loss for words. It's just utter bliss."

The Bearcats (10-2, 6-1) are headed to a BCS bowl - likely the Orange or Sugar - for the first time in their history. They clinched the spot when West Virginia lost at Pitt on Friday, taking most of the drama out of the last home game.

Still, they made a little history. The Bearcats tied the school record with their 10th win, the second straight season they've reached the mark. Cincinnati has a game left in Hawaii before heading to its bowl.

The Orange (3-9, 1-6) are headed for an offseason of change, starting at the top.

Syracuse went 10-47 in coach Greg Robinson's four seasons, including 3-25 in the Big East. He was fired on Nov. 16, effective the end of the season, and the Orange responded by rallying in the fourth quarter to beat Notre Dame 24-23 in South Bend last week.

The Orange wanted to give Robinson a noteworthy send-off in Cincinnati, trying to end a season with back-to-back wins for the first time in six years. Instead, the send-off was as grim as the season.

"It's not good," Robinson said. "It's not good at all. I wished we had played better. Whatever. It is what it is. I'm starting to feel the emotions now. I'm trying to block it out. We have a team meeting tomorrow. I don't want to say a lot of stuff I haven't thought about."

Cam Dantley, who led two late touchdown drives in South Bend, was back to his pre-Irish form. Early in the fourth quarter, the senior quarterback was 1-for-15 for 5 yards with an interception that set up one of Cincinnati's touchdowns.

It wasn't all the quarterback's fault. Several times, wide-open receivers dropped well-thrown passes. Dantley finished 6-of-23 for 59 yards with an interception and three sacks.

"I'm trying to brush it off as much as I can," Dantley said. "We have to let it go. We just didn't get it going. When you have one completion for three quarters, you're not going to get it done."

Tony Pike took advantage of a defense that gave a lot of cushion, conceding the short pass. Pike, playing with a plate and six screws in his broken left (non-passing) forearm, finished 28-of-44 for 272 yards. Penalties held the Bearcats back - 10 in all, for 107 yards.

The penalties forced Cincinnati to settle for three field goals by Jake Rogers, who had missed five in a row coming into the game. He connected from 45, 38 and 45 yards.

Fans hurled oranges onto the field after every score, despite warnings over the public address system. Another barrage of citrus hit the field as the clock ran out. Then, everyone gathered in the end zone for a trophy presentation that completed an amazing season

Senior quarterback Dustin Grutza broke his lower right leg in the second game, and Pike broke his arm in the fourth. A redshirt freshman got them through the next two games. With his forearm wrapped in a protective cast, Pike has started the past six games, getting better as he went along.

With the game in hand, Grutza came in for Cincinnati's final drive and handed off on every play.

"It was a little surprising, just the way things unfolded this year," said Pike, eating a slice of Gilyard's orange. "It's been a total team effort."

When the Big East accepted the Bearcats in November 2002, league officials raved about Bob Huggins' basketball program but didn't even mention the football team. Huggins' team seemed to have a much better chance of contending for a title when Cincinnati entered the league in 2005.

Instead, Huggins was ousted, the basketball program has struggled, and the football team has won a title in coach Brian Kelly's second season.

Asked if he's done all he can at Cincinnati, Kelly said, "There's so much more to accomplish. We averaged around 31,000 fans; we need to see 35,000. We can show that not only do we play for Big East championships, we now want to get into the conversation for the national championship.

"There's still a lot of work to be done here."




    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

    Remember Gunner Kiel? He's Ready to Dominate

    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


    Former redshirt Sean Kilpatrick finishing out historic career

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Q&A with UC AD Mike Bohn


    Brennan's Wooden Watch: Week 14

    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


    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

    Cincinnati takes over AAC with win at Louisville

    Tough Bearcats don't get rattled

    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


    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


    Belk Bowl Breakdown

    The Showdown is Set


    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


    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

    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


    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

    Munchie Legaux out for season

    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

    Former Bearcat Herman Qualifies for U.S. Open

    USA Today

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

    Cincinnati Bearcats Baseball Earns Top Honors in Videobombing

    The Washington Post

    Cincinnati Bearcats Do the Best Postgame Interviews

    Fox Sports

    Bearcats Rock Postgame Interviews

    Cincinnati Bearcats Revolutionize the Post Game Interview


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

    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

    Winn, Cincinnati run over Pittsburgh Bearcats Blog

    Cincinnati looks to sophomore RB Ralph Abernathy to increase production