In what can only be described as a good old fashion ass kicking the Cincinnati Bearcats fell to the North Carolina Tar Heels 39-17 in Saturday’s Belk Bowl. Cincinnati came into the game as 3.5 point underdogs, much to the surprise of every Cincinnati fan, apparently we were the dopes in this situation.
The Bearcats entered with a 9-3 record out of the American Athletic Conference they had one tough game all year against the Louisville Cardinals a game that Cincinnati forced into overtime. A game against the Tar Heels didn’t strike fear into any Bearcat fan.
Cincinnati started the game off strong, stopping UNC on their first possession. The ensuing punt though went awry as Anthony McClung messed up another punt this season allowing UNC to recover the ball and kick a field goal. Following that Cincinnati managed to do nothing on offense and by the end of the first quarter Cincinnati trailed 16-0, same as last season in the Belk Bowl. This time though there would be no miracle, no urgency.
By halftime the Bearcats managed to put 3 points on the board, the offense essentially produced the same performance they did in the Miami game, no urgency, no accuracy, just seemed lost on the field. The offensive line doomed the Bearcats, a line that only allowed 10 sacks all season allowed 5 on Saturday. Two All Conference linemen were out in Austin Bujnoch and Sam Longo, but two linemen should not account for the bad of a performance.
Cincinnati finally scored their first touchdown halfway through the third quarter behind a 15 yard run by RDA4. They would get back on the board 30 seconds into the fourth quarter thanks to a 10 yard run by Shaq Washington. That would be all the Bearcats had though.
Cincinnati quarterback Brendon Kay had been incredibly efficient this season, at one point leading the NCAA in completion percentage. That certainly was not the case Saturday as Kay went 15/35 for 181 yards, the offensive line gave Kay no time to pass but when he did have time Kay was over throwing everyone. He overthrew 6’6 Mekale McKay which should be nearly impossible.
There were no positives to come out of this game. The Tar Heels had a 12 minute drive in the fourth quarter, it wasn’t just the offense that struggled.
The only positive from the game is the fact Cincinnati really only loses one line backer, Brendon Kay and a receiver or two. Other than that they can build for next season.
As critical as we are being right now, I sincerely thank the Bearcats Football team for everything they have allowed me to witness while attending this wonderful university, my falls just will not be the same without the student section.