Offensively, we moved the ball very well in this game. We got over 600 yards of total offense (621 to be exact). We had 335 yards rushing (275 by Duke and Joe). However, there were plenty of mental mistakes in this game. Of our 13 penalties in this game, 5 were on the offense (holding, PF, False starts). We did lose a fumble there, but Brad had a good game, though he was sacked twice. The 2nd and 3rd teamers did so-so. I didn't like when they came in, we got a little bit sloppy. Need to finish stronger there. Overall, the O was good, but I need to see better 3rd down conversions by the O going forward. Grade: B-
Defensively, we sacked the QBs 3 times, we forced three picks (one a Pick 6 from Tyriq). Of the 13 penalties in this game, 4 were on the Defense (all the 15 yard ones to boot for 60 yards of free yardage). That didn't cost here, but against a good team, that's asking for big trouble down the road. Definitely need to clean that up going forward. We did allow 422 yards in this game here, (355 in the air), but the Rush defense held the Bearcats to 67 yards rushing. However, I again didn't like the fact that our D couldn't get off the field on 3rd down. Cincinnati was 8-20 on 3rd down conversions (40%), need to fix that and we have to do a better job of stopping opponents on 3rd downs. Grade: C
Special Teams, of the 13 penalties in this game, 4 were on Special Teams, and mostly those were mental mistakes. Justin had another good game in the Punting department, though he did have a Touchback in this game, but for the most part, great job pinning the Bearcats back. The average starting field position for Cincy in this game was their own 21, while we started drives on average from our own 33. Stacy had another good game in the KR department (5 returns for 121 yards). Solid game from Bads in the FG department hitting 2 FGs here. Felt we did well here with the ST Defense, we need to cut those dumb penalties out here, but for the most part, this unit did well. Grade: B
Now to Game Balls. Normally, I would give out a few game balls for the week's effort, however, in this case, I'm giving out only one game ball and that to Carter Hucks, the 8 year old kid battling a rare form of cancer called Fanconi anemia. Its a rare disorder that leads to cancer and bone marrow failure in most patients, and for us to make his wish come true, it puts many things into the proper perspective. (to read more on Hucks' story, read Christina DeNicola's piece, and after you read her piece, you'll see why).
In conclusion, we won a game that we were supposed to win. However, there were still mistakes on the mental end that still need to get fixed during the BYE week before going to Blacksburg next Thursday Night. We're going to a place where we haven't done well recently. We need to have a big game in all three phases and what better time than next Thursday Night in Blacksburg. See you on Thursday, and GO CANES! Go Carter Hucks and BEAT THIS DISEASE!!!