The Cincinnati Bearcats (4-3, 1-2 American) comfortably took care of the UConn Huskies (3-5, 0-3 American) in Cincinnati's homecoming game at Nippert Stadium, 37-13. While the rain came pouring down, Cincinnati built a big enough lead early in the game that it wouldn't need any of its 13 second-half points to hold on for the win.
Cincinnati's offense was up to its usual tricks, with 615 yards, 28 first downs, and an impressive 7.4 yards per play. Gunner Kiel started for the first time since leaving the game against Memphis on September 19 after a head injury. He enjoyed a productive return to action, completing 26 of 35 attempts for 327 yards and two touchdowns. The running attack excelled as well, with all three Bearcat backs posting solid outings and combining for 328 yards.
UConn's offense appeared mostly lost for the entirety of this game, with a lone touchdown coming on the very first drive on the strength of six rushes from Bryant Shirreffs. Once Cincinnati figured out how to contain that, UConn didn't do much. Though Shirreffs was moving the ball with his legs, he struggled with his accuracy through the air, completing only 12 of 27 attempts for 87 yards.
Unlike any UConn game this season, there were few positives from today's performance. Bob Diaco said in his press conference this past Tuesday that he didn't feel like his team had really been beat- noting that UConn has been competing in all of its games late. Well, it happened today.
There is no need to overreact. UConn lost to a better team, one with more talent, experience, and continuity across its organization. But while the most optimistic of fans thought an upset was possible, and more moderate homers must have believed UConn could keep it competitive, the Huskies needed to keep it closer than this.
The way UConn lost today is not going to have fans optimistic about the Huskies' chances against the remaining home opponents, East Carolina and Houston. The offense could only outscore Alabama A&M by three points against the same Cincinnati team. The next lowest point total was 23 by Miami (FL) and then 33 from Miami (OH), to help put UConn's 13-point performance in perspective.
The Huskies will host East Carolina next Friday night at 7pm on ESPNU. They will need to rebound quickly with the short week.