Defense Wins Championships – Or At Least Games – The Memphis Travesty 

The University of Cincinnati Bearcats football team has two wins and two losses.  Two and two.  2-2.  0-2 in the American Athletic Conference.

That stings to write.  I never imagined that the Bearcats would be sitting at .500 after a home loss to Temple and a road loss to Memphis.  Coming into the season, well, you know…

Everyone thought this was the year.  Gunner was back and healthy.  He was the number one pro-style QB recruit in the nation in 2012.  Our receiving corps had at least a couple of guys that’d play on Sundays. This was the year.  Until it wasn’t.

It wasn’t for a variety of reasons, but mostly one.  Defense.  

The Bearcats defense was much-maligned last season.  When I spoke with Coach Tuberville at Higher Ground a month ago he lamented the lack of depth at the linebacker position, but believed they had upgraded the defensive unit’s overall talent this season.  This strength of this year’s defense was supposed to be a question mark.  After four weeks, the questions have been answered.  Against FBS competition, the Bearcats defense is giving up, on average, 40 points a game.

UC accumulated 752 yards of total offense Thursday.  And lost.  I’m going to say that again.  UC accumulated 752 yards of total offense Thursday night against Memphis.  And. Lost. The. Game.

How? Memphis gained 570 yards, 412 yards through the air.  Memphis intercepted three passes, one for a touchdown.  Both teams put up 99 points, combined.  But Memphis scored more.  We lost.  Two and two. 2-2. 0-2 in the American Athletic Conference.

Gunner was knocked out of the game early on a cheap shot from Memphis.  There’s been significant debate about whether it was a cheap shot.  I’ve watched it again and again.  It was dirty.  The second worst part of the play (first being the actual hit) was the Memphis celebration following the hit.  They stopped after they realized Gunner was unconscious, but you can’t unring that bell.   

There were some silver linings.  Hayden Moore threw for 557 yards and 4 touchdowns as a freshman.  That’s not a misprint; Memphis’s defense was awful, too – just less awful than ours.  Max Morrison caught 9 passes for 162 yards and 2 TDs.  Likewise, Shaq had 9 receptions for 120 yards and 1 TD.  Chris Moore had 5 receptions for 153 yards and a TD.

But, those positive stat lines mean nothing.  The University of Cincinnati Bearcats football team has two wins and two losses.  Two and two.  2-2.  0-2 in the American Athletic Conference.

By Brian Fox