Against the Michigan Wolverines, Bearcats Look to Regain National Prominence

The Michigan Wolverines, led by head coach and former Indianapolis Colt Jim Harbaugh, are ranked 8th in the Associated Press and Amway Coaches polls following their win last week against the Florida Gators. Luke Fickell takes his unranked, upstart Cincinnati Bearcats to Ann Arbor this Saturday in a game that has Bearcats fans excited but that Las Vegas predicts will be a 34.5 point lopsided victory for the Wolverines.

Michigan “got by” Florida.

In the Wolverines’ season opener against the Gators on Saturday in Arlington, Texas, Michigan prevailed 33-17 and handed Florida its first season opening loss since 1989. It was quite a run for the Gators, but thanks to Harbaugh’s petty gamesmanship and McElwain’s suspension of ten players for allegedly participating in some kind of debit card scam, among them tailback Jordan Scarlett and receiver Antonio Callaway, Michigan got by Florida. 

Yeah, I said it – Michigan got by Florida.

Once you comb through the hype, it wasn’t a blow-out win or even that impressive of a win over Florida. Think about it. The Gators were actually up at the half 17-13, and only trailed Michigan by nine with under two to play in the fourth quarter.  With 1:37 left in the fourth, Florida QB Malik Zaire failed to secure the ball dropping back out of the shotgun into his own end zone. Michigan’s defense caused Zaire to fumble and recovered it for a touchdown bringing the score to 33-17. It was a close game, despite that Florida failed to score an offensive touchdown, suspended ten of its best players, and Florida was prevented from fully preparing because of Jim Harbaugh’s late-roster-release-weak-sauce-move. 

That said, there was one exceptionally bright spot for the Wolverines, their defense. In case you missed it, THE MICHIGAN DEFENSE DID NOT ALLOW A SINGLE FLORIDA OFFENSIVE TOUCHDOWN. After the game, some commentators attributed this to the ineptness of the Florida offense rather than the strength of the Michigan defense. There is some statistical support for that argument but Michigan Defensive Coordinator, Don Brown, may have one of the best if not the best defense in college football. Michigan held Florida to 11 total rushing yards on 27 total attempts. That’s a rush defense that only allowed an average of 0.4 yards per carry, which is quite impressive against Florida’s SEC speed, to say the least. 

The Bearcats “got by” Austin Peay.

In the Bearcats’ season opener at Nippert Stadium last Thursday night, Cincinnati defeated the Austin Peay Governors 26-14. Overall, it was a pedestrian first outing that should have resulted in a more lopsided victory.

While Michigan got by Florida, UC just got by Austin Peay.

By way of contrast, UC’s slim victory was more cagey, closer to the vest. It’s not clear whether Coach Fickell fully opened the playbook, whereas Michigan had no incentive to hold back against Florida. The Bearcats’ outing provides little help forecasting just how good this team can be, especially against a team like Michigan on a stage as big as The Big House

Bearcats’ tailback Mike Boone rushed for 100 yards against the Governors on 19 attempts and his longest carry was a 26 yard gain. In order for Cincinnati to be offensively successful against the Wolverines, Boone has to have a huge day.

This, in turn, could open up the passing game for Cincinnati’s receivers (Devin Gray #21, Sr.; Jerron Rollins #26, So.; Thomas Geddis #85, So.; Kahlil Lewis #1, Jr.; TE Tyler Cogswell #18, Sr.). Last Thursday night, Junior QB Hayden Moore completed 17 of 28 passes for 151 yards with 3 touchdowns against Austin Peay, the best of which came on a nicely executed out-and-up pattern down the middle on a short yardage goal line play to TE Tyler Cogswell. Cogswell is a beast (6-5, 248) and it would tremendously benefit the Bearcats offense to utilize the Moore-Cogswell connection against Michigan, particularly in 2nd and 3rd down sets.

Moore’s ability to connect with his leanest WR, Thomas Geddis (6-5, 185), and junior speedster and 2016 most valuable receiver, Kahlil Lewis, will prove equally critical if the Bearcats are going to put offensive points on the board in Ann Arbor.

UC’s receiving corps can be a talented bunch, with an exciting mishmash of size and speed, if their maturity and decision making can outpace their experience.

Florida showed that big receivers can take advantage of the Michigan secondary. 

Two Keys – Rush D and Down 3.

The Bearcats have to improve their third down efficiency. The Bearcats only converted 3 of 11 third downs against Austin Peay, and must do better on Saturday against the Wolverines. 

The Bearcats’ D is key. The Bearcats’ defense must put some pass pressure, with varying blitz packages, on mistake-prone Michigan QB Wilton Speight.

Michigan has an outstanding offensive line and Speight had all day to stand in the pocket and find open receivers against Florida. Michigan had 218 passing yards and averaged 8.4 yards per pass against Florida but Speight did throw back-to-back pick sixes. If the Bearcats’ safeties and corners can keep Michigan’s receivers in front of them and cause a few turnovers with interceptions or fumbles, the Bearcats will have a shot at the upset.

Cincinnati’s defensive line will play a pivotal role in deciding the outcome of this game. Sophomore DE for the Bearcats, Bryan White, made a key interception on 3rd & Goal against the Governors at the end of the first half to save an Austin Peay touchdown or field goal. It was a great play by the big fella. White and the rest of the D-Line will need to dig in and get their hands up to knock down, tip, and block Speight’s passes and passing lanes. Remember, the Gators had two back-to-back pick sixes thanks to sloppy Speight passes.

The Bearcats D has to keep Speight in Slopsburg Saturday. 

Finally, a few matters of concern…

First, the Bearcats gave up 224 rushing yards to Austin Peay. Against Florida, Michigan, led by Ty Isaac, had 215 total rushing yards and averaged 4.4 yards per rush. As Coach Fickell observed, the Wolverines’ backfield is deep and of a higher quality than the Governors’ backfield. The Bearcats have to stop the Michigan run game. It’s that simple.

Second, Austin Peay’s time of possession was almost double that of Cincinnati. The Governors had 313 total yards versus the Bearcats with a 37:41 time of possession. Michigan had 433 total yards versus Florida with a time of possession of 34:13. With The Big House crowd and all of their offensive weapons (Speight, Isaac, Tarik Black), Michigan is not a team that the Bearcats can allow to win the time of possession battle. But again, one of the major keys is for Cincinnati to improve its third down efficiency to keep its offense on the field while the clock ticks. Assuming the Bearcats do so, this game has all the makings to be a major upset and put the Bearcats back in the national college football spotlight. 

Well, that’s GQ’s preview for the Bearcats- Week Two. Thanks for reading. 

Final Prediction: Bearcats 34, Wolverines 31. GO BEARCATS!

By Gabe Quearry

49 thoughts on “Against the Michigan Wolverines, Bearcats Look to Regain National Prominence

  1. Bwahahahahaha…this was one of the best comedy pieces I have ever laid eyes on. You realize your team was outgained AT HOME by an FCS team with like a 1-50 record the last few years, right? RIGHT?

  2. Wow! Hey, I respect your opinion. And being a Michigan fan I know there is a chance of Cinderella upsets. Now, predicting a fibal.score of 34-31, or even a win against Michigan is quite the fiction. You made good points in your article. Yes, Speight was a little sloppy( only in the first half ). Yes, The Michigan offense struggled at times( against a quality SEC program ). No, Florida is not Alabama, but the certainly are not Austin Peay! I live in Clarksville, Th. The home of the governors. So I know first hand the quality of that program. They can even maintain a winning record each year in there own conference! Let alone beat a bottom 3rd D1 program. One thing you forgot to mention in your article that is a key point to the game is the caliber of Offensive and Defensive lines( up to and including linebackers). Michigan may not have a veteran at every position, but where they don’t they have a stellar athlete who performed great against Florida.(OL. Mason Cole,Ben Bredeson, Michael Owenu, etc. Not even including the drastic advantage Michigan has adding FB and TE as blockers and/or recievers. The defensive line is filled with superior talent across the board and so is the Linbacker core. Looking at the pressure Michigan put Florida quarterbacks, ( Given the obvious talent difference between UC and FL) There will be slim chance that it will be any different Saturday. Look everyone is a fan I got it. We as fans have hope that we will be the winner every game. As fans, there needs to be a bit of realism in our expectations. I don’t expect Michigan to win the National title, do they have a small chance yeah. Like the likely hood of UC winning Saturday it is a snowballs chance in hell. Now, yes I will always have the impression of App. State in 2007 on my brain, but UC is not App State. So let’s chalk this up to whatbthis really is, 1) A good paycheck to.the University for it attendance Saturday. 2) A tune up game for B1G season, 3) A bait for networks like ABC/ESPN to take in the ratings pandering to a huge fan base that will most like have great numbers tune in Saturday. Sorry to burst an bubbles. As always #GOBLUE

    1. Jason:
      Thanks for reading and sharing a comment that actually responds to the substance of the article and points out additional things to consider in previewing the game in a polite way. Too bad more comments here weren’t made in a similar vein. Oh well. Best to you and enjoy the game.

  3. Michigan could literally give UC their playbook and still cover the spread. This guy is why freedom of press should have limitations. I’m glad you were encouraged by the Bearcats struggling to put away the team with the longest losing streak in the country, but maybe know your subject matter and little better before making idiotic predictions disguised as “hot takes” to try to get yourself some media coverage. I’ll anxiously await your back peddling on Sunday. That is of course unless you try to justify your boys tallying only 80 yards of offense by saying it was because Harbaugh made them stand on the sideline that was facing the sun or some other ignorant garbage. I hope you get fired. Go Blue.

  4. This is the single most homer article I’ve ever read. It is filled with so much “glass half full” regarding UC, and so much blatant burying your head in the sand regarding UofM. This is a great article. I genuinely enjoyed reading it. I commend you for this sir

    1. I tried to fill it with so much “glass half empty” regarding UC, not “glass half full.” Not much sand here in the Nasty, though. I genuinely enjoyed reading your comment, Mat. Kudos to you sir.

  5. Michigan is going to embarrass and humiate those lil Cubs for the candy asses they are. How do you know Michigan will do what they did to Rutgers and drop 78 points on Cincy?? Lmao I’m going to enjoy watching the Buttcats get spanked!! GO BLUE!!!

    1. B. Fox already said this on the Oh Varsity podcast last night but I’ll say it again: we never had any credibility to begin with. Good analysis though. Way to go, Seymore.

  6. 48-6 Michigan and you said 10 of Florida best players were suspended but only 2 were starters this game won’t be close #goblue

  7. I don’t know what you’re smoking, but the only reason they even had 17 points was because of TWO bad throws in a row by Speight, on top of their 60 some yards of offense in the half. Michigan defense not only didn’t allow an offensive touchdown, the defense only allowed 3 points, period. And if not for the wrong ineligible receiver call on Hill, we would have had 40. So in reality it was 40-3 in the game’s earned points, and could have been much more if Speight completed over 40%. We destroyed their team, and it was even admitted by McElwain. Just because you write for the team we will destroy next doesn’t mean you need to push falsities on people.

    1. You say not to push “falsities” on people after pushing a distinction between actual points and “earned” points. We must be smoking the same thing, Dick!

  8. The Bearcats will pummel the lowly Wolverines. Jim Harbaugh is SO overrated, Just ask any 49er fan. They have totally rocked since they kicked Harbaugh to the curb. Sure was unfair how he didn’t tell Florida that Speight would start, he ought to be fined for breaking the rules…. what, he isn’t breaking any rules, he’s just working his ass off honoring the best public university in the world with a team that will win the national championship?? What a jerk!!! GO BLUE!!!!!

  9. The best piece of fiction I have read in a while. The picture of the Cincinnati player (#85) has arms smaller than recruits Michigan has commitments from that will arrive on campus in 2 years! I love it when dreamers OD on Kool-aid. Michigan by 40+

    1. You keep pictures of high school juniors that have committed to UM so that you can compare their arms to the arms of college football players on teams that play UM?

  10. Yo homer, I’ll bet you the hundred i just won by Michigan beating Florida on Saturday on this game straight up. I’ll even give you 3-1 odds. You ready to put your money where your mouth is son? If so you obviously have my email, let me know PRIOR to the game if you’re man enough to accept and put your money where your mouth is. If not you’re just another mainstream media blowhard.

  11. This was humorous. I am speechless actually. Anything can happen but come on…..Know your facts before you publish. 10 Best players…8 of them would not have seen the field if eligible and quite frankly if Scarlett or Callaway had played it would’ve been no different. There were no running lanes or time for QB to find anyone. And your comment on the “bigger receivers having an advantage against the secondary” is laughable. Did Florida hit a few passes yes-Some were miracles as QB was running for his life. Florida has 192 yard of total offense. During the last series-They may have gained 50 of that on their last drive which was against the second team. FLORIDA GOT DOMINATED AND HUMILIATED..Just got by Florida…Can’t fix stupid. I don’t like to feed trolls but this was so out there……Congrats you got got a bite for click bait..never again…

  12. My favorite thing is that people say your are a Homer and they clearly can’t read. Because last time I checked it’s Bearcats Sports Radio.

  13. Congratulations on your big $100 payout last week. Sounds like you have quite a bankroll now. I don’t shlep bets around with low-roller MU fans. Go dump your hundo on a hot dog and a Peters jersey. Blow that one hard, buddy.

  14. Really, Michigan “got by” Florida? Without back to back bone head plays by Speight resulting in to pick 6 played, you can take 14 points off the board. If you take away the bonehead personal foul by Bush that got FL into a 50 yard for field goal kick, that’s the other 3 points. Michigan handed FL all 17 points and manhandled Florida otherwise. This was not a statistical cost game and the analysis here is way off the mark, even considering the expected bias.

  15. GQ you fired shots in how disrespectful you are towards Michigan and expect the fanbase to be polite and respectful? I guess you play the victim and we play the fool? Right? RIGHT? Nah.

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