“My dearest Nicholas, you know it’s tough to repeat.”

Rarely has Goose spoken truer words.
Many say there is nothing tougher than repeating as champions. Those who do are in an elite group. And, as the title above says, it’s tough to join that group. But there is another team who can say they are part of that elite group. For months I’ve tasted that CapriSun on my lips. I’ve been preparing (mentally…not so much physically) for months to taste that sweet victory nectar. Today, history was made. That’s right…Team A was able to repeat as Turkey Bowl Champions.

As I said before…it was not easy. In fact, it was far from it. We faced some adversity we didn’t experience last year. But, not surprisingly, we didn’t falter. An early deficit followed by a fourth-and-twenty on the opening drive. Not exactly an ideal start to your title defense. That is until you convert, drive down the field for a score and never look back. Why? Because that’s what champions do.
I give Team B a lot of credit. They played with balls of steel and never gave in. Even when things looked bleak after our defense went into lock down mode, they kept fighting. They threw in a little west coast offense and matriculated down the field to tie things up as we ended the first half. At 14-14, it looked like neither defense would bend. It was a different game than last year’s high-flying, 77-49 show.
But champions adjust. They make the plays when they need to. And that’s what Team A did. After the defensive struggle that was the first half, both teams opened up with touchdown passes on their first play (one by yours truly, for the record). After that, the defenses clamped down again before allowing two sloppy TDs to even the score at 28 apiece as time expired.
Overtime was something special. It took us only two plays to do what we needed to do. We did it simply – a short completion followed by a laser pass and great catch for the go-ahead score. It was back to defense after that. And it didn’t take all that much to get the play we needed. A bobbled TD pass turned into an interception and the repeat became reality. CapriSun has never tasted so sweet. Especially considering it was our (appropriately named) friend Botchy who bobbled the touchdown pass. And this wasn’t just a pass that was right on the money. It was a pass that he legitimately caught, turned and ran with. In retrospect, we could probably consider it a fumble. He had it and was no less than a step away from the end zone to tie it up. Instead, he may as well have stopped, asked our friend Sam to come over his way, and handed him the ball. That’s basically what happened. What a goon. And now he has to think about that for another year. The year we go for a three-peat.
And it’ll be a good year for us remembering our big Turkey Bowl title.

– Speaking of repeats…the Bearcats have their chance to win back-to-back Big East titles. It was exciting to be at Nippert for yesterday’s win over the Fighting Illini. It was a great send-off for the seniors who have put UC football in the national spotlight. As my cousin so eloquently put it: “Mardy Gilyard is my favorite Bearcat ever.” I wholeheartedly agree. The guy works the crowd, loves the fans, loves his teammates, loves the city and is a class act team-first player. His kick return TD was electric. How does he slip that last tackle? And, on top of that, he sets the career mark for touchdown receptions at UC with 24 (with one game left and 21 TDs in the last two years alone). His last one was just sick nasty. My uncle and I kept saying there was no chance they wouldn’t overturn the ruling on the field. But Mardy never ceases to amaze me.

He loves Cincinnati. Cincinnati loves him.

As for the game itself, there was a lot of good and a lot of bad. The good starts with Tony Pike. Six touchdown passes and it honestly never seemed all that amazing to me. In the Enquirer today they said some media members old Brian Kelly they had forgotten how good Tony Pike was. I hadn’t forgotten, which is why his six TD performance never really looked more impressive than any of his others. But he was outstanding. And is outstanding. Great send-off for him, as well.

Six TDs. SIX. He's still my Heisman winner.

Special teams was phenomenal. Mardy muffed a punt, but other than that, they won the field position battle without question. Kick-off teams on both sides of the ball were dominant and the punt units were equally as effective. In a tight game, special teams can be the difference. I’m pretty confident in the special teams on the Bearcat sideline if that is the case.

Mardy and the special teams might be what gives them an edge next week at Pitt (photo, cincinnati.com)

As for the bad, it really depends on how you look at it. They had negative rushing yards for more than 50 minutes of a 60-minute game. They were completely one-dimensional. Not generally what you want to do. But, if they can dominate a game like that with no running game whatsoever, think about what happens when the running game is on. Uh-oh…
They couldn’t stop Illinois’ running game. Granted, the Illini were 24th nationally in rushing coming in. Juice Williams is not an easy QB to prepare for. He got a lot of those rushing yards on scrambles thanks to good coverage. And again, they dominate a game that wasn’t as close as the final score (49-36) makes it seem without really containing that running game or controlling the clock.
The troubling part was the lack of a pass rush. That’s something they need to work on if they want to compete at a higher level (and they can’t get much higher). The defense has been suspect the last few weeks. It’s somewhere around 34 ppg they’re giving up. They improve that, they are almost impossible to beat.
Brian Kelly is such a freaking genius that he can go against all football common sense as it’s been laid out so many times before and he still dominates. It’s like he just here’s what you’re “supposed” to do, laughs and proves everyone wrong. I sure hope he stays.

– I’m getting lazy now, so I will be quick with these last points. Mizzou goes “Beast Mode” today and keeps kU from becoming bowl eligible. Sucks to be kansas. As a friend’s facebook status put it: “Bowls are nice. You can eat cereal out of them, and pasta, and soup. No soup for Kansas.” That makes me laugh.

– The Bengals should be mad tomorrow. The Browns are bad all the time. If they don’t beat the Browns, I might weep. WhoDey.

– Elder is in Dayton playing right now. I sure hope Mark Miller finds Tim O’Conner and Alex Welch a lot and Ben “Google Me” Coffaro just runs all over Hilliard Davidson. Go Panthers.

Enjoy WhoDey Sunday. Altiora.


~ by nchaney3 on November 28, 2009.

3 Responses to ““My dearest Nicholas, you know it’s tough to repeat.””

  1. […] About “My dearest Nicholas, you know it’s tough to repeat.” […]

  2. […] us harken back to the Turkey Bowl Jump to Comments Remember when I told you guys about our Turkey Bowl title? You know…”it’s tough to repeat.” The early deficit,the comeback, the […]

  3. […] breakdown, everyone is dying to know if Team A could make it a three-peat. After last year’s thrilling overtime victory, Team A was ready to go for a three-peat in the 2010 Turkey Bowl. Due to several conflicts and […]

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