The Bearcats’ 11-2 season was a season to remember. The Bearcats finished ranked number 24 in the nation, its highest year-end ranking since 2009. A bright spot going into next year is the Bearcat’s young talent giving Bearcat Nation something to look forward to.
Sept 1: 26-17 win at UCLA – This win was a great win, even though UCLA fell off with late season losses. Coach Fickell got a big road win over a Power 5 program.
Sept 8: 21-0 win vs Miami (neutral @ Paul Brown) – The Bearcats got a rivalry win over the Redhawks, and kept the victory bell for the 12th straight year. A great win over the Bearcats oldest rival.
Sept 15: 63-7 win vs Alabama A&M – Easiest game on the schedule against an FCS opponent. No surprises or scares in this one, just an old fashion beat down, with Freshman Tavion Thompson running for 141 yds and 2 scores.
Sept 22: 34-30 win vs Ohio – A great win, coming back from a 24-7 halftime deficit. Freshman QB Desmond Ridder came up big in the second half, tossing 274 yards through the air.
Sept 29: 49-7 win at UConn – A convincing road win in the conference opener and a nice 5-0 start to the season. An offensive explosion with 659 yards of offense.
Oct 6: 37-21 win vs Tulane – Another great conference win over a solid Tulane team. The Bearcats started slowly, but stepped up their play in the second quarter. After an 81 yard score from Warren, the Bearcats never looked back. Another good conference win.
Oct 20: 24-17 (OT) loss at Temple – This loss hurt. The Bearcats came in ranked 24; however, the Bearcats, overall, and Freshman QB Desmond Ridder, in particular, did not play well.
Oct 27: 26-20 (OT) win at SMU – All conference road games are a battle. Back to back seasons in OT vs SMU, and back to back OT games. The Bearcats won this one thanks to a pick 6 from James Wiggins.
Nov 3: 42-0 win vs Navy – Thank you for your service, Midshipmen, and thank you for giving UC a convincing conference shutout win! The Bearcats ran wild on the Midshipmen, rushing for 262 yards. A note of interest: Navy scored 22 on Notre Dame.
Nov 10: 35-23 win vs USF – The Bearcats hosted a solid USF team in primetime. Warren rushed for 151 yards and 3 TDs.
Nov 17: 38-13 loss at UCF – Tough outing for the Bearcats offense in a nationally televised primetime, College Gameday, game. The offense put the ball on the turf 3 times. Also, a rough night for Cole Smith, who missed a PAT and both of his FG tries.
Nov 24: 56-6 win vs ECU – Great finish to the regular season, going 10-2 overall and 6-2 in AAC play. Khalil Lewis had over 200 yards in receptions and 3 touchdowns. Coach Fickell had a great ending to a great season.
Dec 31: 35-31 win vs Virginia Tech – Military Bowl win and man was it sweet. A hard fought win, as Fickell earned his first bowl win at Cincinnati, capping off his AAC Coach of the Year season. A fantastic game from Michael Warren led the Bearcats in a great win over an ACC team.
There were a number of great moments this past season. Here are my top 5:
- 21-0 shutout vs Miami. Every Victory Bell win is sweet, especially a shutout win.
- Come from behind win vs Ohio. An amazing, hard fought Bearcat victory.
- Military Bowl win over Virginia Tech. Finishing off with 11 wins was awesome.
- Luke Fickell wins AAC Coach of the Year award.
- Playing UCF in a nationally televised College Gameday, game-of-the-week, as a Group of 5 school.
Season Grade: A-
It was a great season. The Bearcats exceeded expectations, winning 11 games, including its bowl game. The Bearcats will contend for the AAC title again next season. The Bearcat Nation has a lot to look forward next season.