Iowa State Ruins Bearcats' Homecoming, 30-10
By: Ryan Roberts
Coming in to Saturday's homecoming match up against Iowa State, the Bearcats were in serious need of a win. UC had lost three straight for the first time since Luke Fickell's first season, with two of those losses coming at home inside of Nippert Stadium to Miami (OH) and Oklahoma.
Despite the 3 game losing streak, the Cincinnati offense and defense had done a lot of good things through the first 5 weeks to verify they weren't as bad as their 2-3 record may suggest.
The Bearcats ranked No. 2 in the Big 12 in total defense (328.4) and No. 3 in total offense (490). Those numbers rank #12 in the nation for offense and #31 in defense. The defense came in allowing just 21.3 ppg in the three home games at Nippert Stadium and limited Oklahoma to a season low 20 points in the September 23rd loss.
For the Bearcats to end their 3 game losing streak, they were going to have to be sound offensively in the redzone and not continue to make mistakes defensively in third and distance situations.. Iowa State came in to the game allowing just 3 sacks to date after back to back 150 yard rushing games and ranked third nationally in interceptions, with 10.
Iowa State won the toss and elected to defer to open the game.
Emory Jones got the offense rolling on the second play of the game with a 14 yard scramble to pick up a first down but the Bearcats would be forced to punt three plays later. We have seen Jones have accuracy issues through the first 5 games and it was shown again in the first drive when Jones overthrew a wide open Dee Wiggins on a 3rd and 4.
On the next Cincinnati possession, Jones was intercepted by Iowa State's TJ Tampa to give the Cyclones a short field at the Bearcats 34. Iowa State would drive to the Cincinnati 11 but the defense stood tall and forced Iowa State to settle for a 30 yard Chase Contreraz field goal. With 5:31 remaining in the first quarter, the Cyclones held a 3-0 advantage.
Jones and the offense would get things right on their next drive and answer with a 10 play, 75 yard drive that spanned 4:49. The Bearcats drove to midfield and elected to go for it on 4th and 1. Emory Jones picked up 5 yards on the attempt and Iowa State was called for a defensive holding on the next play to move the Bearcats to the Iowa State 35.
Three plays later, Jones found Chamon Metayer for a 20 yard touchdown to give the Cats a 7-3 lead with :42 seconds remaining in the quarter. The touchdown was Metayer's third touchdown of the season, with all three coming in the past two games.
Iowa State would begin their next drive at their own 41 after a 38 yard return by Jaylin Noel.
Facing a 4th and 1 from midfield, Iowa State's Cartevious Norton picked up 20 yards to move Iowa State to the Bearcats 30. It looked like the Cats may force Iowa State to settle for 3, but Matt Campbell called a successful fake field goal attempt to move the Cyclones to the Cincinnati 9 yard line.
The defense hung tough and broke up a 3rd and goal passing attempt from the 7 yard line but Eric Phillips was called for a roughing the passer penalty on the play. Two plays later, Rocco Becht rushed up the middle for a 2 yard touchdown to cap off a 15 play, 59 yard drive over 7:49 to give Iowa State a 10-7 lead with 7:48 remaining in the half.
The mental mistakes would carry over to the next offensive possession.
Emory Jones found Dee Wiggins on the second play of the drive for a 14 yard gain but Payten Singletary was called for a blind side block to negate the pickup and momentum. Jones picked up a first down on the next play to out the Bearcats back in business, but two incompletions and a 3 yard loss would force the Cats to punt.
On the first play of the next Iowa State drive, Becht found Jayden Higgins down the sideline for a 75 yard completion to advance the Cyclones to the Bearcats 6 yard line. Cartevious Norton took in to the end zone on the next play but the Cyclones were called for a hold to push them back to the 12 yard line.
Facing a 3rd and goal from the 14, Rocco Becht found Ben Brahmer for a wide open touchdown in the back of the end zone. The 5 play, 81 yard scoring drive took 1:39 off the clock as Iowa State extended their lead to 17-7 with 3:48 remaining in the half.
The two teams traded 3 and outs on their next two possessions and Cincinnati took over at their own 20 with :47 seconds remaining in the half.
On the first play of the drive, Jones found Braden Smith for 19 yards. Two plays later on 3rd and 10, Chamon Metayer picked up 17 yards to advance the Cats to the ISU 44 yard line. The Bearcats were unable to capitalize on the big plays as Emory Jones threw his second interception oif the game on 4th and 7 on a hail mary to the end zone.
Iowa State outgained Cincinnati 157-62 in the second quarter and were 3-3 in red zone opportunities heading in to the half. With the Cyclones receiving the second half kickoff, Scott Satterfield and his staff would need to make serious adjustments to prevent the game from getting out of hand in front of a sold out homecoming crowd.
Iowa State opened the second half with a 72 yard kickoff return by Jaylin Noel to the Cincinnati 28 but the defense once again stepped up and forced Iowa State to settle for a 34 yard field goal. Dontay Corelone and Deshawn Pace both came up with big tackles on 2nd and 3rd down to force the field goal. With 10:45 showing on the clock in the 3rd quarter, Iowa State held a 20-7 lead in front of a sparse Cincinnati crowd that had cleared out during the half from the rain.
The Bearcats were given a gift on their next possession after driving down to the Cyclone 32. John Williams was called for a hold on 3rd and 3 to push the Bearcats back 10 yards but Emory Jones picked up 7 yards on the next play and a defensive passing interference was called on a 4th and 6 attempt to move Cincinnati to the Iowa State 18.
The Bearcats were unable to capitalize on the Iowa State defensive mistake though as Jones threw two incompletions and on 1st and 3rd down. Carter Brown came on and connected from 36 yards out to close the deficit to 20-10 with 4:03 remaining in the 3rd quarter. The 14 play, 56 yard drive took 6:42 off the clock.
The ensuing kickoff was kicked short and Iowa State took over at their own 43 to give them good field position to start their drive.
The first play of the drive was a Becht to Higgins 30 yard completion and the Cyclones followed that with a 14 yard rush by Eli Sanders. Just like that, Iowa State was in the red zone at the UC 14.
The Bearcat defense again made plays when they needed to though and were able to force Iowa State to settle for a 30 yard field goal. With 1:10 remaining in the 3rd quarter, Iowa State led the Bearcats 23-10.
Through three quarters, the storyline was the Iowa State defense. UC came in to the game averaging 490 yards of offense but had been limited to just 198 yards heading in to the final quarter.
Jayden Higgins would show up again on the next Iowa State drive. Becht started the drive with a 31 yard completion to the 6-4 junior and the Cyclones were in Cincinnati territory at Bearcat 38. Eli Sanders followed that long gain, again, with a 12 yard run to the UC 26. Daniel Grzesiak sacked Becht to force a 3rd and 15 but the next play was a 13 yard gain to set up a 4th and 2.
Cincinnati was called for off sides on the next play and Iowa State had a new set of downs at the UC 13. Becht completed a 13 yard touchdown pass to Jack Bjorn on the next play and the route was on as Iowa State led 30-10 with 10 minutes remaining.
The Bearcats could get nothing going the rest of the 4th quarter as they dropped their 4th consecutive game, 3rd at home, by a final score of 30-10. With the loss, Cincinnati is now 2-4. Iowa State improves to 4-3.
Key Stats and Numbers:
- Iowa State was 6 for 6 in the redzone
- Emory Jones finished 14 for 26 for 96 yards and rushed 15 times for 72 yards. Jones niow has 7 interceptions in 4 games after throwing 2 in this game.
- Iowa State outgained Cincinnati 364-214
- Jaylin Higgins burned Cincinnati for 6 receptions, 172 yards
- Deshawn Pace led the defense with 10 tackles, 5 solo.
- Iowa State dominated up front the 6 tackles for loss and 2 sacks on the day. Cincinnati had 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks.
- Cincinnati came in to the game 5th in the country in time of possession but lost the time of possession battle 33:40-26:20
Cincinnati will look to rebound next week end as the Baylor Bears visit Nippert Stadium.