For the second straight year, the University of Cincinnati’s football team has accepted a bid to the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina; they are the defending champions.
Tommy Tuberville’s Bearcats have been nothing but impressive on the field this year despite the loss of quarterback Munchie Legaux to his knee injury in the early part of the season.
Senior Brendon Kay has stepped up to the challenge and led the team to a notable 9-3 behind his 3,121 passing yards and 22 touchdowns, respectively. When Tubberville’s coaching staff called Kay to air it out, he had his three main receivers Anthony McClung, Shaq Washington, and Chris Moore bringing in 2,254 yards and 15 touchdowns collectively.
When it has come to the running game, the Bearcats have used a split backfield with Ralph Abernathy and Hosey Williams. Abernathy has received more carry attempts with 119 but Williams has out run Abernathy by 158 yards on his 105 rushing attempts.
The Bearcats offense puts up an average of 33.3 points a game. Their defense features a strong front seven but lack in the secondary. Even with the unimpressive secondary, the Bearcats hold teams to an average 19.5 points a game.
The North Carolina Tar Heels have not had the same success when it has come to their team record ending with a 6-6 in the regular season and 4-4 in their ACC-Coastal conference.
The Tar Heels also had a bit of misfortune with their quarterback at the end of the season. Brian Renner started and played the majority of the first eight games with a completion percentage of 65.8% and 10 touchdowns, respectively. After his injury though North Carolina seemed to not miss a beat only playing Marquise Williams the last four games while he racked up 14 touchdowns and only six interceptions throughout the season.
True freshman T.J. Logan was their go-to rusher with 78 carries and going for a less than striking 456 yards with four touchdowns. Williams, the quarterback, tucked the ball in for 102 carries with 490 yards and six touchdowns, respectively. Tommy Tubberville’s defense will have to keep the Tar Heel’s passing game in check as well as watch for the tuck-and-go by Williams.
“UNC finished the regular season by winning five of its six final contests,” Sam Kwiatkowski, a staff writer for Bearcatjournal.com, said. “The Tar Heels have a dual-threat quarterback in Williams who could give the Bearcats fits with the ability to both run and pass.”
There is no doubt the Bearcats have the advantage when it comes to the on-paper stats, but with the game being in North Carolina it will almost be a home game for the Tar Heels.
Through Cincinnati’s misfortunes with coaches using the school as a stepping stone for bigger programs, it seems that the Bearcats have never faltered when it has come to their level of play. Hopefully Tuberville in his old age has found his niche here in Cincinnati as he brings home another Belk Bowl for the city of Cincinnati as Kwiatkowski says Brendon Kay and their offence will prove too much for the Tar Heels to handle. He takes the Bearcats by seven.