For the eighth straight year the Victory Bell is heading back to Cincinnati after the Bearcats beat the Miami RedHawks 14-0 in one of the ugliest games of the season.
Unlike Miami's previous games this season, it wasn't getting blown out in this one thanks to a bumbling Cincinnati squad that did everything it could to not score. The game remained tied at 0-0 until there was 4:55 left to play, despite Cincinnati dominating the RedHawks on both sides. Bearcats running back Hosey Williams capped off a 16-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to give Cincinnati the lead.
Miami quarterback Austin Boucher immediately turned the ball over on the first play of the next drive tossing an interception and giving the Bearcats and quarterback Brendon Kay the ball at the RedHawks 21. Five plays later Kay ran the ball in to put the score at 14-0 Cincinnati, and seal Miami's third loss on the season.
It was a prime example of how dismal and inept the RedHawks offense has been this season as they adjust to an option based system with Boucher at the helm. The offense was awful. Netting just 87 total yards and the game, and only 1 yard in the second half. The 'Hawks couldn't do anything offensively, managing just four first downs and going a combined 0-for-15 on third and fourth down conversions.
Boucher threw two interceptions, bringing his season total to three, matching his season total from 2010 when he filled in for former Miami quarterback Zac Dysert for the final four games of the season and led the RedHawks to a MAC Championship and a win over Middle Tennessee in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. As bad as Boucher has looked, the offenses' ineptness isn't entirely his fault. The line allowed five sacks on the day (he's been sacked 1 times already) making it hard for him to make plays.
Miami was so awful that even when Cincinnati handed them opportunities (the Bearcats turned the ball over three times) it couldn't do anything of substance. Defensively the RedHawks weren't horrible, keeping the 'Cats to under 400 yards of offense (an achievement for a team that has allowed nearly 1,300 yards in its first two games) but with the offense going three and out almost every time it kept the defensive unit on the field for 89 offensive plays (compared to Miami's offense which managed just 45 offensive plays).
The lone highlight for Miami once again came from punter Zac Murphy who has easily been the team's MVP to this point. He launched an 84-yard punt (a school record by the way) in the second quarter and amassed another ridiculous day of punt yardage to bring his season total to 1,395 yards. That's almost four times the offense's total output through three games.
To put it bluntly, there's a train crashing in Oxford, Ohio, and people should get off now. Don Treadwell is going to be fired at the end of the season and its going to be a long, slow, destructive path to the end.