The Victory Bell will remain in Cincinnati's hands for a record ninth-straight season after a 31-24 Bearcat victory Saturday evening. The 41,926 attendance at Paul Brown Stadium is the highest such figure in the rivalry game's 119-year history.
Miami, however, was the team that started things off on a 23-yard strike 4:01 into the contest. The touchdown pass by senior quarterback Andrew Hendrix to senior wide out David Frazier was a sign of things to come for both young men; Hendrix finished with 262 yards through the air and two touchdowns but took a beating on a couple of earned scrambles and eight total sacks. Frazier added to his already-impressive season totals, hauling in both of Miami aerial scores and gaining a whopping 162 yards.
The back and forth affair yielded 734 yards of total offense that was nearly an even split for each offense: Miami finished with 364, UC with 370, and the game was a close one to the very end. But after a massive goal line stand and a missed field goal by junior kicker Kaleb Patterson, the Bearcats resumed control of the ball an chewed up the final five minutes of clock. A Tion Green first down plunge with 1:25 remaining sealed the deal, and the RedHawks were dropped to 0-4 in a heart-breaker.
Despite the twentieth-straight loss, Saturday's romp was perhaps the most inspiring RedHawk performance of the past few years. Head coach Chuck Martin was thrilled with the compete level of his boys, and said that minus a few key mistakes, his team played a great game.
"I'm proud of our kids," Martin explained in the post-game press conference. "They played their hearts out, and played much harder ... but we made some critical mistakes and we've got to execute better in key situations."
A few ill-timed sacks and a couple bad breaks separated the RedHawks from their first "W" in what seems like ages, but patience is a virtue that Martin has learned is part of his new job.
"The short term [is difficult]," Martin said, referring to Miami's progress on the gridiron. "But long term I'm happy and we're improving. I'm at an unbelievable school with unbelievable support. We just want to win a game."
Miami will have yet another chance at that ever-elusive win next week when they head to Buffalo.