I had forgotten that our seats were in the Cincinnati student ticket section.
For about 65% of the game yesterday, my girlfriend and I gritted our teeth like the good Midwesterners that we are as a chorus of Bearcat fans serenaded us with every song they knew, including "Hey, It's The Bearcats," "Let's Spell Out The Name Of Our Mascot," and "Oh Dang That's Right We Play Football Too."
It was rough. Cincinnati Bearcat football fans, as I've alluded to on this site before, are, on the whole, just... awful. A special kind of awful that's reinforced by an arrogance that is utterly baffling and based on literally nothing. Cincinnati struggled with a Miami of Ohio team last week that may or may not be a figment of the collective imaginations of people living in Butler County, but to hear Cincy fans tell it, who cares about that BECAUSE GUNNER KIEL IN THE HOUUUUSSSEEE!!
The inevitable question of "yeah but aren't you guys worried about your defense" is ignored because by God nothing is going to stop the Beat Ohio State hype train that will be immediately derailed and forgotten about after their equally inevitable loss. Remember this?
That was all the rage in southwestern Ohio in 2009, and then was promptly ignored as soon as the Bearcats got dropkicked by Florida in the Sugar Bowl. And that's Cincinnati Bearcat fans in a nutshell. Give them even a whiff of respectability and they will never, ever shut up about it, even if it's nonsensical and unearned. They're a BIG TIME football program, dammit, despite having no real idea about what that means.
Anyway, by the fourth quarter things had quieted down, except for my friendly reminders to drive safely down I-71 at night. On to the game!
Buckeye moms (Apple and Collier) getting a groove on. pic.twitter.com/lXmSvsRqNY— Eleven Warriors (@11W) September 27, 2014
Well, on to the Eleven Dubgate at least! This year was an awesome banger, and we have to thank everyone who came and everyone who helped out for making this one great. It was the best possible prelude to an in-state spanking, replete with bacon, BBQ, cupcakes, and beer, all three of which should probably not be consumed in large quantities in a 10 minute period but I did it anyway.
After high school you can't believe in the word "jinx"— Maurice Clarett (@ReeseClarett13) September 27, 2014
As with many things related to football, I find myself in agreement with Mo C. There is no such thing as being "due" in either sports or statistics, and just because Ohio State hasn't lot to an in-state opponent since the Harding administration didn't make it anymore likely that they were going to last night. Jinxes aren't real, superstition is dumb (despite what beer companies will try to tell you), and teams win because they're better than the teams that they're playing. Point is, if you were worrying about this game because of the cumulative effect of history weighing in on the side of "regression to the mean," just remember that everyone who played in that loss against Oberlin are probably vengeful ghosts and doing tricky things to help Ohio State win.
On the other hand, this was a legitimate thing to worry about:
It's hard to get that open. Looks like two guys thought they had the flat and bit on pump. #Buckeyes— robert smith (@ESPNRobertSmith) September 28, 2014
What's really annoying is that this Robert Smith tweet could've come from any one of several points in the game, which is a theme I thought that we had excised from our brains in the offseason but I guess not.
One crazy stat from this game is that Bearcat wideout Chris Moore had three catches for 221 yards. That's an average of 73.7 yards per catch, and every catch was a touchdown. I don't know if Chris Moore is all that great, mainly because I just became aware of his existence in this universe last week, but I do know that those are some hilarious numbers and that he and Gunner Kiel made the Ohio State defense look really, really bad at times last night. Three times. Exactly three times.
This game would be wildly entertaining if I wasn't so emotionally invested in the outcome. Stupid sports.— Ramzy Nasrallah (@ramzy) September 28, 2014
My girlfriend, who was attending her first OSU game since graduating, turned to me at one point in the third quarter and said "Obviously I want them to win all the time, but I kinda like an exciting game like this that isn't a blowout." Which I agree with in principle, but Cincinnati is one of about four teams that force me to disagree with that basic premise because I find them so odious that I can't abide even the brief flicker of the idea that we might lose to them to flash through my head. I shouldn't have worried though, because Anthony Schlegel powerbombed a dude...
If this isn't on SportsCenter's Top Ten tonight, then I give up. pic.twitter.com/5JkZuu5Xvi— Elika Sadeghi (@steakNstiffarms) September 28, 2014
...and the the universe seemed to right itself.
Just a lot of good decisions all night, all the way around, by J.T. Barrett.— Doug Lesmerises (@DougLesmerises) September 28, 2014
Let's talk about J.T. Barrett for a little bit.
In the history of Ohio State there have been only a handful of 300 yard plus passing games. About half belong to Joe Germaine, and the rest are owned by various quarterback odds and ends like Troy Smith and Art Schlichter and Justin Zwick for some reason. In four games as a college football player, Barrett now has two. He went 26 of 36 last night, and it really should've been more like 29 or 30 of 36 if not for the greyscale affliction currently infesting the hands of the Buckeye wideouts.
I'm not ready to proclaim Barrett The Real Deal quite yet; Cincinnati's defense was little more than cheesecloth stretched over a stencil of a frowny face. But his emerging ability to work through his progressions, take care of the football, and to spread the ball out to seemingly every member of the offense are huge assets. He isn't ever going to be the athletic talent that is Braxton Miller, but that might not matter at the end of the season if he can keep distributing as effectively as he did last night.
But it wasn't just Barrett making the team go:
Ohio State gained 45 first downs in its win over Cincinnati, tied with Texas Tech vs Iowa St in 2003 for most in FBS history #CINvsOSU— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 28, 2014
Michael and I talked after the game, and his MVP was Elliott. And he's right. EzE was a rock, taking on the sledgehammer role with total enthusiasm and rumbling to a pretty ridiculous 182 yards himself. The best thing was that his longest carry of the night was only 14 yards, but his ability to get seven or eight yards on first down with amazing consistency probably ended up winning the game for OSU, and was especially critical as the Buckeyes weathered the really dumb Hail Mary storm.
Let's see how Cincy fans handled the game eventually turning toward the predictable:
We've hit the point people are looking up the most points OSU has scored on UC. That's kind of funny in a masochistic way— Bearcats Blog (@BearcatsBlog) September 27, 2014
Oh yeah, I'm terrified, especially when fans of a team have to resort to blaming the refs for their loss and not the SEVEN HUNDRED AND TEN YARDS OF OFFENSE that they gave up. These people will never learn.
But you know what? It's fine. To the victors go the spoils.
i made a deal to eat skyline in the near future so im tonight's big scrub smdh— DJ Byrnes (@marion_ohio) September 28, 2014