Football: Cincinnati racks up 615 total yards en route to 37-13 victory

Connecticut head coach Bob Diaco works the sidelines in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Cincinnati, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, in Cincinnati. (John Minchillo/AP)

The UConn football team dropped its second-straight American Athletic Conference game, allowing a season-high 615 yards of total offense to Cincinnati (4-3, 1-2 the American) in a 37-13 loss on the road at Nippert Stadium.

The 615 yards of total offense marked the highest total allowed by UConn in program history since allowing 711 yards in a loss to the the Bearcats in 2009. The Huskies have now allowed over 500 yards of total offense in three of their four games, posting a 1-3 record in that span. 

Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel ran the Bearcats’ offense to perfection despite heavy rain, throwing for 327 yards and two touchdowns while adding a rushing touchdown in his first full game since Sept. 19th. The Bearcats also added 285 rushing yards and averaged 7.3 yards per play.

After racking up 528 yards of total offense in last weeks 28-20 loss to South Florida, UConn (3-5, 1-3 American) seemed to pick up right where it left off, marching down the field and culminating a nine play, 58-yard drive on their first possession of the game with a four-yard rush from running back Arkeel Newsome. 

Unfortunately, the Huskies’ offensive momentum came to a grinding halt after their opening drive. 

Quarterback Bryant Shirreffs was unable to replicate his success against the Bulls, where he totaled 465 yards of offense and two touchdowns. The redshirt sophomore mustered just 87 yards passing on 27 attempts with an interception and a fumble. 

Tim Boyle replaced Shirreffs with 6:08 left to play, going 5-10 for 43 yards and nearly completing a eight-yard touchdown pass to Noel Thomas with 2:39 left in the fourth quarter, but Thomas’ catch was reviewed and ruled incomplete.

Cincinnati answered UConn’s only touchdown of the day just over two minutes later when Kiel found Johnny Holton for a 29-yard touchdown with 6:53 left to play in the first quarter. The Bearcats would add another touchdown thanks to a 26-yard pass from Kiel to Andrew Gantz to finish the first quarter with a 14-7 lead.

A field goal from UConn kicker Bobby Puyol 1:53 into the second quarter cut the Bearcats’ lead to four, but Kiel struck again with his third touchdown of the day, capping a 66-yard drive with a 1-yard quarterback sneak to put Cincinnati up 21-10.

The Bearcats would head into halftime with a 24-10 after Cincinnati kicker Andrew Gantz’s 23-yard field goal.

UConn opened up the second half with the ball but was forced to punt after five plays. The Huskies would regain possession four plays later after Foley Fatukasi sacked Kiel, forcing a fumble that Luke Carrezola would recover.

Shirreffs was picked off by Tyrell Gilbert on the next play on a pass intended for Noel Thomas. The Bearcats would turn that interception into a 12-play drive last more than five minutes that ended with another field goal from Gantz to put Cincinnati up 27-10.

The Huskies would close out the third quarter stopping the Bearcats on 3rd-and-12 in the UConn end zone. Gantz’s 27-yard field goal attempt would miss wide right, and the Huskies would march 67 yards down the field, ending a 16-play drive with a 30-yard field goal from Puyol to make it 27-13 Cincinnati.

The Bearcats would tack on another field goal from Gantz with in the fourth quarter before Hosey Williams scored Cincinnati’s fourth touchdown of the night with 53 seconds left to play to give the Bearcats their first win in the American in 2015.


Daniel Madigan is associate sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at daniel.madigan@uconn.edu. He tweets @dmad1433.