A Logical Look at the Cincinnati Defense


As bad as the Temple offense was a season ago, that’s about how bad the Cincinnati defense was over the same four months.

If Mr. Spock or Leonard Nimoy or anyone taking a logical look at this game tonight might conclude, how much Temple improved on offense vs. how much Cincinnati improved on defense really  are the only important variables in determining a winner. The Bearcats were the nation’s 54th-rated defense in 2013 but followed that up by dropping to the No. 69th-ranked defense.


It’s hard to judge anything by a 52-10 win over Alabama A&M because that was a 4-8 FCS team a year ago. Last year, though, Cincinnati gave up 34 points to Toledo, 24 to Miami (Ohio), 50 to Ohio State, 41 to Memphis, 55 to Miami (Fla.), 46 to East Carolina, 31 to Houston and 33 to Virginia Tech. The fact that Temple scored only six was more of an indictment against Temple than praise of anything the Bearcats did.

Obviously, head coach Tommy Tuberville knew defense was the side of the ball he had to address last year so he either didn’t address it or the bandages he applied to the defense did not stop the bleeding. Let’s work on the first part of that theory. Tuberville, at Texas A&M, was a noted offensive mind and his teams won by concentrating on that side of the ball. Maybe he doesn’t place a whole lot of emphasis on defense.

Great photo of Temple AD Pat Kraft (with tie) going nuts. Those Thomas sweeps should be there tonight.

Great photo of Temple AD Pat Kraft (with tie) going nuts. Those Thomas sweeps should be there tonight.

The second part of the theory is that maybe the Bearcats do not have a whole lot of good players on that side of the ball and that seems to be also true. The strength of the defense appears to be the two interior tackles, while the Bearcats have not had acceptable play from the ends. That probably means the same kind of sweeps that worked for Jahad Thomas against Penn State will be there in abundance tonight.

In the secondary, Zach Edwards is arguably the best safety in the conference and will probably take away the middle of the field but those sideline patterns that worked so well for P.J. Walker to Robby Anderson in 2013 will be big-play opportunities.

If the Owls attack the edges with Thomas, then hit Anderson and Adonis Jennings with play-action plays away from the middle of the field, they should be able to get points off of this defense. Those quick outs that Anderson got tackled on against a good Penn State defense could turn into explosive plays downfield for Temple.

Hard to believe that a Cincy defense that dropped from 54 to 69 is going move from 69 to decent any time soon. At least, as Spock might say, it’s just not logical. Expect Temple to score 31 points tonight. Hard to believe even a good Cincinnati offense is going to get more than three scores against the Owls’ defense and probably less.


28 thoughts on “A Logical Look at the Cincinnati Defense

  1. Good assessment of the game mike. I would add the Owls punting game was very strong last week which could play into a game of field possession.

    I think the big question could be whether the Owls can put up enough offense to win the game it will come down to our wideouts making some big plays and taking advantage of corners who certainly can be exploited. I’d look for a lot of the wideout screens and don’t be surprised if they pop for some big yards.

    Go owls!

    • They are probably not going to punt until the fourth quarter. 🙂

      • Great game so far. I cant believe the refs didnt see that CU fumbled that catch and run. I’m here with my friend and his dad rooting for TU. The D doesnt look as good but it’s still pretty good. Hopefully that injured WR is ok.

        I’m waiting for TU to make a big play to get some separation. Otherwise this game is too close. At least PSU beat Buffalo. No starting ND qb may change the dynamics of ND vs TU.

    • Coming out party for Robby Anderson.

  2. the most interesting thing about the Pat Kraft photo is the guy to his right, captured suspended three feet above the ground with a cup of something which has not spilled, that is a National Geographic type photo of college football

  3. Set phasers to stun.

  4. Houston beats Louisville.

  5. the reffing is horrendous. The fumble reversal and just now the offensive pass interference. The receiver pushes the d back and nothing from the refs.

  6. Another horrendous calls that cost TU a td.

  7. Not feeling real comfortable hear, last Cinci score too easy and getting too conservative on offense. Still a lot if time for the Bearcat offense. D needs a tough stand right now and get the ball back

  8. Got a bad feeling on this one, looks like we’re playing not to lose. Trouble is you generally do when you go into this kind of shell

  9. If there’s a better LB in college than T.M. I want to see him.

  10. Great win. Hope coaches learn that you can’t sit on a lead especially against a five star QB. Tuberville is a bonehead. Going for two in third quarter and then wasting a timeout at the end of the game instead of clocking the ball. Owls do enuf to win despite the refs. Announcers couldn’t believe some of the calls. Owls- ND undefeated on Halloween and Owls win with Gameday there.

    • huge win- Go Owls.., “prevent” defense and inconsistent offense cost Temple a spot in the Top 25.., the offense has to be more consistent and balanced,., Jahad’s fumble cost him the AAC player of the week, TM may have won it again

  11. Way too conservative on both sides of the ball in the 4 quarter. Refs were also bad and almost stole this game from Owls. Still they gutted it out. This team might be special.

  12. A win is a win. But Temple was pretty shaky on both sides of the ball -especially pass D at the end. As the announcers said, “for Temple fans, here we go again.” I was saying that too while looking at the score with Cincy catching up. Cincy’s O-line is really good. It nullified Temple’s pass rush. But bottom line, the Owls did what they needed to, to win. Awesome heroics in the endzone for the tip and interception. No matter what else happened, THAT’s how you win games! Lots of great play from many guys but JA, YM and Wells were standouts. Keep it up. It would be great to break into the top 25 this season. Go Owls.

    • These type of wins are the sign of a team that has a positive attitude. The performance was far from perfect but they pulled off a tough win. I think they will polish up some things at practice this week. We need to blitz a bit more. The lineman are not always going to be able to get pressure on their own.

      • Cincinnati’s game plan was to negate the blitz by spreading the field with four wide outs. It worked and Snow’ s game plan was to negate big plays and force Cincinnati to not get big plays and have to go the length of the field without making mistakes. They made five of them. My only issue was the overly conservative nature of the offense in the 4 quarter.

  13. oops, meant to say TM not YM.

  14. Tyler should win the Butkus and be first-team all-American, but I wonder if the Power 5 will allow him a spot. (They do seem to have that much power.)

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