There was no post-Lagaux letdown for Cincinnati Saturday night, as the Bearcats steamrolled Northwestern State 66-9 and showed they could put up big numbers without injured starting quarterback Munchie Lagaux.
Cincinnati, aiming for its fifth straight bowl appearance, averaged almost 10 yards per play, massing 669 yards on 67 snaps.
Senior Brendon Kay engineered a dominant offensive output, firing four touchdown passes before his backup replaced him early in the third quarter, while the Bearcats smothered a Demons' offense that had piled up 55 first downs in its first two games. NSU (2-1) notched only 12 Saturday night, just two in the second half as Cincinnati (2-1) outscored the visitors 24-0.
"They were very good, especially up front on both sides of the ball," said first-year Demons' head coach Jay Thomas. "We didn't have the same level of sharpness that we had in the first two weeks but you have to credit Cincinnati for that.
"Munchie is a dynamic player but they have a bunch of really, really good players and those guys made a slew of plays tonight. Hopefully we can learn from the tape. We were challenged in ways we haven't been, and I was proud that we never pulled up, we kept competing every minute, even if sometimes we were outmanned to some degree."
The Bearcats overwhelmed the Demons almost from the outset, using big plays as the cornerstones for five first-half scoring drives, none requiring longer than 3:07. Cincinnati ballcarriers broke numerous tackles while piling up 397 yards at halftime, while NSU could produce only 129.
The half ended in encouraging fashion for the visitors when transfer kicker Chris Moore hammered a 47-yard field goal with just under a second to go. The Demons covered 45 yards in eight plays against the clock to earn the opportunity.
It was the second straight scoring series for NSU. The Demons went 75 yards in five snaps to get on the board 2:44 before halftime on a 6-yard run by true freshman De'Mard Llorens. A two-point conversion try out of the swinging gate formation failed.
The Bearcats answered in just over a minute, on Kay's third TD pass of the half, a 15-yarder to Anthony McClung, to make it 35-6. Kay called it a night early in the third quarter after flinging his fourth scoring strike, a 41-yarder, for a commanding 42-9 lead.
With both teams playing reserves throughout the fourth quarter, Cincinnati added three more TDs and 178 yards while the Demons tacked on just 10 offensive yards. Seven Bearcats posted at least one play gaining 25 yards or longer in the rout.
"You don't burn the tape. You learn what you can and improve. There's a whole lot of season left, nine games deep into November, and this was not wasted effort tonight, unless we let it become that," said Thomas. "We have a very challenging game at UAB next Saturday and we learned some things tonight, and will after watching the tape, that can help us the rest of the way."
Northwestern will travel to Birmingham for a 2 p.m. game with the Blazers next Saturday afternoon, then return home for their final non-conference contest Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. against Langston.
|AUG 29||6:00pm CDT||at Missouri State|
|SEP 7||6:00pm CDT||Southern|
|SEP 14||6:00pm CDT||at Cincinnati|
|SEP 21||2:00pm CDT||at Alabama Birmingham|
|SEP 28||6:00pm CDT||Langston|
|OCT 12||3:00pm CDT||at Nicholls|
|OCT 19||6:00pm CDT||Southeastern Louisiana|
|OCT 26||2:00pm CDT||at Sam Houston State|
|NOV 2||7:00pm CDT||Central Arkansas|
|NOV 9||3:00pm CDT||Lamar|
|NOV 16||7:00pm CDT||at McNeese State|
|NOV 23||3:00pm CDT||Stephen F. Austin|