College Football Junkie

A Blog To Share My Tour of College Football

University of Cincinnati

Posted by Strickland on February 26, 2010

Recently, I went to a University of Cincinnati Bearcats (7-0 conference; finished 1st in the conference; 12-1 overall) game to watch them play the Fresno State Bulldogs (6-2 conference; finished 3rd in the conference; 8-5 overall).  I took some teenage boys from the youth group I was serving as Minister of Students to as this was a “Boys Only” trip.  The idea was just to go watch a good college football game.  So, we drove close to 3 hours to Cincinnati to watch the #14 team in the nation, Cincinnati, play Fresno State at this noon game.  Big East verses the Western Athletic Conference (or WAC).  Now, Fresno State is really not a push over team.  They normally compete against Boise State for the WAC Championship each year.  And, Fresno State is not afraid to go play a team regardless of their rank, field, or history.  Their motto is to play “anybody, anytime, and anywhere.”  So, I thought this would be a great opportunity to see Cincinnati because they were #14 in the nation; I lived close by for a college football game; it would be a good group outing; I hadn’t been to the stadium; I like the city; and I thought it would be a good opportunity to see Cincinnati play a good opponent, Fresno State.

The game was advertised as a “whiteout game.”  That’s a new one for me.  Never been to a game that is advertised like that.  Now, college teams, and perhaps some pro teams, have a special night at the game like the “whiteout” game.  If you weren’t wearing white at the game, then they gave you a white t-shirt to wear.  But, the “whiteout game” (or insert any other team color) was great.  It’s pretty cool to see everyone wearing the same color in order to try put havoc on the visiting team.

Cincinnati plays at Nippert Stadium.  “Nippert Stadium has been home to Bearcats football since 1902, making it the fourth-oldest playing site and fifth-oldest stadium in college football.”  Because of renovations, the Cincinnati Bengals played at Nippert Stadium and the Cincinnati Bearcats played at Riverfront Stadium at one time.  The stadium is beautiful and has a lot of charm and history.  The atmosphere was rockin’!  Before walking into the stadium to watch the game, the university had a great tailgating area right next to the stadium at the Raymond D. Sheakley Lawn.  Here, on the field turf, the cheerleaders lead in some cheers, kids throw some football, people congregate, and Lucy the Bearcat is there to show that there is such a thing as a bearcat.  This was my first time, and only time, that I saw Lucy the Bearcat or a bearcat for that matter.  She stays at the Cincinnati Zoo when she’s not at the pre-game activities.

We were a part of the 32,910, which was the eighth largest attendance at Nippert Stadium, that saw Cincinnati beat Fresno State 28-20.  Fresno State was one of the leading rushing teams at the time of the game (finished 8th in the Division 1-FBS).  At the end of the season, their running back (Ryan Matthews) finished the year with most yards per game in the Division 1-FBS.  Cincinnati was one of the leading passing teams at the time of the game (finished 8th in the Division 1-FBS).  As custom during the pre-game, the Cincinnati band runs down the stadium steps onto the field.  This is a simple great pre-game activitity.  Here is a video of the band running onto the field, and it’s the actual footage of the game we went to go see (you don’t see this, but one of the band members falls down when they come down the stairs, and the people around us were letting that band member have it.  Also, if  you look, we were sitting between the goal line and 10 yard line section of the stadium as you were looking at it on the screen…but you can’t see me in my red coat.).

The game started out fast in scoring with Cincinnati taking a 14-3 lead, but in the second quarter the Bulldogs came right back.  At halftime, it was 21-17 Cincinnati.  The game ended as everyone was standing and cheering for the Bearcats to stop the Bulldogs as they had the opportunity to score or keep the drive alive near the end zone.  The play ended with an incomplete pass with 0:39 left in the game on Cincinnati’s 38 yard line.  If you weren’t at the game, or would like a refresher about the game, look at the highlights from the game from the Bearcat’s channel (you will be able to see the last play of the game).  The final stats show the teams gameplan:

Total Rushing:  Cincinnati–57     Fresno State–290

Total Passing:  Cincinnati–300   Fresno State–153

This was a great game, great stadium, and a great atmosphere.  After this season, the coach for Cincinnati (Brian Kelly) left abruptly to go coach to Notre Dame.  A big stink came about for him not necessarily leaving Cincinnati after building it to a great BCS team, but how he told the team.


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