By Daniel Sellers
On a perfect late summer night in a half full Nippert Stadium, Luke Fickell made his first Bearcat appearance as the head man. Austin Peay came in to the Nip with very little promise to compete with the AAC’s preseason 8th rank squad. Very early on in the contest the Bearcats lack discipline on both offence and defense. QB Hayden Moore over threw several passes and failed to generate a first down in three of his first four series. The Cats seemed out of sync. The defense appeared to warm up during the end of the first quarter led by Jaylynn Minor only to waiver in the second quarter.
The UC offense began to spark at the start of the second quarter. Moore’s passes were crisp and assured as he promptly drove the Cats 53 yards in less than three minutes and finishing it off with a TD pass to Tom Gaddis. Conversely, the very next series the Bearcat defense had two big personal foul penalties bailing out the Governors giving up a 10-play, 81-yard drive capped off by a TD pass from JayVaughn Grieg to a wide open Angelo Wilson. On his next series, Hayden more swiftly moved his team down the field for another score connecting this time with Kahlil Lewis on a 22-yard toss. The defense nearly gave it back before ending the second quarter with a score saving pick by DE Bryn Wright. The Cats led 14 – 7 at the break. The Cat were sleep walking at best and in need of a wakeup call.
Coming out of the locker room, the Cats returned to their less than opportunistic ways and failed to continue their scoring on consecutive series but the defense stepped up to pin AU back on their own one-yard line. Still the Cats squandered another opportunity as WR Kahlil drop an easy TD pass followed by a chip shot field goal miss by senior kicker Ganzt. On the second drive, Moore once again led the Cats to a 30-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tyler Cogwell. The defense played better out of the locker room to hold the Govs to no score. The Cats led 20-7 at the end of three after Gantz missed another extra point kick.
Austin Peay answered the bell to start the fourth with a 13-yard play drive to cut the lead to 20-14. The Cats defense just could not get off the field. On the ensuing position, UC marched right back down the field with a five-play, 42-yard TD drive which saw Boone score his first TD of the season. The Bearcats missed on the two-point conversion and posted their first win under the new head coach Luke Fickell.
The Cats head up to Ann Arbor for a daunting task as they take on the Wolverines at noon.