Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Memorable Bearcat Games: Cincinnati 17 Wisconsin 12

The first edition of Memorable Bearcat games starts with one that is near and dear to my heart. It happened way back in 1999. The opponent? The Wisconsin Badgers. Wisconsin came into this game ranked #9. This Badger team would lose the next week to Michigan, but run the table and won the Rose Bowl. They had Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne. The Bearcats team? They were coming off a loss to Division II Troy. Troy is respectable now, but back then, they were hot garbage. Of course, there is no record of that game at all, besides the score, so I can't tell you more about it. I can put more commas in sentences though. I had a friend who lived in Wisconsin at this time. I sent him emails every day for a week that Cincinnati was going to beat Wisconsin. He laughed it off because the Badgers were really good and the Bearcats were not. But ladies and gentlemen, that's why they play the games.

I was at this game with my dad. We were on the Wisconsin side, because every time you buy tickets at the gate you are always on the visitor side. In fact, I don't remember any time I've been behind the Cincinnati bench. Always visitor side or end zones. I almost caught an extra point once. It wasn't at this game, so I don't know why I brought it up. The game was pretty slow starting. It was dominated by Wisconsin in the first quarter. Cincinnati had the ball to start the second. With the ball at their 49, the Cats handed the ball to this man.
Robert 'Sterling' Cooper. Only Cooper didn't get tackled. He ran 51 yards for a touchdown and a 7-3 Cincinnati lead. Cooper had 143 yards on the day. After a Wisconsin field goal, the Badgers looked like they took the lead, but an 81 yard punt return by Nick Davis was called back. The Bearcats added the lead in the third quarter, when Deontey Kenner ran a QB draw 5 yards for a touchdown. I loved Deontey Kenner. I wonder what happened to him? Apparently, he's a golfer. No joke. He's on the Golf Channel Amateur Tour or something. See?

 That's incredibly weird to find out. He had a little write up in Sports Illustrated after the Ohio State game. It's here. Try to shake off that crazy turn and let's get back to the game.

After the Bearcats drove to make it 14-6, Wisconsin went on a 96 yard, layin the smack down, drive for a score. Ron Dayne, who had 28 carries for 231, ran in from 18 yards out. Believe it or not, Dayne was injured with a sprained ankle and didn't play the whole game. And he had 28 carries for 231 yards. Pro Ron Dayne was a bust, but college Ron Dayne was special. In this game, he passed Archie Griffin for most yards by a Big 10 back. Wisconsin ended up going for 2, but the pass was broken up by Tinker Keck!!! Another blast from the past there. Tinker Keck would have another big play in the fourth quarter.

With 8 minutes left, Wisconsin punted. Captain Tinker Keck, known for his near recklessness, was set to return. The kick went back to the 10, as did Keck. The ball bounced off his facemask. Wisconsin recovered. The Badgers gave the ball to Dayne on the second play. It looked like he was going to score. Bobby Fuller had other ideas, and popped the ball out. Jeff Burrow recovered, and Cincinnati avoided a big one. I remember sitting there and seeing the ball come flying out of Dayne's hands and jumping up and down like a spaz when UC recovered. The Bearcats wouldn't convert a first down, but on their punt, Davis muffed it, was blown up by LaVar Glover, allowing Carlton Sykes to recover. When Davis dropped the ball, the whole side of the stadium across from me jumped up at once. It was really cool to see. I still remember it, that should show how cool it is. UC would go 3 and out, but Jonathan Ruffin showed why his number is retired by drilling a 41 yard field goal with 5 minutes left.

The Badgers drove down the field for their game winning drive. They stalled late and had to make a play on 4th down. For a second, it looked like they did. Scott Kavanaugh threw to the end zone, and found a familiar name, Lee Evans. The touchdown was wiped out by an illegal motion penalty as Nippert gave a sigh of relief. With 6 seconds left, Kavanaugh went back to pass again. This time, he threw too high for Nick Davis. The Bearcats did this:
the crowd did this in like 2 seconds:
and also this:
I was one of the people who stormed the field. I even shook Rick Minter's hand. It was pretty awesome. It was all pretty awesome. The win over Wisconsin was the first win over a top 10 team in Cincinnati history. I was happy to be there for it. That and the sheer awesomeness of the whole thing is why Cincinnati 17 Wisconsin 12 is a memorable Bearcat game.


  1. Great story, I still remember where I was for that game. My and a group of friends gathered at my house in Lexington, North Carolina to watch our boy Bobby Fuller play on national television. When Bobby caused Dayne to fumble in front of the endzone we were proud but not supprised. He was an incredible athlete. I played high school basketball with him, and he was also the best b-ball player in the school. Although we had watched him play for Cincy on T.V. we wanted to watch him in person. So his senior year he was finally coming back to NC to play ECU and we all bought tickets for the game. Unfortunately as luck would have it the week before the game Bobby broke his leg at practice and did not get to travel with the team.

  2. Great post, and great website. Thanks for the information! cincinnati magicians