Sunday, September 09, 2001

UC 24, Army 21


Guidugli rescues Bearcats in impressive debut

By Andrew Gross
Special to the Enquirer

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Gino Guidugli scrambles away from Army's Andre Frazier.
(AP photos)
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        WEST POINT, N.Y — The Gino Guidugli era at Cincinnati began way ahead of schedule Saturday as the brief Adam Hoover tenure ended because of injury.

        And if Guidugli looked like the true freshman he is when he first entered the game late in the first quarter, he played like a seasoned veteran by the end. His 12-yard touchdown pass to wide-open junior Tye Keith over the middle with seven seconds remaining lifted the Bearcats to a 24-21 win over Army at Michie Stadium in their Conference USA opener.

        “That comeback was one of the greatest experiences,” said Guidugli, who completed 31 of 41 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns in his collegiate debut. “I could not have scripted it any better than it went today. I'm just glad we united as a team on that final drive and everyone believed that we could march down the field and score.”

        All three of Guidugli's touchdown passes came in the fourth quarter, and he completed seven of nine passes in the final drive, which covered 70 yards in 1:09.

        Cincinnati (1-1, 1-0) lost Hoover for the season after the senior tore the ACL in his right knee on a QB keeper in the team's second drive of the game.

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Celebrating the game-winning TD are C Josh Shneyderov (66), G DeWayne Johnston (60) and RB DeMarco McCleskey (31).
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        “Gino stepped in and did a remarkable job for us,” Cincinnati coach Rick Minter said. “He showed tremendous poise for a first-year player. I really couldn't be any happier with his outstanding effort. Who knows? Maybe a star was born today.”

        Guidugli originally committed to Kentucky on Feb.5 after leading Highlands to state Class AAA championships his last two years. His senior year, Highlands went 14-1 and finished 13th in the USA Today national poll while he threw for 4,367 yards and 51 touchdowns and was a runnerup for Kentucky's Mr. Football honors.

        He backed out of his commitment the next day when coach Hal Mumme resigned amid an internal investigation that has since uncovered numerous NCAA violations. Guidugli initially expressed a desire to redshirt this season, but the Bearcats' lacked quarterback depth as they tried to replace the dynamic Deontey Kenner.

        “Everyone on this team has confidence in Gino,” said senior wide receiver LaDaris Vann, who caught a career-high 12 passes for 134 yards. “In practice, he shows us how good he is against the first-team defense. He makes the right reads, he has a strong arm and, best of all, he has great accuracy. He found our receivers at different spots, and we have to praise him for that.”

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Jonathan Ruffin accepts congratulations after his 44-yard FG.
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        Guidugli and Keith connected on a 7-yard pass for a 17-14 lead with 4:48 left in the fourth quarter to cap a 16-play drive that started on the Cincinnati 35-yard line and took off 6:22 from the clock.

        But Army senior Omari Thompson gave the Black Knights (0-1, 0-1) a 21-17 lead on a 39-yard run with 1:16 to go on a trick play. After taking the snap, senior quarterback Chad Jenkins went between his legs to give the ball to Thompson, who waited three seconds before running a naked reverse to his left as the rest of the Army offense went right.

        Thompson had fumbled the kickoff after Keith's first touchdown, but Army forced Cincinnati senior running back Ray Jackson to fumble, with Army taking over at its own 16-yard line with 3:58 remaining.

        Guidugli had given Cincinnati a 10-7 lead with a 25-yard strike to junior wide receiver Jon Olinger with 12:36 left in the fourth quarter. Guidugli rolled to his left and bought time for Olinger to get behind junior cornerback Maurio Smith in the end zone.

        “We thought that coming here things were going to go a lot smoother than they were,” Keith said. “Unfortunately, we kept making the same mistakes that we were making last week (in a 19-14 loss to Purdue). Instead of looking like a veteran team that we think we are, we looked like a rookie team. Fortunately, we got the win.”

        NOTES: Jonathan Ruffin, last year's Lou Groza Award winner as the nation's top kicker, made a 44-yard field goal but missed a 29-yarder and a 42-yarder ... Senior Adam Wulfeck had a wind-aided, career-best, 69-yard punt for a touchback in the first quarter, the fourth longest punt in school history. ... Vann extended his streak to 22 games with at least one catch with a 13-yard reception early in the second quarter. He also became the 12th player in Bearcats history to surpass 1,000 career yards receiving and now has 1,073 yards.

Team   1 2 3 4     SCORE
Cincinnati   0 3 0 21     24
Army   0 0 7 14     21
Scoring Summary
1st QuarterNo scoring.
2nd QuarterCincinnati Field Goal - 44-yarder by Jonathan Ruffin.
2:50 remaining.
3rd QuarterArmy Touchdown - 1-yard run by Josh Holden. (Derek
Jacobs kick). 0:57 remaining.
4th QuarterCincinnati Touchdown - 25-yard pass from Gino Guidugli
to Jon Olinger. (Jonathan Ruffin kick). 12:36 remaining.
Army Touchdown - 6-yard pass from Chad Jenkins to Aris
Comeaux. (Derek Jacobs kick). 11:10 remaining.
Cincinnati Touchdown - 7-yard pass from Gino Guidugli
to Tye Keith. (Jonathan Ruffin kick). 4:48 remaining.
Army Touchdown - 39-yard run by Omari Thompson. (Derek
(Jacobs kick). 1:emaining.
Cincinnati Touchdown - 12-yard pass from Gino Guidugli
to Tye Keith. (Jonathan Ruffin kick). 0:07 remaining.
Attendance: 27,157
Final Team StatisticsCincinnati Army
First downs 2716
Rushes-yards 43-13831-160
Passing yards 333203
Return yards 892
Passing (Att-Comp-Int) 44-32-030-19-1
Punts-Average 5-48.87-44.1
Fumbles-Lost 2-13-3
Penalties-Yards 11-1013-25
Time of Possession 35:5424:06
Rushing
Cincinnati - Jackson 13-50, McCleskey 16-48, Hoover 4-19, Wize 1-16, Guidugli 9-5.
Army - Holden 16-109, Thompson 1-39, Young 5-13, Jenkins 9-(-1).
Passing
Cincinnati - Guidugli 31-41-0, 311 yards and 3 touchdowns. Hoover 1-3-0, 22 yards.
Army - Jenkins 19-30-1, 203 yards and 1 touchdown.
Receiving
Cincinnati - Vann 12-134, Olinger 7-76, Keith 5-38, Jackson 3-26, Wize 2-31, Walker 1-12, Drewery 1-9, McCleskey 1-7.
Army - Comeaux 8-134, Thompson 4-24, Dodson 2-10, Holden 2-4, Smith 1-19, Bruenton 1-10, Schwartz 1-2.



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