Tuesday, September 03, 2002

UC 36, TCU 29 (OT)


UC's Comeback Kid does it again

By Gary Estwick, gestwick@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

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Gino Guidugli runs past TCU defender Jeremy Modkins for a 14-yard touchdown in overtime.
(AP photo)
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        The University of Cincinnati seemed to do everything it could to lose Saturday. Lucky for the Bearcats, TCU returned the favor.

        The Horned Frogs allowed quarterback Gino Guidugli to recover from a dismal performance and rally his team from a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

        Then in overtime, in front of a nationally-televised ESPN audience, Guidugli added another brilliant ending to his career at UC. He scored on a quarterback draw to give the Bearcats a 36-29 victory at Nippert Stadium.

        “I struggled early in the game,“ said Guidugli, who has now executed four fourth-quarter comebacks at UC. “But I was just glad everyone stuck with me.“

        Not everyone, though, stuck with Guidugli and the Bearcats (1-0). About half of the stadium's 25,518 fans left after UC trailed 29-14 with 7:51 remaining.

        Those fans missed seeing Guidugli move his offense down the field for three scores, and strong safety Doug Monaghan seal the game with an interception in the end zone.

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DeMarco McCleskey dives into the endzone after a nine yard run in the third quarter.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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        “Everyone is going to come to realize - and they should -- that you better not ever leave that stadium if it's within reach,“ Guidugli said. “We're going to come back.“

        Guidugli finished with 18 of 38 passes for 287 yards. He also threw for two touchdowns and ran for one TD.

        There was no doubt on the Bearcats sideline that he would recover.

        “I've got confidence in my quarterback,“ said Jon Olinger, who caught three passes for 128 yards, including a key fourth-down catch late in the game. “I'll pick no one above him.“

        In overtime, with the momentum on UC's side, Guidugli gained a first down with a short pass to receiver LaDaris Vann. Then on second-and-10 at the TCU 14, Guidugli opted to run behind running back Tedric Harwell to the right on a quarterback draw. With a solid block downfield by receiver Tye Keith, Guidugli scored the go-ahead TD.

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TCU kicker Nick Browne celebrates one of his five field goals.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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        On the Horned Frogs' overtime possession, quarterback Sean Stilley threw a floating pass to receiver LaTarence Dunbar. But Monaghan was waiting in the end zone. Monaghan was mobbed by a pile of black and red uniforms.

        With the win the Bearcats now have two weeks to prepare for West Virginia on Sept. 14 at Nippert Stadium.

        Head coach Rick Minter said he will obviously take the ugly win, but his team will not be able to play this way later in the season and win.

        “We didn't block a whole lot of people,“ Minter said. “We've got to get much better at the running game than we were tonight. We just made some plays at the end of the game.“

        The Bearcats rushed for 102 yards, including 84 by DeMarco McCleskey, who left the game late with a thigh bruise.

        After throwing a 75-yard touch down pass on UC's first offensive play from scrimmage, Guidugli fell apart, throwing passes behind his receivers and several to defenders (four interceptions).

        Minter said part of Guidugli's problem was that he double clutched on hitch routes.

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Doug Monaghan intercepts a pass intended for TCU receiver LaTarence Dunbar on the goal line in overtime to clinch a win.
(AP photo)
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        The Bearcats' problems started midway through the first quarter. Holding on to an early 7-0 lead, McCleskey was tripped up near the line of scrimmage by linebacker LaMarcus McDonald. McCleskey seemed to hit the ground before the football popped out, but game officials saw it the other way.

        Five plays later, TCU tied the game. TCU quarterback Sean Stilley (19 of 29 for 249 yards, 1 TD) threw a 20-yard pass to fullback Reggie Holts, who in turn stumbled briefly but recovered and sprinted to the end zone.

        UC punted after its next series, only to watch Terran Williams break three tackles and fake the punter Chet Ervin out of his shoes on a 43 yard punt return for a TD.

        Then back-to-back interceptions by Guidugli set up two Horned Frogs scores.

        Nick Browne made field goals of 22 and 43 yards to give TCU a 20-7 halftime lead.

        In the third quarter, McClesky gave the Bearcats their first TD since the first quarter with a 9-yard run up the middle.

        Browne then made two more of his five field goals of the game.

        “It was 29-14,“ Minter said. “It wasn't looking good. I was counting the points, thinking two touchdowns and two extra points.“

        All of a sudden, Guidugli seemed to calm down. He led UC down the field on a 10-play, 65- yard drive. He found Tye Keith on a 38-yard reception, then on a fourth-and-10 at the TCU 19, Guidugli completed a 13-yard pass to Olinger.

        One play later, former Wyoming star Richard Hall, playing in his first college football game, scored from four yards out.

        With the deficit seven points shorter, UC's defense took over. Defensive end Antwan Peek forced Stilley into a bad throw on first down, linebacker Willis Edwards ran down Stilley on an option run, and running back Corey Connally was tackled 1-yard short of a first down by four Bearcats.

        The Bearcats got a favorable bounce on a 21-yard punt by TCU's Joey Biasatti.

        Guidugli threw a short pass to Vann, who evaded his defender and scored from 35 yards, bringing the Bearcats to within two at 29-27.

        After two TCU penalties, Guidugli tied the score at 29-29 with a quarterback sneak.

       



Bearcats Stories
- UC 36, TCU 29 (OT)
Daugherty: UC football
Hall scores TD in his debut
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