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Rutgers/Cincy game feature

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by earlyentry, Oct 13, 2007.

  1. earlyentry

    earlyentry Member

    It's me again. Had an opportunity to freelance this game for an online site. Haven't had many writing opportunities, as they come and go. Anyway, thanks in advance for those who read this.

    PISCATAWAY, N.J. – For nearly three quarters last night, it appeared Cincinnati would unravel just as Rutgers did against the Bearcats a year ago.

    It was time for the Scarlet Knights, ranked No. 21, to receive payback in the worst way. The fan base was rabid as Rutgers led by 10 points at halftime despite All-American Ray Rice’s quiet work on the ground (30 yards in first half). You could almost start to hear the “Over-rated” chants, the precipitous drop in the Top 25 rankings, and a collective yawn from a national broadcast on ESPN2.

    But something strange happened during the Bearcats’ heart-pounding 28-23 defeat of the Scarlet Knights (3-2, 0-1) in front of the fourth-largest crowd ever in Piscataway:

    They grew up.

    And that meant Bearcats quarterback Ben Mauk - a graduate transfer from Wake Forest - too.  Cincinnati improved to 6-0 and 1-0 in the Big East, good enough for another boost in the rankings this week.

    “I think if we were to focus on last year’s game (a 30-11 upset over Rutgers) and the revenge factor, then we were going to get beat this week,” said Mauk. “So we’re just trying to focus on this season, take it like every other game, preparing just like we have all year long, and we took that mentality and it worked.”

    No performance or result has meant so much, and Mauk led the troops. He threw three touchdowns and effectively piloted the no-huddle and spread offense, throwing for 257 yards and three touchdowns – two in 19 seconds during a 21-point, game-changing third quarter.

    After throwing an early interception – returned 36 yards by sophomore corner back Devin McCourtney in the first – Mauk avoided the big mistake in the air.

    The Scarlet Knights still had a realistic chance for the comeback win on their last possession, which began at the Rutgers’ 37.

    Teel connected on passes of 25 and 13 to Tim Brown to reach the Bearcats’ 39, and there was just under two minutes left. Clearly on their heels against the trio of Brown, Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood, the opportunistic Cincinnati defense – 16 interceptions this year – did it again.

    Cincinnati junior linebacker Ryan Manalac, who dropped a sure-fire pick earlier in the fourth quarter, sealed the momentous victory with the third interception off Rutgers quarterback Mike Teel.

    “Ryan had seen it (the pass) enough that he reacted to seeing the same pattern, and just stepped underneath it…and Teel never saw him,” said Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly.

    More impressive was the fact the Bearcats trailed throughout the game’s first 25 minutes, turning the ball over, committing penalties and missing a first-quarter field goal.

    “I knew we were going to face adversity, but we got to lead them through it,” Kelly said. “We have some young guys that showed a little bit of inexperience, we made some mistakes, but we never – ever - broke apart. We stayed together.”

    The Bearcats were 0-6 in Piscataway before their comeback victory, though Mauk was never on the field in those losses. In fact, before this dream season the Ohio native was with Wake Forest as the Demon Deacons raced to a 5-0 start and received national attention, much like the Bearcats this season.

    Well, sort of.

    “Very similar seasons,” said Mauk. “But (when I was at) Wake Forest we lost to Clemson in the sixth game. And I didn’t want that to happen tonight. We were 5-0 going into the sixth game and we lost last year – but we won tonight, so it’s a little different now.”

    The city of Cincinnati and their college football fans can agree on that. As the season moves along, everyone involved is maturing while the program itself continues to improve.

    With two months still to play, who knows where the season  is heading.

    “It was a fun game to be associated with,” said Kelly. “It was clean, it was hard-hitting, and it was physical. There was a great environment here today.”

    Added Mauk, “I’m just excited to get back to Cincinnati.”
  2. DGRollins

    DGRollins Member

  3. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    Just more of a technical thing: your first reference of Rutgers' quarterback Teel is in the 10th graph, but does not include the full reference - no first name, team or position.. You do include his first name, team and position in the next graph.

    I'm guessing you were moving stuff around late, but be sure to double check stuff like that.
  4. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member

    Thanks for posting it, ee.

    I liked the story, but it lacks specific details.

    I have no idea what made the crowd rabid. Were elderly fans standing and yelling like the youngsters? Did anyone stand out in their exhuberance? How did the Bearcats grow up? What made them look more mature, other than the fact that they won the game?

    I'm also hungry for some more description of those first three quarters. How did they turn the ball over?

    I'd also take out any reference to television broadcasts. It gives the reader the idea that you were watching it on the tube.
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