Decisive decide-6
Tom Groeschen

A day later, followers of each the Cincinnati Bearcats and Miami RedHawks are nonetheless processing UC’s beautiful 21-17 come-from-behind football win Saturday night at Yager Stadium in Oxford.

With a crowd of 21,811 watching, UC rallied from a late 17-6 deficit and claimed the series’ traveling Victory Bell trophy for the 12th consecutive year. The Bearcats drew to 17-12 on a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Hayden Moore to wide receiver Kahlil Lewis with 2:52 left, then made it 17-14 on a two-point conversion pass from Moore to Lewis.

Moments later, UC safety Malik Clemens intercepted Miami quarterback Gus Ragland for a 14-yard pick-six interception return with 1:07 left. That put UC up 21-17.

What did Clements think when he suddenly saw the ball coming his way, thrown by Miami junior quarterback Gus Ragland?

“I was saying that I have to catch it,” Clements said, smiling. “The game was on the line, and big-time players make big-time plays. I just had to make a play for my team.”

Miami marched downfield for a final attempt to win, but Ragland was pressured heavily by UC defensive tackle Cortez Broughton and threw incomplete on 4th-and-5 from the Bearcats’ 20-yard line. With seven seconds left, the game was over and UC fans giddily jumped, laughed and cheered.

“It’s an incredible program win,” first-year UC coach Luke Fickell said afterward, to the tune of more Bell sounds just outside the locker room. “To put yourself behind the 8-ball like we did, and to see guys continue to fight and scratch and claw. There was no give-up. There was no pouting. No chins down, heads down. That’s what I’m most proud of.”

Here are five takeaways from the game, which lifted UC to a 2-1 season record and dropped Miami to 1-2:

Give it up for the defense

With the UC offense sputtering for much of the night, the defense generally held the fort. Miami was limited to 291 yards total offense, including a meager 2.2 yards per rush.

Along with the big plays by Clements and Broughton, there were 10 tackles by linebacker Jaylyin Minor, two sacks by defensive end Kevin Mouhon and one sack by defensive tackle Marquise Copeland, and four pass break-ups by cornerback Linden Stephens.

The UC secondary was burned a couple of times in the first half by Ragland, including a 24-yard TD pass to receiver Luke Mayock….