Military Bowl Breakdown, Part 1: The Cincinnati Offense

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Monday’s game will be a rematch of the 2014 Military Bowl. (Photo by Ivan Morozov)

Facing Tech in the Military Bowl will be some familiar faces, though they aren’t familiar from VT’s prior tilts versus the Bearcats.  Head Coach Luke Fickell was co-DC at Ohio State when the Hokies split a two-game set, and Offensive Coordinator Mike Denbrock was OC for Notre Dame when Tech got them in a comeback win. In a twist on this familiarity, though, the scheme and tendencies for both coaches are different than what you saw at their prior jobs.

They coach a veteran team with an aggressive defense, and talent-wise most of their starters would start for the Hokies or push for playing time. (Stop me if you’ve heard that one before.) Nine of their players were either first- or second-team All-AAC, and this was an AAC conference that in 2018 went toe-to-toe with the ACC in the first half of the season. As far as health goes, this feels a bit like Oklahoma State last year, with the Bearcats coming in at or near full-strength, while the Hokies have key pieces hurt or missing.

To prep, I watched the Bearcats’ last two games of the regular season against UCF and ECU. First, they were pummeled by a very good UCF squad 38-13, and then they took out some anger on a completely hapless ECU squad by a score of 56-6.