Only a bachelor party could be more excited to be heading to New Orleans than Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell. Nearly a week after the Bearcats narrowly squeaked by the Naval Academy with a 27-20 win, Fickell’s anxious to move past the challenge of Navy and onto Tulane.
“Well, I’m glad that week’s over,” Fickell remarked during his weekly press conference on Tuesday.
One-win Navy’s power run game and unorthodox defensive alignment (3 down linemen, 8 players in coverage) proved challenging for the 2nd-ranked Bearcats.
“We needed a challenge, and we got one,” added Fickell.
Despite a 27-10 lead in the fourth quarter, Cincinnati escaped Annapolis with just a seven-point win over the Midshipmen. The victory marked the first time all season that the Bearcats failed to top their opponent by double digits.
“All in all, no matter what, on both sides of the ball, you do find out a lot about yourself after a game with an academy, especially the Naval Academy,” said Fickell. “And on the road, you find out what you’re really made of. Because someway, somehow, it’s going to be very difficult.”
Fickell admitted that Navy’s game plan differed from what the Bearcats saw on film, leaving UC confused and having to rely on their leaders.
“You talk about being frazzled and helping people calm down and staying under control,” Fickell commented. “I think myself and the other seniors really do a good job of keeping the team calm and under control and to know what we came here to do and that’s obviously get a win.”
With the headache of Navy behind them, Fickell and the Bearcats can turn their attention to should-be pushover Tulane, a team with just one win and the third-worst defense in the country.
“And now, it’s time to move on,” Fickell assured the media. “We’ve got to continue to do a better job of handling all the things that come along with the successes or the wins and the attention that we’re getting as an individual and as a program. For me, the message will continue to be stay humble and stay hungry.”
The visiting Bearcats are currently listed as 24.5 point favorites over the Green Wave, per FanDuel Sportsbook. If the FanDuel forecast is any indication, local Tulane fans better board up the windows. Hurricane Luke is headed their way.
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