Bearcats Accept Belk Bowl Bid After Loss

©Andrew Weber - USA TODAY Sports

In the final game at historic Nippert Stadium Thursday Night before UC begins an $86 million stadium renovation. In front of a sold out crowd of 35,097 in attendance, which is tied for the seventh largest crowd in Nippert History. Bearcats drop a heartbreaking loss in the Keg of Nails Rivalry game vs Louisville.

This game lived up to all the hype, Cincinnati Bearcats and Louisville Cardinals fought back and forth into overtime, with the Cardinals outlasting the Bearcats. It was a battle of could UC defense contain Louisville's quarterback Teddy Bridgewater? Could UC quarterback Brendon Kay lead his team to victory?

No. 19 Louisville topped UC in overtime 31-24, snapping the Bearcats six-game win streak. Bridgewater finish the night 23 of 37 passing for 255 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. In the fourth quarter and overtime, Bridgewater was 9 for 12 passing for two touchdowns.

"Well I don't know what to say, I can't be more disappointed for the group of guys in our locker room than what I am today because what they have done all year long, how they fought and tried to get better," said Coach Tommy Tuberville. "There were two good football teams out there tonight. We knew going into the game it was going to be close and we didn't disappoint anybody."

UC senior quarterback Kay finish the night 22 for 40 passing with 304 yards, two rushing touchdowns, it was his sixth 300-yard of the season. He is only the fourth quarterback in UC history to surpass the 3,000-yard milestone and the first since Ben Mauk threw for 3,121 in 2007, total for the season is now 3,101.

Coach Tuberville talked about his quarterback and how he overcame so much this season. "I don't know what he threw for, but I tell you that kid competed and he did it on one leg. His ankle is so bad," explained Coach Tuberville. "He's been wanting to play and push through it and it's been that way for about six weeks and he has only practiced about one or two days a week. He doesn't throw the ball much because his shoulders are so banged up but I tell you he is a warrior," he added. "He competed tonight, all the seniors did. It is just tough when you play your last home game, you play it so close and they want to win it so bad you just got to feel for kids like that."

Not only did UC loss a rivalry game, the Keg of Nails trophy on the last night at Nippert Stadium but they also loss a shot at a BCS Bowl Berth. Bearcats although have accepted a bid to play in the Belk Bowl on Dec. 28, 2013 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. This will be UC second straight appearance in the Belk Bowl and they will face a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"We are so pleased to be going to Charlotte to play in the 2013 Belk Bowl," said Coach Tuberville. "The opportunity to play another game is huge for our team, our fans and for recruiting. It's exciting and a tribute to our great fans that the Belk Bowl has selected UC two years in a row and I look forward to seeing Bearcats Nation in Charlotte on December 28."

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