Sunday, October 07, 2001

UC 46, Tulane 33

Guidugli throws for 4 TDs in Nippert debut

By Bill Koch
Enquirer contributor

Tim Walker dives across the goal line on a 13-yard TD reception.
(Ernest Coleman photos)
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        University of Cincinnati quarterback Gino Guidugli introduced himself to the home crowd Saturday night by throwing four touchdown passes to lead the Bearcats to a 46-33 victory over Tulane.

        But on a night when the offenses for both teams dominated, the play of the game was turned in by a freshman defensive end named Andre Frazier, a walk-on from Hughes High School who was in the game only because usual starter Antwan Peek was serving a one-game suspension for violating an NCAA rule.

        Trailing by six points after recovering from a 39-19 deficit, Tulane quarterback Patrick Ramsey dropped back to pass on fourth-and-5 from the UC 38 with just more than five minutes to go. Before he could release the pass, he was sacked by Frazier, who had a clear shot from the left side of the Bearcat defense. It was his second sack of the night.

        “I just came untouched,” Frazier said. “I did what I was supposed to do. I just tackled the quarterback. I wish I could say I ran through three defenders, but they didn't block me. My eyes got real big. I was thinking it must be a trick play.”

DeMarco McCleskey rushed for 139 yards.
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        Guidugli, the freshman from Highlands High School, was magnificent in his Nippert Stadium debut. The four touchdown passes tied a school record last achieved by Danny McCoin against East Carolina in 1987. Guidugli completed 22 of 32 passes for 312 yards and directed the UC offense flawlessly. The Bearcats, playing against a Tulane defense that allows 529 yards a game, also straightened out their troubled running game, gaining 227 yards on the ground, led by running back DeMarco McCleskey with 139 yards on 29 carries.

        But Guidugli was clearly the offensive catalyst.

        “He was nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof,” UC coach Rick Minter said. “The first series or two I could tell he wasn't settled in yet. He really played well. He's really got a good grasp of what we do.”

        Minter, long noted for his conservative approach to offense, took the wraps off against the Green Wave. The Bearcats used reverses, naked bootlegs, even an occasional option look. They threw short and they threw long.

UC safety Doug Monaghan is beaten for a TD.
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        Almost all of it worked, much to the delight of the crowd of 20,091 that saw the Bearcats gain 539 yards, the most since UC gained 562 against Ball State in 1993.

        The win was the first over Tulane for UC in five tries since the two schools joined Conference USA in 1996 and broke a five-game losing streak overall against Green Wave. The Bearcats are 2-2 overall, 2-0 in C-USA. They've won four straight conference games dating to last year. Tulane, which has used 14 true freshmen this season, is 1-5, 0-2.

        UC needed all the points it could muster because of the way Tulane running back Mewelde Moore was running. Moore set a conference record with 336 all-purpose yards, breaking the previous mark that was set by UC's LaDaris Vann, who had 283 in 1999 against East Carolina. Moore, who rushed for 249 yards, entered the game ranked third nationally in all-purpose yardage.

        UC had no one to match Moore individually but did display an offensive balance that has been missing so far this season.

        “That was the best our line has blocked all year,” said running back Ray Jackson, who gained 90 yards on 14 carries and caught two of Guidugli's touchdown passes.

        Said Guidugli: “This just shows what our offense is capable of. Every time I went out there, I felt like we were going to score.”

        “Our offense rescued our team tonight,” Minter said. “They did what they had to do.”

        PEEK SUSPENDED: The school announced before the game Saturday that Peek had been suspended for one game for receiving extra benefits in violation of NCAA regulations. The announcement did not designate what the benefit was, but a UC source said Peek used his scholarship to secure an extra book for his brother.

        The athletic department reported the infraction to the NCAA earlier in the week, declared Peek ineligible and petitioned for restoration of his eligibility, which will be restored for next week's game at UAB. He will be required to make restitution of the value of the extra benefit he received.

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vs. South Florida (3-4)
• 1:00 p.m. Sat. Nov. 20
• Nippert Stadium
• Radio: WLW-AM 700


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