2022 Wasabi Fenway Bowl Preview

Battle Of Neighboring Schools

It’s the most wonderful time of the year as bowl season is upon us. Officially it starts on Friday but really kicks into gear with seven games on the Saturday docket. The game we’re looking at now features a very intriguing match-up that has gotten even more so since being announced. Let’s look at the teams and what makes this game interesting with our 2022 Wasabi Fenway Bowl Preview between Cincinnati and Louisville. But first, a how, when, where to watch, and a little history of the game.

Date: Saturday, December 17th

Time: 11 am EST

Where: Fenway Park Boston, MA

TV: ESPN

Third Time’s The Charm

At this point, we should just be happy the bowl is being played. The inaugural attempt came in 2o2o matching teams from the ACC and American Conferences. It was to be the first game played at historic Fenway Park and the first played in New England. However, it was canceled on October 23 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The next season organizers tried again and even announced the teams, SMU and Virginia. Unfortunately, the game was canceled three days before kickoff on December 26, 2021, again due to COVID-19.

The title sponsor of the contest is Boston-based Wasabi Technologies which specializes in cloud storage software.

Now that we’ve given you some history let’s look at both teams as we continue our 2022 Wasabi Fenway Bowl Preview.

Scouting The Bearcats

Cincinnati comes into the game sporting a 9-3 record and 6-2 in the AAC. It’s their last game in the league as they’re off to the Big 12 next year. They will be without their head coach as Luke Fickell left for the same job at Wisconsin. Cornerbacks and special teams coach Kerry Coombs will lead the Bearcats into Boston.

Ben Bryant was the man under center for most of the year. However, he’s out with a foot injury. Evan Prater gets the nod for Cincinnati. So far in 2022, he’s completed 54 percent of his passes with no touchdowns and an interception. He’s a bigger threat running the ball gaining 196 yards. Prater ran for 83 yards against Tulane in the regular season finale.

Charles McClelland is the leading rusher gaining 834 yards and seven touchdowns. In addition, he’s hauled in 13 passes. When UC throws the ball the combination of Tyler Scott and Tre Tucker have 106 catches for nearly 1,600 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. leads the defense with 119 tackles and eight sacks ranking him first and third respectively. As a result, Pace won AAC defensive player of the year.

As we continue our 2022 Wasabi Fenway Bowl Preview let’s look at Louisville.

Season Of Change

The Cardinals got off to a 2-3 start leading to rumors about Scott Satterfield’s job. However, they finished strong winning five of the last seven. On December 5th Satterfield announced he was leaving Louisville for…Cincinnati. Out of respect for both teams, he won’t have any part of the game. In fact, they’ll only have three full-time coaches on staff for Saturday. Furthermore, three former Cardinal coaches moved up Interstate 71 to Cincinnati. In the meantime, current former Cardinal great and current Director Of Player Development Deion Branch will coach Louisville. Another Cardinal great and former Purdue coach Jeff Brohm takes over after the bowl.

On the field all-everything quarterback Malik Cunningham declared for the NFL Draft and won’t play on Saturday. In addition to top, wide receiver Tyler Hudson and cornerback Kei’Trel Clark aren’t on the depth chart while offensive guard Luke Kandra entered the transfer portal ending up at…Cincinnati.

Cunningham completed 63 percent of his passes and was second on the team in rushing yards with 560. With him gone Brock Domann will be the man under center. He started the last few games when Cunningham was out including their regular season finale against Kentucky.

Linebackers Yasir Abdullah and Mohamed Sanogo lead the defense with a combined 143 tackles and 11.5 sacks. For Louisville to have a chance to win they’ll have to come up big against an offensive line that’s struggled at times.

Continuing with our 2022 Wasabi Fenway Bowl Preview let’s look at the extensive history between these teams.

Series And Bowl History

Saturday’s game marks the 54th meeting all-time with Cincinnati holding a 30-22 lead with one tie. Of course, the two schools were longtime conference mates going all the way back to 1963 when they were in the Missouri Valley. After that, they were both independents for 20 years before joining Conference USA from 1996-2004 and then the Big East from 2005-2012. Following one year in the American, the teams split off when Louisville joined the ACC. Their last meeting came in 2013.

Throughout their rivalry, the schools played for the “Keg Of Nails.” The trophy is a replica of a keg used to ship nails. The exchange is believed to have been initiated by fraternity chapters on the UC and U of L campuses, signifying that the winning players in the game were “tough as nails.”

Overall Cincinnati is 10-11 in bowl games, dropping their last two. A season ago they made it to the College Football Playoff losing to Alabama in the Cotton Bowl. On the other side of the ball, this is Louisville’s 25th bowl appearance. They are 11-12-1 in the postseason with the tie coming to Long Beach State 24-24 in the 1970 Pasadena Bowl. They’ve lost three of their last four bowls with the win coming over Mississippi State in the 2019 Music City Bowl.

Now that we’ve previewed both teams and given you some history as we wrap up our 2022 Wasabi Fenway Bowl Preview let’s give our prediction.

Who Wins On Saturday?

Only during bowl season can you have two teams separated by 100 miles on the Ohio River head to Boston for a bowl game. With the whole coaching angle and rivalry history, this shapes up as one of the more interesting early-season matchups. Throw in the unique setup at Fenway Park had Satterfield coached it would have made an awkward situation even more interesting.

The Cardinals are one of the best in the nation at forcing turnovers. They’ve won several games with their defense and they’ll do it again on Saturday.

Louisville 21-17

Thanks for checking out our 2022 Wasabi Fenway Bowl Preview here at Last Word On College Football. Don’t forget we’ll have previews of every bowl game leading up to the championship on January 9th.

 

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