UC's Luke Fickell Apologizes for Running Fake Punt Up 32 Points vs. ECU

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2020

Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell works the sideline during an NCAA college football game against South Florida, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, in Cincinnati. No. 8 Cincinnati's game at Tulsa on Saturday has been postponed because of positive COVID-19 tests among Bearcats players. The American Athletic Conference announced Thursday, Oct. 15, the game is being rescheduled for Dec. 5. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster, File)
Aaron Doster/Associated Press

Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell apologized for a fake punt while leading 42-10 during the fourth quarter of Friday night's victory over East Carolina, which he said wasn't called by the sideline.

"We would not want to do it in that situation," Fickell told reporters.

Pirates head coach Mike Houston was asked about his conversation with Fickell after the game, which television cameras showed lasted for nearly a minute.

"I will leave what was said between us," Houston said.

The unexpected 29-yard run by senior linebacker Joel Dublanko was the highlight of a nine-play, 75-yard scoring driving by the Bearcats.

Cincinnati capped its scoring with a 75-yard touchdown run by Cameron Young on its final drive.

The blowout moved the seventh-ranked Bearcats to 7-0, and there's an argument they need to run up the score during the final month of the regular season in order to impress the College Football Playoff selection committee since they don't have any ranked opponents left to play.

Their best wins so far are 24-10 over No. 22 Army in September and 42-13 over No. 16 SMU in October.

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That said, there's a difference between trying to score some style points amid a crowded CFP race and running a fake punt while up by 32 points. It sounds like Fickell was just as surprised as everyone else.

East Carolina dropped to 1-6 with its four straight loss.

Both AAC teams are back in action next Saturday. The Bearcats finish the regular season with three straight road games, starting with a visit to the Bounce House to face UCF. The Pirates head to Lincoln Financial Field for a clash with Temple.