Photo courtesy of University of Cincinnati
Over the past decade and a half, Cincinnati has enjoyed some magical football seasons.
Both Brian Kelly and Luke Fickell have led the Bearcats to undefeated regular seasons since 2009. Before either of those however, Cincinnati found success under College and Pro Football Hall of Fame member, Sid Gillman.
Gillman spent six years at Cincinnati and compiled a 50-13-1 record. His next-to-last season came in 1953.
Coach: Sid Gillman (fifth season)
Key Players and Award Winners:
Mike Murphy, QB: 63% completions, 809 yards passing, seven touchdown passes, three interceptions
Dick Goist, RB: 64 carries, 561 yards, seven rushing touchdowns
Glen Dillhoff, WR: 13 catches, 265 yards, two touchdown receptions
Remembering the Season
After winning the MAC in three of four seasons under Gillman, Cincinnati became an independent in 1953 and went 9-1. The lone loss came to Marquette in Week 2 by a 31-7 margin.
In its nine wins, Cincinnati held opponents to just 27 total points. The Bearcats closed the year with five straight shutouts. Over that stretch, Cincinnati blanked Western Reserve, Dayton, Louisville, VMI and Miami University.
While the defense dominated, the Cincinnati offense eclipsed the 40-point mark five times. In the backfield, Dick Goist and Joe Miller averaged 8.8 and 7.6 yards per rush, respectively. Those remain the highest single-season averages in Cincinnati history.
At quarterback, Mike Murphy remains Cincinnati’s all-time career leader in yards per completion at 16.2.
After going 8-2 in 1954, Gillman left Cincinnati to become the head coach of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams. Among coaches to coach at least 12 games at Cincinnati, only Kelly finished with a better winning percentage than Gillman.
Currently, only Rick Minter has more wins at Cincinnati than Gillman.
After the 9-1 finish in 1953, it would be 23 years before the Bearcats again won nine games in a season. That total was not eclipsed until 2007.