This week you get, not one, but two Football Frenzy 21 articles to keep this thing rolling and before we dive into the predications for the 2021 season let’s raise a toast to former Bearcats QB1 and the Bearcats current quarterback coach and passing game coordinator, Gino Guidugli.
I could probably trace by Bearcats football fandom to the Guidugli era of Bearcats football. On a family vacation in the fall of 2002 my dad and I cancelled all plans we had to watch Ohio State take on the Cincinnati Bearcats. My Dad, a long time OSU fan (now converted) didn’t even know UC had a football team. In the height of the Huggins era basketball success it took me about 2 seconds to know who I was rooting for as we sat there and watched the Bearcats have not one, not two, but three attempts to beat the Buckeyes in the 4th quarter and ultimately come up short. Now, it all just adds to the legend of Gino Guidugli.
Gino is a local high school football product, hailing from Highlands HS in Fort Thomas, KY. He led the Highlands to two state championships in ’99 and ’00. The next year he found himself in the red and black. It took exactly one game before Gino made his presence felt. In his first game Gino went 31/41 with 311 yards passing and 3 touchdowns. The Bearcats would finish the season 7-5 (5-2 ) win solid wins over Houston, Memphis, and Louisiana -Monroe . The Bearcats would make just their fourth bowl appearance ever that year in the Motor City Bow against Marshall. Gino finished his freshmen campaign with 2573 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, and a passer efficiency of 137.5.
The 2002 season was more of the same, the Bearcats finished 7-7 (6-2) with hard fought wins over Houston, Louisville, and UAB. Gino stepped it up for his sophomore season. For the 2002 season Gino went 258-472 for 3543 yards and 22 touchdowns and adding in another 3 rushing touchdowns. In that season he led C-USA in passing yards, pass completions, pass attempts, pass efficiency, total yards, and total yards per play. That year the Bearcats would be upset in the New Orleans Bowl by North Texas.
The 2003 season saw the Bearcats take a bit of a dip, going 5-7 (2-6) but the quarterback remained the constant. Gino would end the season 227-45 for 2704 passing yards and 14 touchdowns.
For his senior season Gino Guidugli would remain QB1 but this season saw a coaching change as Mark Dantonio took the reigns and tried to right the ship. The Bearcats would go 7-5 (5-3) with wins over #21 Southern Mississippi, Memphis, and TCU. Gino finished the season 210-342 (61.4%), 2633 yards and 26 touchdowns (#1 in C-USA) and 1 rushing touchdown. He posted his highest PER of 146.5. The Bearcats found revenge against Marshall in the Forth Worth Bowl that year.
Guidugli would end up starting in 46 games (winning 26) for the Bearcats and totaling 11,453 passing yards (almost twice as much as the next closest guy), 78 touchdowns, and three bowl appearances. Before Gino arrived the Bearcats had only ever been to three bowl games ever. He matched that in his four years.
He still holds UC’s career records for passing yards (11,453), attempts (1,556), completions (880) and TD passes (78), along with the single-season marks for passing yards (3,543), attempts (472) and completions (258). He is the only signal caller in school history to throw for 3,500 or more yards in a season and had 14 career 300-yard passing games.
Gino was tabbed for the Nippert Stadium Ring of Honor in 2005 and inducted into the James P. Kelly Sr. UC Athletics Hall of Fame in October 2013.
Recently a handful of Gino era highlights were uploaded to Youtube. If you check them out you’ll find gems like this one.
and this one
and this one