No Farewell Victory For Bower
by Mike Mitchell
December 22, 2007
Ben Mauk threw four TD passes as Cincinnati downed Southern Miss 31-21 in the PapaJohns.com Bowl, ending Jeff Bower's 17-year career as head coach of the Golden Eagles.
Bower stepped down November 26 despite his 14th consecutive winning season and 10th bowl invitation in the past 11 campaigns. Bower was terse in his comments at a press conference that was held to announce the change. He spent 29 years at the Hattiesburg, Mississippi school as a player, assistant coach and head coach. He leaves with a record of 119-83-1.
The loss snapped a 3-game bowl winning streak for Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles' last bowl loss was in the 2003 Liberty Bowl to Utah.
Cincinnati raised its record to 10-3 to give the school its first 10-win season since 1951 in Brian Kelly's first season as head coach. Kelly, however, improved to 2-0 in bowl games at Cincinnati after joining the Bearcats prior to last season's International Bowl win over Western Michigan.
Over-all, Cincinnati has won three straight bowl games and its postseason record stands above .500 (5-4) for the first time in school history.
Southern Miss is 8-10 in bowl games.
Southern Miss struck first in the contest and held a 7-0 lead until Mauk's first touchdown pass tied the game at 7-apiece with 6:12 left in the second quarter. Mauk's second TD throw came with only 24 seconds left in the half to give Cincinnati a 14-7 advantage and a lead it would never relinquish.
The Bearcats outscored the Golden Eagles 17-7 in the third quarter to open their largest lead of the game at 31-14.