Five In Five: Brendon Kay Not Getting The Fanfare He Deserves

(Courtesy Fox Sports Ohio)

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I guess I should be used to it by now being a Cincinnati Bearcat fan and all. The school’s football program simply doesn’t get the respect it has earned since winning conference championships four of the last five seasons and boasting at least 10-wins in five of the last six seasons. It is what it is and I’ve embraced the “us against the world” mentality by now. But for the first time in I don’t know how long, the Bearcats are being listed as high as 2nd in the conference*.

*Side note, preseason polls are idiotic. As Paul Dehner points outs, during the years that Cincinnati won Big East titles they were picked to finish 5th, 3rd, 5th, and 4th in the conference.

However, even though Cincinnati is getting the preseason respect it finally deserves, someone who isn’t getting a ton of praise to compliment the team’s ranking is quarterback Brendon Kay. He’s been an afterthought in most AAC previews with Teddy Bridgewater getting most of the attention.

Let me get this out of the way now. Teddy Bridgewater is a damn good quarterback and he’s absolutely well deserving of the Heisman hype that surrounds him. He carries himself with a maturity and poise that veterans in the NFL sometimes don’t even have. Plus his performance on the football field speaks for itself. Bridgewater paced the Big East last year with a 68.5% completion percentage, 27 passing touchdowns, and a 160.49 quarterback rating.

But when you evaluate them side by side, you’ll find that Brendon Kay and his counterpart down the river have put up equally impressive numbers. To create an apples to apples comparison, Kay’s stats are projected to a 13-game season to match Bridgewater’s.

High School
0Jeremiah DavisGMuncie, INHuntington Prep6'3"200 lbsJR
1Cashmere WrightGSavannah, GAUrban Christian Academy6'0"175 lbs
2Titus RublesFDallas, TXBlinn College6'7"220 lbsJUCO-SR
3Shaquille ThomasFPaterson, NJRIA Prep6'7"180 lbsRS-SO
5Justin JacksonFCocoa Beach, FLArlington Country Day6'8"215 lbs
10Alex EppensteinerGCincinnati, OHElder6'3"205 lbs
13Cheikh MbodjiCDakar, SenegalGrayson County CC6'10"245 lbsJUCO-SR
14GeLawn GuynGGeorgetown, KYSouth Kent Prep6'1"175 lbsJR
15Jermaine SandersGFar Rockaway, NYRice6'5"225 lbsJR
23Sean KilpatrickGWhite Plains, NYNotre Dame Prep6'4"215 lbsRS-SR
24Kelvin GainesCOcala, FLArlington Country Day6'10"235 lbs
25Anthony McBrideGCincinnati, OHWithrow6'2"180 lbs
44JaQuon ParkerGSuffolk, VAKing's Fork6'3"200 lbs
**Brendon Kay’s stats are projected from when he took over the full-time starting job midway through the Syracuse game. His numbers in garbage time earlier in the season were not taken into account here.

Bridgewater exceeds Kay in passing yards but he made up much of the difference on the ground because the quarterback was a far more integral parting of the running game in Butch Jones/Mike Bajakian’s offense. And while Bridgewater also bests Kay in completion percentage and passing touchdowns, Kay has the edge in yards per completion, meaning he was more efficient stretching the field, and threw less interceptions.

You can make the argument for either quarterback in any specific area but the point is that overall they are very, very similar.

Plus Cincinnati’s quarterback got better and better and better as the season went on. It was clear Syracuse and Temple didn’t know what hit them with Kay taking snaps. They had likely spend weeks preparing for Legaux beating them with his legs and were unprepared to stop the new quarterback’s active arm. But Rutgers wasn’t caught off guard and it was clear in that game that this was Kay’s second career college start. He did a nice job between the 20′s but couldn’t get UC into the endzone and threw two picks. After that day, the now established Bearcat starting quarterback improved in every department each game, culminating in a 332 yard, four touchdown performance in the Belk Bowl against the Duke Blue Devils.

Yet it’s Bridgewater who has garnered the boatload of attention of the AAC quarterbacks heading into Fall. And rightfully so but the fact Kay is barely mentioned doesn’t make sense. UC’s quarterback is flying under the radar. The silver lining is that this just gives him more of an opportunity to prove some doubters wrong, which has become a Bearcat tradition of late.

It’s difficult to predict how both signal callers will perform over the course of the season but one thing’s for sure, Kay v. Bridgewater is going to be one of the many storylines heading into the Keg of Nails game on December 5th.

Tags: Brendon Kay Louisville Cardinals Teddy Bridgewater

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