That was a heck of a game under the Thursday night lights at Nippert Stadium. I don’t think we should ever wear all white ever again. All it does is remind me of the Sugar Bowl beatdown. But I’m not here to talk about bad memories. Let’s talk about that performance last night.
Give Me Some Moore
What more can we really say about this guy? He showed a lot of poise last night against a good Hurricane defense. Even when Miami’s starting safeties came back in the second half, Moore was still picking their defense apart. One thing I really love about Moore is that he tries to make the easy throw to the open guy. Besides that interception where he stared down his receiver, I can’t think of a moment when he just blindly threw it into double or triple coverage. The biggest problem was that he held on to the ball way too long in the pocket in the second half. He has to get rid of the ball faster, but this can be remedied.Oct 1, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Hayden Moore (8) throws a pass in the first half against the Miami Hurricanes at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
I know the coaching staff said there will be a QB competition, but I really hope that it’s a fair one because Moore is playing like a starter. Gunner has to throw the short open passes in the flat when they are there. Too many times, he throws the ball into coverage and it results in a turnover. Also, can you remember the last time that Gunner got out of the pocket and just threw it away because no one was open? I know I can’t. Still, I believe Gunner can lead this team just like Hayden Moore has but now, he has to prove it.
Defense: Tale of Two Halves
Frustration doesn’t describe my demeanor in the first half. Down after down, I saw our defensive line get smushed on run plays. However, towards the end of the first half, they showed signs of life in the forms of Alex Pace and Sione Tongamoa. These two continued their onslaught in the second half as they both pushed the Miami O-line into the backfield as a result of more stunts and blitzes.Oct 1, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Miami Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya (15) throws a pass while under pressure from Cincinnati Bearcats defensive tackle Alex Pace (99) in the second half at Nippert Stadium. The Bearcats won 34-23. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Not all of it was good though. The secondary REFUSES TO TURN THEIR HEADS ON DEEP PASSES. I don’t know how many passes could have been adequately contested if their heads just turned. Linden Stephens is a problem at cornerback that needs a solution (move to safety maybe?). I only saw a little bit of Alex Thomas, but what I saw was not very good. Tyrell Gilbert did an excellent job last night. I saw him all over the field and he made plays including the 4th down PBU in the end zone on Miami’s last possession. Mike Tyson and Leviticus Payne played fantastically at the nickelback position. Also, I did not see J.J. Pinckney on the field which surprises me greatly. A lot of people talked about how well he was doing in camp but evidently it wasn’t good enough.
Outmanned but not Outgunned
No Johnny Holton, Chris Moore, Andre Jones, Mike Boone, no problem! Considering how many of our weapons were out, I am surprised that we controlled tempo as well as we did. Also, Mekale Mckay, Max Morrison, and Shaq Washington all played phenomenally. Even Tyler Cogswell got in on the party with his vital touchdown reception late in the fourth quarter.
Tion Green and Hosey Williams played with a lot of determination and heart on Thursday night and their performances were felt for all 60 minutes. From Hosey’s first touchdown where he bursted through the line of scrimmage to Tion’s game sealing runs at the end of the game, both of these guys are a big reason why we won.Oct 1, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Hayden Moore (left) hands the ball off to running back Tion Green (7) in the second half against the Miami Hurricanes at Nippert Stadium. The Bearcats won 34-23. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Shaq’s 69-yard punt return was obviously a big part of the fast start for Cincinnati. Geraci was ok. He had a really bad punt that the defense had to make up for. The star of special teams was Andrew Gantz again. The guy just goes about his business making field goal after field goal and his 51-yarder last night could have been good from beyond 60. He will definitely play on Sundays eventually.
Last, but not least, I’m perfectly ok with the students storming the field after the game was over. It was Thursday night and we got a win over a name brand opponent after struggling mightily the week before.