Bearcats sophomore quarterback Evan Prater will make his second career start under center in the Fenway Bowl on Saturday, which likely means a heavy ground attack against Louisville.
Cincinnati had a balanced offense for most of the season but had to rely on the run even more after starting quarterback Ben Bryant suffered a season-ending foot injury last month.
I’m expecting Kerry Coombs and the staff to focus on establishing the ground game behind senior running back duo Charles McClelland and Ryan Montgomery, plus Prater’s dynamic ability to run.
In his only career start against Tulane last month, the Bearcats totaled 43 rushes compared to just 26 passing attempts so I’m predicting a similar game plan against Louisville this weekend.
Cincinnati Football: Expect a heavy rushing attack for the Bearcats against Louisville
Prater will look to create an edge on the outside and has elite speed to pull away from defenders, alongside a trio of running backs that have combined for 1,455 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns.
With the top six leading receivers on the team set to miss the Fenway Bowl, Cincinnati should have four running backs available so it makes sense to lean on the run, especially early on.
Defensively, I could see the interim coaching staff trying something new but it seems more likely they will continue playing three down lineman and five defensive backs like it’s been all season.
Cincinnati won’t have several starters available so it will be a good opportunity for the underclassmen to take on a talented opponent as the storied rivalry resumes at in Boston.
Cincinnati Football: Fenway Bowl preview, odds, predictions against Louisville
The Bearcats are just a few days away from facing Louisville in the Fenway Bowl on Saturday in Boston. Get ready for the matchup with our bowl preview including odds and predictions!
Both teams are in flux with interim coaching staffs, multiple opt-outs and several transfers in the portal but a win in the bowl game would create plenty of momentum heading into a new era next season.
Despite finishing the season with a worse record, the Cardinals are currently 1-point favorites over the Bearcats with the over/under projected at 41.5 total points according to WynnBET.