Austen Bujnoch and Sam Longo Out For The Belk Bowl

Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

Bujnoch has been battling an injury to his right foot for most of the year had surgery over the break and will not be suiting up against North Carolina. Likewise Sam Longo was injured in the Louisville game and had surgery as well. It goes with out saying, but this is a huge blow.

So where does that leave the Bearcats for today's game against North Carolina? Hard telling. Andre Cureton has been the co-starter at right guard with Longo is almost certainly going to draw the start at one of the guard spots. But there is no obvious candidate for the other

When Buj missed three starts late in the year it was Longo who stepped in and started in his usual left guard spot. That's obviously not an option. Thats the bad news, the good news is that the Bearcats have rotated a ton of offensive linemen through this year and have some depth. It wasn't uncommon to see 8 or 9 different offensive linemen play in a game. With so many interior guys moving on this year they had to do that to build depth, and they did just that.

All of which means that even down two all conference performers in Longo and Bujnoch the Bearcats won't be stepping into the unknown with two untested players at crucial positions. That being said there will obviously be some reshuffling that takes place. This is my best guess for how the starters shake out.

Its not ideal from a continuity standpoint with three guys playing in new spots, or in Keebler's case a relatively new spot. But these guys are the only linemen left who have appeared in every game this season. Cureton at left guard will require some adjustment on his part coming from his usual right guard spot, but the difference between right and left guard is much smaller than it is between left and right tackle.

Parker Ehinger drew his first career starts at right guard a year ago before shifting outside where, where he has remained and excelled since, so right guard isn't new for him. Keebler has been Lefeld's backup for most of the year, and he has played a lot of snaps this year, but this will be his first career start.

Being down Buj and Longo makes me sad, but with these five guys the Bearcats should be able to perform to their usual standards.

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