Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Purdue; Keys To The Game

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bearcats open the Tommy Tuberville era today at noon against Purdue. Much has been said about this game already. But here are the last minute keys to the game.

The Bearcats offensive line is the unquestioned strength of the team. Or at least it was before Dan Sprague went down to a season ending knee injury. Deyshawn Bond starting doesn't really change that, because this is still a ridiculously talented group. Sam Longo, Eric Lefeld, Austen Bujnoch are all on the radar with NFL scouts because they are damn good offensive linemen. The thing to watch with Bond isn't how he holds up physically, but how he handles the mental aspect of the game. Offensive line is the most complicated position to play other than quarterback, and the center is generally responsible for making the line calls. I have no idea how Bond will handle that aspect of the job, but having two experienced guards on either side of him should help.

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Ricardo Allen is one of the more talented corner backs that the Bearcats offense will face this season. With Anthony McClung still less than 100 percent it will be up to the guys on the outside to make plays. Chris Moore and Alex Chisum have a great deal of talent, but they still don't have the production to match it. Allen is a really gifted cover guy, the best that Purdue has. For the Bearcats offense to play as well as possible the Bearcats receivers are going to have to make a couple plays in coverage.

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The Bearcats defensive line is brand new. The only person slated to start against Purdue that has started a game before is Jordan Stepp. UC does not have anyone that is on the level of talent of Bruce Gaston, but they have more players that can contribute. Tommy Tuberville plans to play at least 10, and more likely 12 defensive linemen. They have to find some production from the position or the second level defenders could be hung out to dry.

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