Northwestern State at Cincinnati; Keys To The Game

Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bearcats will return to Nippert Stadium clad in black to take on Northwestern State off a disappointing loss to Illinois. This is a game the Bearcats should win, hence the 30 point line in Las Vegas. But there are still things to learn.

Get Pressure On The Passer

As Jeff Gentil pointed out the defensive line is officially a concern. They played well against Purdue, even though they only logged one sack, but the pressure was not really there against Nate Scheelhasse, not enough for him to feel it. Through two games the Bearcats have one sack. The shutout against Illinois was the fourth time in the last 7 games that UC has gone sackless. That is deeply uncharacteristic of how the Bearcats have played Football since the turn of the millennium.

Northwestern State is going to do a lot of the same things that Illinois did to slow down the pass rush. They will throw a lot of window dressing at the Bearcats to make identifying the ball hard. They will couple that with an extensive quick game to get the ball out of the hands of Zach Adkins before the pass rush can get home. But it has to get home. UC has a huge advantage up front, not just in terms of talent but depth as well. If they can't be disruptive in this game I will officially be worried.

Skill Position Shakeup

Tommy Tuberville promised some changes on the personnel front. But those changes aren't public, not yet. They will be on tonight. All that remains is figuring out where the moves are, and what kind of success UC has with them. I maintain that there is enough talent on the Bearcats to forge an effective offense, its just a matter of getting the pieces in the right places.

Change In Offensive Philosophy

The insertion of Brendon Kay into the lineup will change some aspects of the Bearcats offensive approach. I would expect them to employ more downhill runs for Hosey Williams and Tion Green (he of the recently broken/fixed nose). That should bring the play action passing game into effect for Brendon Kay, and by extension the Bearcats big play threats Chris Moore and Mekale McKay.

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