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Grading the Offense: Week Nine

First half solid. Second half terrible.

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at Temple Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bearcats did not win their game against the Temple Owls this past Saturday. There is a lot of blame to go around for that shortcoming. UC was largely outclassed in every phase of the game and that includes on offense. When all was said and done, the Bearcats finished with 186 yards of total offense.

In the whole game.

There has been plenty of bellyaching about the UC offense this season, and justifiably so, but the game against Temple makes UC of the first seven games look like the 2007 New England Patriots.

Let’s hand out those grades by position group. Spoiler alert: This won’t be pretty.

Quarterback

The good: In his second start of the season, Gunner Kiel threw for 122 yards and two touchdowns and wasn’t intercepted at all in the first half.

The bad: In the second half, Kiel completed just 1-of-5 pass attempts for a loss of three yards. That wasn’t on just one bad drive. That was across the ENTIRETY of the second half. On top of that, Kiel lost a fumble in the first frame.He may have racked up the yardage against East Carolina but he was absolutely horrid, especially after halftime, against Temple.

Final grade: F

Running backs

The good: Tion Green averaged 4.2 yards per game and led the team in rushing...

The bad: ... with only 46 yards. Mike Boone was bottled up to the tune of 24 yards on nine carries and the Bearcats managed a meager 67 yards on the ground total.

Final grade: F

Wide receivers

The good: Nate Cole got back to work, catching five passes. It marked the sixth time this season he has had at least five receptions, which is tied for the team lead. Devin Gray caught two touchdown passes as well.

The bad: Cole only managed 32 yards on those five catches, and even though Gray scored twice, his 23 yards on four receptions was a marked drop from his usual pace of production. Meanwhile, Kahlil Lewis, fresh off his 11-catch, 150-yard, three-touchdown effort against ECU, was limited to 25 yards on two receptions. Lewis also was guilty of a holding penalty early in the third quarter, which erased a five-yard completion to Boone. Kiel never completed another pass for positive yardage the rest of the game.

Final grade: F

Offensive line

The good: Kiel was only sacked one time and Temple accumulated only four tackles for loss. Additionally, Idarius Ray’s holding penalty in the second quarter was the only infraction against the line.

The bad: Even if Temple didn’t bring Kiel down frequently, the Temple defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage and kept the running lanes for UC’s backs air-tight. In addition, Kiel was rarely ever able to let plays develop and that can’t be blamed all on bad play from the signal caller, the receivers or bad play calling from the sidelines.

Final grade: F

Overall

In the first half, UC managed to produce 180 yards and 13 points. A 10-play, 76-yard touchdown drive early in the second quarter made it appear that UC had the ability to sustain some drives and remain in contention. After all, the Bearcats were trailing just 17-13 at halftime.

But the wheels, axels, engine, doors and frame fell off after the break, leaving the Bearcats clinging to half a steering wheel as they tried to drive across the rough terrain of the Temple defense. They had the ball for a little more than five minutes in the second half and didn’t have a drive go any longer than five yards. They had only 10 first downs, and all of those came in the first 30 minutes. In all, they fell short of 20 minutes in terms of time of possession.

If you are not getting what all this means, its that the offense was absolutely dominated by Temple, making it clear that there is an absolute boatload of work to be done to turn this program, not just this team, around.

Final grade: F