If you tuned into a Cincinnati Bearcats game for the first time this year over the weekend, you would have never believed that this same offense had a touchdown drought that lasted nearly 14 quarters, a streak broken just one week earlier. UC produced a season-high 534 yards of total offense and came a point shy of matching its high-water mark for points scored (37).
Despite all of that coming in a losing effort to the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, Cincinnati sent off its seniors with a game to be proud of on the offensive side of the ball.
The Good: Hayden Moore got the Bearcats off to one of their hottest starts of a disappointing 2016 season. Cincinnati scored two quick touchdowns in the first quarter, one a pass from Moore to Thomas Geddis which was followed up by a touchdown pass from Tyler Cogswell to Moore himself. Yes, you read that right. Moore finished with 371 and three touchdown passes, while showing leadership and confidence on the field that has been missing for the majority of the season.
The Bad: Despite a hot start, Moore struggled in the middle quarters and finished with a completion percentage just over 50%. This resulted in an extremely poor quarterback rating of just 77.3.
Final Grade: B-
The Good: Seniors Tion Green and Deionte Buckley shared the backfield (14 and eight carrie, respectively). Both showed off some down hill running ability, posting a combined 97 yards and averaging just over four yards per carry.
The Bad: In a game as close as this one was, you need to be able to rely on your backs down the stretch to pick up key first downs and keep the ball moving. However, due to a lack of opportunities and production with the ball in their hands, the running backs and the rest of the Bearcats offense simply couldn't grind out a win on Friday.
Final Grade: D+
The Good: When your quarterback puts up the numbers that Moore had on Friday the night, the receivers are bound to be productive as well. The Bearcats had two receivers in triple digits, with Devin Gray and Geddis amassing 143 and 104 yards, respectively. The two also had a touchdown each. Jerron Rollins and Moore scored the Bearcats other two touchdowns through the air. Friday’s game was different than most of the season because of UC’s big play ability. The top four receivers on the night all averaged nearly 30 yards per reception, a truly mind boggling number helped by touchdown grabs of 82 and 70 yards by Gray and Geddis.
The Bad: Moore’s poor completion percentage cannot be placed solely on him, there were a few key drops and some miscommunication at crucial points throughout the game. No Bearcat receiver had more than five receptions.
Final Grade: B
The Good: The O-line absolutely stepped up after an embarrassing performance last week. The unit provided Hayden with time to put up the numbers that he did and created running lanes when Cincinnati decided to run the ball. Against Memphis, the Bearcats allowed four sacks. This week, they narrowed that number down to just one.
The Bad: As was the case with several other position on Friday, the offensive line sputtered at key points in the game. Despite only giving up one sack, the Bearcats allowed six tackles for loss, which would be a reason that the Bearcats went away from the running game.
Final Grade: C
There is no doubt that this was one of the best offensive performances put forth by the Bearcats this season. Moore threw the ball with confidence, the backs got some of the yards the team needed,the receivers made big plays and the offensive line gave the Bearcats the time to do everything listed above. However, the Bearcats’ downfall and probably a reason they aren’t a bowl caliber squad is their inability to play 60 minutes of football. If they came out and played like they did in the first quarter three more times, this article would have looked a lot different! Hopefully this is a problem the coaching staff (whoever that may be) can address during the offseason.
Final Grade: C+