Tommy Tuberville officially announced who will start under center for the Cincinnati Bearcats during the 2016 season, naming redshirt sophomore Hayden Moore the starting quarterback. Moore beat out incumbent starter Gunner Kiel and redshirt freshman Ross Trail for the gig.
In 2015, Moore played in eight games and threw for 1,885 yards and nine touchdowns, as well as 11 interceptions, on 133-of-224 passing. He also posted an efficiency rate of 133.5. He threw for a season-high 557 yards and four touchdowns against Memphis, but never eclipsed the 300-yard mark the rest of the season, although he only started in three games total. The Bearcats went 1-2 in those contests.
Tuberville told GoBearcats.com that Moore was the Bearcats’ “most consistent quarterback” and “gives [the Bearcats] the best chance to win right now.” Tuberville also said that Kiel and Trail are still competing for the backup job.
While it is not surprising that Moore was chosen over Trail, who has yet to throw a pass at the college level, it is a bit surprising that Kiel was essentially benched after starting in 10 games a year ago. It obviously surprised some of you as well, as in a recent poll on DTD 70% of respondents said they would choose Kiel as the starter. Don’t feel too bad, as the folks who hand out the Maxwell Award were banking on Kiel as the starter as well, naming him to the award’s watch list earlier this summer. However, Kiel’s absence from the Hawaii Bowl and departure and eventual return to the team made it far from a certainty that he would retain his position on the depth chart.
The Bearcats open the 2016 campaign at Nippert Stadium on Thursday Sept. 1 against Tennessee-Martin.