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Grading the Offense: Week Six

Hayden Moore was good in a number of ways and Kahlil Lewis was dominant, but the rest of the offense had some issues.

Central Florida v Cincinnati Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

It’s too bad that the Cincinnati Bearcats only got to play three quarters of football against the UCF Knights this past weekend. No, not because an extra 15 minutes would have led to a dramatic comeback, but because that additional time would have provided for more offensive snaps on a night when UC moved the ball fairly well. With 391 yards, the Bearcats had their second-highest total for a single game this season, falling just short of the 439 they had against Navy.

Even though there are only those three quarters and 391 yards to dissect, we’ve still got enough to work with and evaluate. Let’s get to it.

Quarterback

The Good: Once again, Moore spread the ball around, hitting numerous receivers. In fact, he completed at least one pass to 10 different pass catchers, mixing in running backs, wideouts and tight ends. He also threw for a respectable 278 yards, which looks even better considering it came over three quarters rather than four. Should the game have not been called early, there’s no question that Moore would have recorded his second game of more than 300 yards this season.

On top of the passing, Moore pulled a new trick out and ran the ball effectively. He rushed for 75 yards, which was easily a season-high, and also scored twice on the ground. Considering he had a total of 58 yards before the game, its unlikely that this will be a continued tool on his utility belt, but knowing its there could keep some defenses honest.

The Bad: Despite some electric plays with his legs and strong yardage through the air, Moore failed to complete passes at an overly elevated rate, connecting on 23-of-40 attempts. That certainly isn’t terrible, but its not great either. In addition, he was intercepted once, making for five in the first six games. With those small grievances addressed, its clear that Moore really had one of his better games of the season.

Final Grade: B-

Running Backs

The Good: As a team, the Bearcats rushed for 113 yards and averaged a respectable 4.3 yards per carry. Michael Warren didn’t get many rushing opportunities but he was second on the team in all-purpose yards thanks to his work on kickoff returns. Mike Boone also contributed both on the ground (23) and through the air (39), ranking second on the team in receptions.

The Bad: The actual running part of the position title was largely ignored. Boone needed eight carries to get those 23 rushing yards, making for a miserable 2.9 yards per carry average. Gerrid Doaks was only marginally better (3.2 YPC), while the bulk of the rushing production came from Moore.

Final Grade: D

Wide Receivers

The Good: Kahlil Lewis. He seems to have moved into this section permanently, as he has been the most consistently productive (and targeted) receiver on the team. He had seven receptions for 89 yards against UCF, more than doubling the production of UC’s second-best receiver for the game.

The Bad: While multiple receivers contributed, nobody besides Lewis was reliable for all 45 minutes of the shortened game. Thomas Geddis caught two passes for 38 yards and Devin Gray took a large step backward with 28 yards on only two grabs.

Final Grade: D

Offensive Line

The Good: Moore was sacked only once and was under considerably less pressure than last year’s run-in with the Knights.

The Bad: Obviously the run game didn’t get much support, and two false starts on the opening drive started off a bit of a trend for the game, with the Bearcats called for four such infractions on the day, including two from starting center David Niehaus.

Final Grade: C-

Overall

Thanks to Moore, the offense didn’t do too badly. Now that’s a sentence I didn’t think I’d write this season but its one I’d like to see more of. With Moore leading the charge, the Bearcats dominated time of possession and also did something they haven’t done much this year, showing surprising effectiveness on third down (9-of-15). However, although Moore ran and threw the Bearcats down field often, the offensive line work was still not ideal, especially considering the difficulty the running backs had and the seven tackles for loss recorded by the Knights. For once, Moore wasn’t the biggest problem, he wasn’t a problem at all. But the fact that there was a “biggest problem” was enough to sour the overall effort.

Final Grade: C