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Grading the Offense: Week Seven

Offense is about scoring touchdowns. The Bearcats did not do that.

Cincinnati v South Florida Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images

There’s a little nugget making the rounds today. It’s a quote from Butch Jones. You all remember, Jones, right? He used to coach the Cincinnati Bearcats and now he’s coaching the Tennessee Volunteers. Well, the Volunteers are having a tough time of late, and over the weekend lost a game 15-9 to South Carolina. Here’s what Jones had to say about that.

I’m no football expert, I just play one on the internet, but scoring touchdowns would seem to be the most important part of the game. In fact, if you are doing everything to win a game, a touchdown (or even two!) should probably come your way.

Well, I’m not here just to pile on Jones, but to talk about the Bearcats’ offensive performance against the USF Bulls this past Saturday. UC certainly didn’t do everything to win that game, including scoring touchdowns. That’s one reason the final score was 33-3. Here’s how each positional group contributed to a rather disheartening performance.


The Good: You’ll notice that this section is in the plural form for the first time this season. That’s because more than one QB got on the field. That’s not really a good thing, but it could be in the long term. Ross Trail made his first appearance of the season, coming in to run the show in the fourth quarter. The former four-star recruit didn’t change things up too much, but he showed that Luke Fickell is willing to try someone new.

The Bad: For Trail to be put in, Hayden Moore had to play pretty poorly. He completed 16-of-28 pass attempts, but managed only 147 yards and, unlike last week, he didn’t make plays with his legs to cover things up. His interception at the end of the first half was also a big check in the negative column, and that was before he lost a fumble at the end of the third quarter. Trail was OK in relief, throwing for 31 yards on 5-of-9 passing, while moving around in the pocket and beyond. He’ll need to be better since Moore may be out this week with an elbow issue.

Final Grade: D

Running Backs

The Good: We are continuing to get a glimpse of what the backfield will look like for the next few years. Both Gerrid Doaks and Michael Warren have gotten plenty of chances and done some nice things. Both averaged more than six yards per carry against the Bulls. Warren tallied 47 yards on six carries, while Doaks registered 37 yards on his six attempts. Taylor Boose and Jaelen Greene got a few reps as well.

The Bad: I think it’s time we finally face the fact that Mike Boone is never going to be the player he was early in his career. The senior had zero yards on five carries against the Bulls and he has been hampered by lingering injury issues all season. At least he was able to turn his two receptions into 30 yards. With Boone struggling again, plus the difficulties Trail and Moore had with running the ball, the Bearcats averaged a pitiful 2.9 yards per carry.

Final Grade: C-

Wide Receivers

The Good: Can someone please help Kahlil Lewis out? I’m begging here. While he didn’t have tons of yards (35), Lewis hauled in six receptions. Tight ends Tyler Cogswell and Josiah Deguara each had three to tie for the second-most on the team.

The Bad: Where should I start? It’s tough to get a full picture of how good (or bad) the receiver group for the Bearcats is because of poor QB play, but if Devin Gray is only getting one reception, then something is amiss on the pass-catching end.

Final Grade: F

Offensive Line

The Good: Warren and Doaks were both able to run the ball without taking a single negative yard.

The Bad: This was a pretty brutal game from the guys up front. The Bearcats allowed a total of three sacks and combined losses of 42 yards against the team’s rushing total. That’s why UC averaged less than three yards per rushing attempt. Three false start penalties didn’t help matters either.

Final Grade: F


With third down problems rearing their ugly heads once more, Cincinnati did not sustain drives, amass yards or score touchdowns. The Bearcats finished with only 273 yards of total offense. That’s less yardage than James Smith punted for (293).

Final Grade: F