After a week off, the Cincinnati Bearcats are back to play some football. It is important football as well, as any loss from here on out officially kicks UC out of bowl contention. That’s too bad because with a game against an improving Tulane Green Wave team on the docket, the Bearcats are in for a major challenge in New Orleans this weekend.
I know I have grown impatient waiting for UC football to come back, even if the season hasn’t gone swimmingly. If you, like me, just want it to be Saturday already, why don’t you jump in the ol’ simulation time machine so we can see what to expect.
Before we get started, here is the disclaimer. The simulation site used (WhatIfSports.com) has not updated to include 2017 football rosters. However, with some slight tweaks, we can at least form a facsimile of the makeup of the Bearcats and the Green Wave. We can also adjust the weather, which calls for clear skies with temperatures in the low 80s on Saturday afternoon in New Orleans according to AccuWeather.com. Here are the results of five simulations.
Cincinnati 27 Tulane 13
Gerrid Doaks is impossible to stop, racking up 200 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Mike Boone helps the cause as well, scoring twice in the first half as the Bearcats take a 20-3 lead into the break. With Doaks and Boone at the height of their powers, UC builds on its rushing success against SMU and finishes with 278 yards on 53 carries. As the running game dominates, Hayden Moore just has to be a game manager, a role he was born to play. He completes 13-of-24 pass attempts for 167 yards and is not picked off once. Tulane is unable to match UC on the ground despite trying to do so, as it averages 2.8 yards per carry while running it 50 times.
Cincinnati 45 Tulane 41
How do you say shootout in French? Moore throws five touchdown passes, including two in the final seven minutes as the Bearcats rally to overcome a 41-27 deficit. Moore completes 19-of-30 passes for 340 yards, but is also picked off twice. Kahlil Lewis is his favorite target. What a surprise. Lewis finishes with 125 yards and two scores on five receptions. Boone (101 yards) and Tulane’s Dontrell Hilliard (115 yards) end up with similar yardage totals, but the Green Wave’s feature back gets into the end zone three times. With Hilliard at the forefront, Tulane runs well, picking up 204 yards, but the aerial attack from the Bearcats wins out.
Tulane 23 Cincinnati 20
A last ditch effort in the fourth quarter comes up short. The Bearcats score 17 points in the final period, but that doesn’t make up for a 20-3 deficit at halftime. Moore throws for 309 yards on 23-of-38 passing, but has just one touchdown pass (a 63-yarder to Thomas Geddis in the final minute) and is intercepted once. The Bearcats snag two picks as well, one of which is returned 27 yards for a touchdown by Grant Coleman with 10:42 left in the fourth quarter. Tulane keys in on the UC running game and holds it to less than 100 yards, while Moore is sacked three times.
Cincinnati 30 Tulane 7
Utter domination from start to finish. The Bearcats drop 251 rushing yards on Tulane’s head, with Doaks (120 yards, TD), Boone (73 yards, TD) and Michael Warren (46 yards) all contributing. The Green Wave’s lone score comes on a 48-yard rush from Hilliard late in the fourth quarter, as the Green Wave manage only 265 yards of total offense, while completing 7-of-29 pass attempts. Jaylyin Minor has two of the Bearcats’ four sacks and the run game saves a iffy effort from Moore (11-of-26, 198 yards, TD).
Tulane 24 Cincinnati 16
A field goal party breaks out in the first half before Tulane puts the game away with two rushing scores after intermission. Hilliard is the star of the game, rushing for 153 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. He out gains all Bearcat running backs by an incredibly large margin, as UC has only 11 rushing yards. At least Lewis plays well, tallying 100 yards and a touchdown on three receptions.
This game will hinge on whichever team runs the ball better, according to our simulation experiment. If that’s true, UC may be in trouble since Tulane is clearly the superior rushing squad.