When you look at the standings, all you need to know is that the Cincinnati Bearcats defeated the Tulane Green Wave on Saturday. However, we know better. There is more to a win than the addition to your victory total. Some wins are better than others and some barely deserve to be called wins, but are because of a miracle missed field goal or something like that.
UC’s offense did not play a winning game against Tulane. Normally, scoring 17 points isn’t going to cut it. However, it was just enough (literally) for the Bearcats to come out on top 17-16. Some positional groups and players contributed more than others to a largely uneven performance.
The Good: Hayden Moore played a mistake-free game, which was all he had to do. He completed 18-of-27 pass attempts for 248 yards and a touchdown. That’s a pretty pedestrian final line, but when you add in the fact that he didn’t throw an interception or get sacked, you can see that he did more good than bad. Plus, he threw an absolute dime to Devin Gray for that lone touchdown pass.
The Bad: You can say I’m splitting hairs here, but this wasn’t a performance that deserves overwhelming praise. Just not making mistakes and hitting nearly 250 yards isn’t top level quarterback play. It’s competent and enough when the running game works, but it certainly doesn’t mean Moore has turned a corner.
Final Grade: C+
The Good: Gerrid Doaks is excellent. He rushed for 149 yards on only 17 carries and iced the game following Tulane’s missed field goal with a 57-yard scamper. The redshirt freshman has rushed for 240 yards on 26 carries over the last two weeks and is now clearly the top back among the trio of he, Mike Boone and Michael Warren. He leads the team with 500 yards on 83 carries. He just needs to get into the end zone more.
The Bad: The ascendancy of Doaks has corresponded with the downfall of Boone’s career. Boone rushed for only 20 yards against Tulane and earned six total carries. Sure, he was still a bigger part of the passing game, with a team-high four receptions for 34 yards (Doaks had two catches for 23 yards), but its clear that Boone is falling back on the depth chart. Michael Warren only got two carries and he made a negative impact with two special teams penalties.
Final Grade: A-
The Good: Gray got into the end zone for the third time this season, snatching the ball out of the air down the right sideline and scoring on a 39-yard connection with Moore. Thomas Geddis set a season-high 54 yards on three receptions, which pushed him up to 283 yards this season. JJ Pinckney caught only one pass, but it went for 40 yards.
The Bad: Geddis was the leading receiver, which isn’t great when he only caught three balls. Kahlil Lewis was extremely subdued, with only one catch for 12 yards. Lewis also got tagged with an illegal block penalty
Final Grade: D
The Good: Doaks may be great, but he couldn’t run for 149 yards all by himself. The team as a whole had 208 rushing yards. To get there, the offensive line did a good job of creating space for the backfield and also protected Moore very well, not allowing a single sack. In addition, Tulane only had five tackles for loss.
The Bad: There wasn’t a huge amount of penalties or problems. Aside from a holding and false start infractions on back-to-back plays in the third quarter, it was a clean sheet in that regard. However, those two penalties, one against Korey Cunningham and one against Garrett Campbell turned a second-and-four in Tulane territory into a second-and-19. But that was nullified as a 33-yard pass to Geddis set the Bearcats up in the red zone for a Boone touchdown.
Final Grade: A
Led by strong play from Doaks and the running game, the Bearcats actually outgained Tulane 456-328 in total yards. Other than the receivers, each positional group did pretty well at the very least, but all those pieces didn’t equate to a stunning offensive performance. UC still struggled on third down, going 4-for-11 in such circumstances, while failing to score on one of its three red zone trips. Getting points there would have made the final few minutes less stressful.
Final Grade: C