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Season in Review: Hayden Moore

For better or worse, Moore was the man under center for the Bearcats in 2017.

NCAA Football: Connecticut at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Numbers

  • 56.4 completion percentage (239 for 424)
  • 2,562 yards passing
  • 6.0 adjusted passing yards per attempt
  • 118.4 QB rating
  • 20 touchdowns
  • 9 interceptions
  • 312 rushing yards
  • 4 touchdowns

Here’s the thing. Hayden Moore isn’t a bad quarterback. He really isn’t. Even if there haven’t been a ton of glowing words for him on this site (or many others), its not as if he was dreadful this past season. We just got spoiled by guys like Gunner Kiel, Brendon Kay, Zach Collaros and Tony Pike over the last decade. Sure there have been off years as well, but for the last two, Moore has been the starter and its been OK. Not great. Not even good. Just OK.

Moore started all 12 games for the 4-8 Cincinnati Bearcats, carrying the torch for the first year of the Luke Fickell/Mike Denbrock offense. He set career-highs all over the place, including in completions (239), attempts (424), passing yards (2,562) and touchdowns (20). However, this was a classic example of a decent player putting up big numbers on a bad team because somebody had to. While compiling those numbers, he also completed a career-low 56.4 percent of his passes while setting another career-low in quarterback rating (118.4). Among the quarterbacks in the American Athletic Conference who qualified, Moore ranked second to last in QB rating, beating out only UConn’s David Pindell.

Along with his struggles with completing passes consistently, Moore also didn’t complete passes down field enough. He averaged just six yards per attempt and, when his solid touchdown-to-interception ratio (20:9) is brought in to compute his adjusted yards per attempt ... it is also just six yards. For comparison’s sake, in 2015, Kiel produced numbers of 8.8 and 8.4 in those categories, respectively.

One area where Moore did progress was in making moves on his own, as he rushed for a career-high 312 yards and four touchdowns. His 3.4 yards per carry was diluted by taking sacks, but it was still far superior to last year’s mark (0.8).

The Best of the Best

Sept. 23 at Navy

While completing 60.9 percent of his pass attempts, Moore threw a season-high 381 yards and three touchdowns. It marked the only time in 2017 he would eclipse 300 yards and the fourth time he’s done so in his career.

Oct. 21 vs. SMU

This was not the best passing game of the year, but Moore rushed for 52 yards and accounted for three total touchdowns while finishing with 189 yards on 22-of-35 passing.

Nov. 11 4 at Tulane

While he only had one touchdown pass in this surprising victory, Moore completed 18-of-27 pass attempts for 248 yards and finished with a season-high QB rating of 156. He also rushed for 39 yards.

For Next Year

Moore should be the starting quarterback next season, his senior year. Ross Trail hasn’t been able to push past him yet and even with some incoming challengers (paging Ben Bryant), Moore will be given every chance to lead the offense once again. If he is going to ride off into the sunset and not just fade away, he needs to do a number of things. First, he’ll have to connect on more passes and, secondly, he’ll need to take more shots down field. Improved play around him and a better understanding of a new scheme should help, but its up to Moore to make it all come together.