With a 2-1 record and a somewhat respectable effort against Michigan to their name, the Cincinnati Bearcats have more than a Victory Bell on their resume right now. However, if you look deeper than just the record, you’ll know there are still some glaring issues. While the amazing comeback they pulled off against Miami-Ohio on Saturday was fun, lost in the celebration was the fact that UC had scored a grand total of three points before the fourth quarter.
With that written, its time for the weekly check in with the offense. Spoiler alert: things still weren’t very good.
The Good: In the second half, Hayden Moore began to sling the ball effectively, leaning on Kahlil Lewis quite a bit. He threw for less than 50 yards in the first half but ended up with 222 yards on 24-of-43 passing, while hooking up with Lewis for a 20-yard touchdown pass with just under three minutes to play.
The Bad: Even though he eventually found his footing, Moore continued to have trouble getting into much of a rhythm. His 24-of-43 passing efficiency wasn’t exactly fantastic and he once again fell victim to the radioactive spider bite that has given him the power to throw interceptions at an elevated level, as he was picked off twice, marking for his third and fourth in three games.
Final Grade: D+
The Good: Gerrid Doaks can run with the ball a little bit and so can Michael Warren. Doaks rushed for a team-high 71 yards on 17 carries and also caught two passes for 25 yards. Warren ran well (nine attempts for 51 yards) and broke off a 24-yard scamper while leading the team in all-purpose yards (119).
The Bad: Doaks and Warren were both pressed into service because starting running back Mike Boone was held out with an ankle injury. While both backups looked pretty good, losing Boone could be a death knell for an offense that is already holding on by the flimsiest of threads.
Final Grade: B
The Good: Lewis’ star is rising and rising fast, as few receivers on the team are getting as many looks as the junior wideout. Along with his fourth-quarter touchdown, Lewis added seven receptions and 83 yards. Thomas Geddis is establishing himself as a critical part of the passing game as well, as he had five catches for 52 yards.
The Bad: There were a number of dropped passes, which hurt Moore’s final line but, more importantly, messed up the momentum of the offense. Lewis was guilty of one as was Devin Gray, who was so sure-handed a year ago, but has pulled a disappearing act in 2017.
Final Grade: C-
The Good: Moore had more time to throw than he did against Michigan and was only sacked once. Lanes were opened up somewhat well, as the Bearcats averaged 4.0 yards per carry.
The Bad: Miami still got in for four tackles for loss and David Niehaus and Garrett Campbell were each called for a false start penalty.
Final Grade: C
The defense won this game for Cincinnati, even if there was some better play at the quarterback position than in the first two weeks. However, Moore ruined his second half surge by starting slow and turning the ball over two more times. He led an offense that still only accumulated 361 total yards and scored one offensive touchdown in four red zone trips. Luckily, there was some more sustained drives, with the Bearcats going 8-for-19 on third down tries. Overall, its a few droplets of progress in a pool of mediocre to poor production.
Final Grade: D+