We’ve had a night to sleep on the Cincinnati Bearcats’ 42-32 loss to the Navy Midshipmen in their American Athletic Conference opener. While a night of rest hasn’t washed away the disappointment of a loss entirely, it has given some clarity on the lessons to be taken from the game.
Cincinnati can’t defend the triple option
While not having Perry Young in the starting lineup during the first half certainly didn’t help, the Bearcats just had no answer for Navy’s offensive scheme. The Midshipmen gained positive yards on pretty much every play, running for 343 yards in the first half and 569 total. As that was happening, the Bearcats managed only two tackles for loss while allowing an average of 7.9 yards per carry. This is an area that needs to be addressed since UC will face a similar offense against Tulane on Nov. 4.
Hayden Moore can play a good game
One strong game isn’t going to make up for three bad ones, but Moore finally showed that he can carry the offense to great heights, orchestrating an effective game from under center. As the Bearcats set season-highs in points scored (32) and offensive yards (439), Moore threw for 381 yards and three touchdowns on 28-of-46 passing. He did fumble late in the game, but he didn’t get intercepted. If UC can get this Moore from now on, then the season still has hope.
Devin Gray is still on the team
During the first three weeks, UC’s leading receiver from a year ago was nearly invisible. Yesterday, he finally had the breakout game he needed to prove that UC’s receiver corps is deeper than just Kahlil Lewis and Thomas Geddis. A 46-yard touchdown pass from Moore in the first quarter propelled Gray to six receptions and 112 yards, more than doubling his output from the first three games combined.
Gerrid Doaks is pretty good but the run game needs work
With Mike Boone sidelined once again, Doaks was the No. 1 back for the offense and he ran hard, even if sometimes he was just hitting a brick wall once he got to the line of scrimmage. His touchdown run in the first half showed of his ability to break tackles and get to the edge and that’s at least something to hold onto while realizing the Bearcats averaged only 2.5 yards per carry.
Gerrid Doaks will be the best UC RB since Pead pic.twitter.com/S0ndpOEPzW— #CinCityPride (@TheCinCity) September 23, 2017
The tight end position is going to be utilized in this offense
As we imagined what a Mike Denbrock offense was going to look like, there was reason to believe the tight end post would be targeted more often. So far that has been true, especially compared to the Tommy Tuberville era. Tyler Cogswell caught five passes for 45 yards and a touchdown against Navy and now has 10 receptions and two touchdowns this season. Cogswell had only two receptions for 42 yards last season and UC tight ends had 10 catches for 133 yards all together.