Wait. I thought Troy Caupain destroyed Marshall?
I guess that was just in basketball.
Well as long as their football team is still around, the Thundering Herd have a game with the Cincinnati Bearcats this weekend. But it’s Wednesday and I don’t feel like waiting until Saturday to find out how the game will go. I bet you don’t want to wait either. So with that said, let’s just let our computer overlords show us the light.
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 Thundering Herd. We can also adjust the weather, which calls for clear skies and temperatures in the low 70s on Saturday night in Cincinnati according to AccuWeather.com. Here are the results of five simulations.
Marhsall 38 Cincinnati 24
I guess Marshall is out for revenge after losing in basketball. Keion Davis rushes for 133 yards and two touchdowns while Tyre Brady catches six passes for 101 yards. The play of those two parallels the balance on offense for the Herd, who get 145 yards on the ground and 245 through the air, rallying from a 24-21 deficit at the end of the third quarter to win by two touchdowns.
Tyler Cogswell once again is featured in the offense, catching a 56-yard touchdown pass while Hayden Moore only completes 19-of-37 pass attempts for 284 yards and as many scores as interceptions (two).
Cincinnati 38 Marshall 14
This one is over before halftime, with UC leading the entire way and taking a 38-0 lead into the fourth quarter. Moore builds off his breakout against Navy and throws for 360 yards and four touchdowns, while Kahlil Lewis (90 yards, touchdown) serves as the biggest playmaker. Moore also scores once on the ground and UC out gains Marshall 489-314. The most exciting thing to see is the defense improve against the run, holding the Herd to 52 yards or 1.3 per carry.
Cincinnati 45 Marshall 28
Moore redeems himself in a big way. An interception in the second quarter is returned 54 yards for a touchdown. The score puts Marshall up 28-20. From there, Moore goes wild, throwing two of his four touchdown passes after the pick, including a 79-yard scoring strike to Gray. Gerrid Doaks (78 yards, touchdown) and Michael Warren (69 yards, touchdown) share the backfield duties well in another week without Mike Boone. Marshall quarterback Chase Litton completes most of his passes (23-of-30) but only has one touchdown throw, but the Herd do score twice on the ground while Chris Jackson brings in two interceptions.
Cincinnati 33 Marshall 14
Another blowout for the Bearcats, who lead 33-6 before Marshall scores on a 14-yard run from Davis with six minutes to play in the game. Josh Pasley drills two field goals from 37 and 26 yards, but misses one from 46. However, that doesn’t matter with Moore hitting receivers all over the place, as he nets 325 yards and three scores. Devin Gray (six receptions, 87 yards, two TDs) and Lewis (five receptions, 87 yards, TD) are frequent recipients of Moore passes. UC also converts on 11-of-17 third down tries.
Cincinnati 17 Marshall 14
Warren comes up big in the clutch, scoring a game winning touchdown from five yards out midway through the fourth quarter. It’s the last score of the game, as Tyrell Gilbert collects one of his three interceptions on Marshall’s next possession. Despite a fumble from Doaks after that, the UC defense stands up, gets a stop and wins the game. The win is of the comeback variety as the Bearcats trail 13-3 late in the third quarter before Moore throws an eight-yard touchdown pass to Josiah Deguara. Gilbert is obviously the MVP, but Moore carries the offense with 343 passing yards.
All signs point to a UC win on Saturday.