On Saturday, the 2019 college football season officially begins! There are two games as part of “week zero” featuring Miami vs Florida and Hawaii vs Arizona.
The Bearcats have history with three of those four opponents.
Miami has won 11 out of 13 all-time meetings with the Bearcats, but most recently they played a home-and-home series in 2014 and 2015. Bearcats lost in Miami in 2014, getting blown out 55-34. QB Gunner Kiel threw 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions and current NFL players RB Duke Johnson (10 carries, 162 yards, TD) and WR Philip Dorsett (3 catches, 143 yards, 2 TD) dominated for Miami.
In 2015, Hayden Moore made his first career start against Miami. This came a couple of weeks after the epic Memphis game where he came in for relief of Kiel and threw for a school record 556 yards in a loss. The Bearcats beat Miami 34-23 and students rushed the field, celebrating, what would turn out to be, the only big win and moment, in the Tommy Tuberville era. Moore threw a pair of touchdown passes (1 to Mekale McKay and 1 to Tyler Cogswell) and RB Tion Green ran for 90 yards.
2019 is the 10 year anniversary of the Bearcats going 12-0 in the regular season. That season ended with a loss to Florida in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day. Florida was coached by Urban Meyer and led by QB Tim Tebow, in what was the final games for both men in Gainseville. Florida won 51-24 in a game that got out of hand fairly quickly. Tony Pike did throw 3 TD passes, but they came too late. Florida led 30-3 at halftime, with a 21 point flurry in the second quarter.
These teams met one other time, in Florida in 1964, a game the Gators won 48-17.
Hawaii hosts Arizona in the second game on Saturday. Bearcats have made 3 trips to Honolulu, with two being to face Hawaii. Most recently, they played in 2008 in what was the final regular season game for the Bearcats. NCAA rules stipulate if you play at Hawaii you can be entitled to a 13th game, which is what Cincinnati took advantage of, playing this game after they had already clinched the Big East championship and a spot in the Orange Bowl.
Despite of odd placement of the game, Bearcats managed to overcome a large deficit and win 29-24. Down 24-10, Cincinnati scored 19 straight points in the 4th quarter, culminated by a 69 yard Mardy Gilyard touchdown to give the Bearcats their school record 11th win of the season.
Most recently, Cincinnati traveled to the islands to play in the Hawaii Bowl in 2015 against San Diego State. Hayden Moore threw 3 interceptions. The game was a disaster in every way as the Bearcats lost 42-7.
Hawaii’s week zero opponent, Arizona, has never faced Cincinnati in football.