Category: Cincinnati Bearcats

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 1: Shaq Washington #19 of the Cincinnati Bearcats returns a punt 69 yards to set up a touchdown in the first quarter against the Miami Hurricanes at Nippert Stadium on October 1, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Bearcats crank up the heat on Al Golden’s Hurricane seat


Let the #FireAlGolden banner fest commence in earnest.

Beginning the day with such a sign flying high overhead in enemy territory, Al Golden‘s Miami Hurricanes did nothing but give the head coach’s detractors a cornucopia of ammunition, looking embarrassingly outclassed in a 34-23 loss to Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium.  The offensive play calls, particularly in the second half, were head-scratching; the defense was unable to get stops when it’s flailing offense needed it; and the flailing offense could do nothing in the second half against a UC defense that was shredded by Memphis just seven days ago.

It was a bad look all around for a Miami team that, despite entering 3-0, exits it feeling — and even looking — like it’s a 1-3 squad instead of the 3-1 team its record says it is ahead of a huge matchup with Florida State.

Trailing just 27-20 coming out of the half, UM’s defense held UC’s offense scoreless for the first 24 minutes or so of the second half.  The only problem, though, was the Bearcats’ defense limited the Hurricanes’ offense to a mere field goal in that same span.

Up 27-23 in the middle of the fourth, Hayden Moore connected with Tyler Cogswell from to push UC’s lead out to 34-24 with 6:54 remaining.  The ‘Canes moved inside the 10-yard line on the ensuing drive, but four Brad Kaaya pass attempts fell incomplete to hand the ball back to the Bearcats with just over four minutes remaining.  That would be the last time the Hurricanes would see the ball as the Bearcats were able to move down the field and drain the remainder of the clock.

So, where do the ‘Canes go from here?  Physically, they’ll travel to Tallahassee to face unbeaten FSU next Saturday.  Mentally, especially after nearly blowing a huge lead against Nebraska last week and with the speculation swirling around Golden’s job status once again, this is a team that is, as has been the case the past couple of years, on the verge of unraveling.

The scheduling gods did them no favors either.  After facing FSU, they’ll go back-to-back-to-back against teams in which they’ll likely be underdogs: Virginia Tech, No. 12 Clemson and at Duke.  The U is a program that’s teetering on the precipice, and if it tumbles in the ensuing weeks it’ll take Golden and his tenure with it.

For Cincinnati, this win was absolutely crucial for any outside hopes it still entertained for the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six bid after splitting its first four games.  At 3-2 it’ll still be an uphill climb to get that prime bowl slot, but the Bearcats are in a heck of a lot better place than if they had dropped a game in which they were underdogs.

Hurricanes weather early storm, but still trail Bearcats at the half

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 11: Head coach Al Golden of the Miami Hurricanes directs the team during first quarter action against the Cincinnati Bearcats on October 11, 2014 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Miami’s first game on the road in 2015 was preceded by something that’s become very familiar throughout the first part of the season…

… and then began like the #FireAlGolden banner flyers would have additional ammunition in their quest.  While that still may be the case, Golden’s troops aren’t seemingly in the mood to hand it to the detractors on a silver platter — unless the last two minutes of the half portends impending defensive doom.

Down double-digits early on, Miami bounced back to take a 20-17 lead early in the second quarter.  Late in the half, however, a Hayden Moore one-yard touchdown sneak put the Bearcats up 24-20. A field goal with no time left on the clock gave UC a 27-20 halftime lead.

After the Hurricanes’ opening drive was capped by a field goal and a 3-0 lead, the Bearcats looked like they were going to put the visitors away early.  Four plays after the ensuing drive commenced, Hosey Williams ended it with a 29-yard touchdown run that featured ridiculous defense in general and horrific tackling specifically as the back should’ve been stopped for a loss. A little less than a minute later, Moore, replacing the concussed Gunner Kiel at quarterback, hit Mekale McKay from 11 yards out for a 14-3 lead with 9:02 left in the first.

10 straight points to end the quarter, however, pulled the Canes back to within one at 14-13. An Andrew Gantz field goal from 51 yards that seemingly would’ve been good from 71 extended the lead to 17-13, but Joseph Yearby‘s eight-yard touchdown run gave the ‘Canes their first lead since early in the first quarter at 20-17.

Cincinnati has rolled up 300 yards of offense to Miami’s 240. After throwing for a school-record 557 yards in his last Thursday night effort, Moore has been “held” to “just” 207. Yearby leads all rushers with 67 yards on just eight carries.

Cincinnati will get the ball first to start the second half.

Cincinnati QB Gunner Kiel out Thursday night vs. Miami

Gunner Kiel
AP Photo

Those of us who watched last Thursday’s game between Cincinnati and Memphis saw an absolute barnburner. We also saw one of the scariest scenes of this young season, as Bearcats quarterback Gunner Kiel took a hit that bounced his head off the Liberty Bowl turf. He remained on the floor for some time, and then was taken away in an ambulance.

On Tuesday, Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville revealed Kiel will not play in Thursday night’s date with Miami.

Tuberville said the decision is as much practical as it is precautionary. Hayden Moore played well in Kiel’s stead, completing 31-of-53 throws for 557 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions.

“Everything this week is built around Hayden now,”Tuberville told the Associated Press. “It would be a different offense if it was Gunner.”

Still, Tuberville insisted Kiel’s position will be available for him upon his return.

“Gunner will not lose his position because of injury,” Tuberville said. “Gunner is the best quarterback we have right now. When he comes back, he’ll be the quarterback.”

Cincinnati (2-2) expects a record crowd when Miami (3-0) rolls into the renovated Nippert Stadium Thursday.