Cincinnati QB Hayden Moore makes strong case for backup spot behind Kiel in spring game

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Before Michigan got started with its spring game today in Ann Arbor, Cincinnati was already getting to work Saturday morning. The Bearcats were not on TV, so the offensive fireworks that were lacking in Michigan Stadium were not on display down south in Ohio. That is a shame, because Cincinnati’s spring game was all about the offense.

Gunner Kiel completed 18 of his 26 pass attempts for 221 yards and a touchdown. His backup, Hayden Moore seemed to grab a firm hold of the backup job after a nice showing in the spring game. Moore completed 22 of his 29 pass attempts for 391 yards and three touchdowns. Despite the better day in the box score, do not anticipate Kiel’s starting job to be in jeopardy after Moore’s impressive spring game.

Other offensive highlights included Chris Moore leading all players with 133 receiving yards on seven catches and Nate Cole making a push with 105 yards on nine receptions. Last season’s leading rusher, Mike Boone, led the ground game with 152 yards on 13 rushing attempts. Tion Green had a pair of touchdown runs and 96 rushing yards as well. It was a good day for the offenses, and not quite so much for the defenses. First team offense went against first team defense and second team units faced each other as well.

Cincinnati is still going through a renovation to Nippert Stadium, so the team moved the spring action over to Sheakley Athletics Center, where fans seemed to pack the limited seats pretty well. Nippert Stadium will be ready for the first game of the season when Cincinnati opens the schedule at home against Alabama A&M on September 5.

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UCF’s leading receiver Breshad Perriman entering NFL Draft

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The UCF Knights will need a new go-to receiver in 2015. Breshad Perriman has announced his decision to leave UCF a year early to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft. The school released a brief statement confirming and announcing the decision for Perriman to turn pro.

“I met with Breshad on Sunday. After discussing it with his family, he informed me he of his plans to enter the Draft,” UCF head coach George O’Leary said. “I wish him the best of luck and I hope everything works out for him.”

Perriman was fourth in the American Athletic Conference in 2014 with 1,044 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Perriman was just one of four receivers in the conference to record 1,000 receiving yards this season, and his average receiving yards per reception of 20.88 ypr were second most in the AAC behind Cincinnati’s Chris Moore (22.43 ypr).

Perriman is hoping to become UCF’s first wide receiver drafted by an NFL team since Mike Walker in the 2007 NFL Draft (Jacksonville Jaguars, third round). Last year’s draft saw former UCF teammate quarterback Blake Bortles drafted in the first round and running back Storm Johnson selected in the seventh round. Both Bortles and Johnson were drafted by the Jaguars.

With Beamer coaching Military Bowl from above, Hokies lead Cincy at half

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Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer is coaching the Hokies from the coaches box above the sidelines in the Military Bowl. After one half of play, he has seen some things he should like, and others he should not. Virginia Tech took a 13-10 lead into halftime following a 49-yard field goal by Joey Slye as the clock in the first half expired.

Cincinnati has more than double the offensive yards (308 to Virginia Tech’s 148), but a pair of interceptions by the Hokies defense kept things even on the scoreboard. Cincinnati and Virginia Tech were tied at 7-7 after the first quarter. Penalties hurt Cincinnati at times as well.

Gunner Kiel tossed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Chris Moore in the first quarter to give Cincinnati a 7-0 lead, capping a seven-play, 89-yard drive. The lead short-lived though, because the Hokies responded with a quick six-play, 64-yard touchdown drive. J.C. Colemann pushed the ball across the goal line to tie things up just about two minutes later.

Kiel has thrown for 234 yards and a touchdown, but he has been picked off twice. Chuck Clark and Kendall Fuller each have one interception for the Hokies. His Virginia Tech counterpart, Michael Brewer, has thrown for 75 yards and has been intercepted once. Brewer also caught a pass from Hokies receiver Isaiah Ford for a gain of 30 yards. For a while, Brewer was the team’s leading receiver and Ford was the leading passer for Virginia Tech.

Cincinnati battled to tie the game at 10-10 in the final minute of the half, but the ensuing kickoff was returned by Der’Woun Greene to around midfield, which allowed Virginian Tech a few plays to set up a last-second field goal. It was the second field goal from beyond 40 yards for Slye in the first half. He hit a 45-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

Big plays give Cincinnati Bearcats 31-20 edge over ECU Pirates at halftime

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The first half of the meeting between the East Carolina Pirates and Cincinnati Bearcats was a microcosm for the seasons both teams are having.

The Bears lead 31-20 through two quarters, but the game is far from settled. Just like the American Athletic Conference, this game could go down to the wire.

Both teams are approaching this game like they any other contest they played in recent weeks.

The Pirates sputtered at points. The Shane Carden-led offense was in the red zone four times before the Pirates finally found the end zone.

Despite the slow start, Carden finished the half 20-of-35 passing for 255 yards. But the Pirates can’t continue to come up short after they successfully move the football. Cincinnati is far too explosive on offense to trade field goals for touchdowns.

The Bearcats’ explosiveness on offense showed up during the team’s first drive of the game. Quarterback Gunner Kiel targeted junior wide receiver Mekale McCoy for a short screen. The 6-6 receiver picked his way through blockers, tiptoed down the sidelines and finally burst past the Pirates’ secondary for a 55-yard touchdown.

McCoy caught six passes for 116 yards.

With the Bearcats trailing 20-14 in the second quarter, Kiel connected with junior Chris Moore on a post for a 66-yard touchdown pass.

But Cincinnati’s downfall all season has been its inability to stop opposing offenses. The Pirates already amassed 333 yards of offense compared to the Bearcats’ 393.

These two teams should continue their offensive onslaught during the second half. With more scoring to come, a chance to win an American Athletic Conference crown is riding on the outcome.

Go long: Big plays lead to TCU’s 28-9 halftime lead against Oklahoma State

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No. 12 TCU scored four touchdowns during the first half against the No. 15 Oklahoma State Cowboys. The shortest of TCU’s four scores was a 34-yard run by running back B.J. Catalon.

TCU’s big-play ability led to a 28-9 lead over Oklahoma State after two quarters of play.

When TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson woke up this morning, he probably didn’t expect it to be a career day. But that’s exactly what happened. Docston already established a career high with 167 receiving yards.

The junior wide receiver’s first two catches set the tone for the game. Quarterback Trevone Boykin fround Doctson racing down the sideline twice for long scores. The first was a 77-yard connection as Doctson raced to the end zone. The wide receiver bettered his first touchdown reception with an 84-yard score three minutes later.

TCU hasn’t simply exploited Oklahoma State secondary. The Horned Frogs established a strong ground game, too. Catalon quickly amassed 96 yards on six carries, including a pair of touchdowns. Both scores were 34-yards or longer.

In total, the Horned Frogs tallied 349 yards of offense. They averaged 11.4 yards per pass and 11.1 yards per rush.

Oklahoma State was also able to move the ball, but the Cowboys couldn’t capitalize once they entered the red zone. Three trips inside TCU’s 20-yard line resulted in three field goals.

With a strong first-half effort, TCU will likely utilize more of a ball control offense to secure a victory. The Cowboys, on the other hand, have to clean up the mistakes on defense and finish drives during the second half.