The Cincinnati Bearcats (3-2, 0-2) come into their game with the BYU Cougars (4-2), looking to put up an offensive showcase. So far, the Bearcats have been held below 30 points once this season. They’ve also given up at least 33 points three times. They’ll likely have a similar performance against the Cougars.
Cincinnati Bearcats vs. BYU Cougars
The last time we saw the Cincinnati Bearcats on the field, freshman quarterback Hayden Moore was leading his team to a 34-23 win over the Miami Hurricanes. Despite Moore’s effort in relief of an injured Gunner Kiel, the Bearcats quarterback position will be a game time decision.
Kiel took a bad hit against the Memphis Tigers in late September, and he was taken off the field on a stretcher. It was his second head injury in consecutive games, but with a few weeks off, Kiel seems ready to resume his role as the No.1 quarterback with the Bearcats.
The BYU Cougars are no stranger to quarterback trouble this season. Tanner Mangum has stepped in for the Cougars, leading the team to a winning record. Mangum famously threw a pair of Hail Mary’s to open the season, replacing the injured Taysom Hill. He defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers on the final play of the game. A week later, Mangum completed a fourth and 7 seven to knock off the Boise State Broncos. However, things haven’t gone as well since early September.
Following a one point defeat to the UCLA Bruins, the Cougars got blanked by the Michigan Wolverines. At the time, the result looked bad for BYU, but they bounced back in recent weeks. A pair of back to back wins over Connecticut and East Carolina got the Cougars back on the right track. However, it means nothing if they don’t protect home field tonight.
Tanner Mangum has been extremely accurate within the passing game. Completing 62 percent of his passes, Mangum has thrown nine touchdowns and five interceptions. Last week, he was slowed by a hamstring injury, but should be fine to go against the Bearcats. He’s never been a consistent threat to run, but it will be evident if he’s unable to maneuver around the pocket.
Mitch Matthews is BYU’s most consistent wide receiver. He leads the Cougars with 30 catches and six touchdowns. His height will be a problem for the Bearcats defense, so it will be intriguing to see how they cover Matthews. In addition to Matthews, the Cougars have multiple receivers over 6’5.
On the flipside, Cincinnati really uses the running game to keep the offense going. While they are known for their passing attack, the Bearcats are a threat to score from anywhere in the ground attack. So far, the Bearcats have 11 rushing touchdowns in the first five games.
However, they do turn the ball over too much. Currently, Cincinnati opponents averaged three takeaways per game. If they cut those down, they’ll be able to exploit BYU’s aggressive defense. If not, it could be a long day for any quarterback playing the role as the Bearcats’ starter.