I was debating on if I should give Northwestern State the KYO treatment, but what the hell. They are 2-0. 2-0 is 2-0. That's a better record than Cincinnati has. That's enough to get a preview. I'll preview teams that are just as boring like Temple and UConn, so it's not like Northwestern State is the worst team left. Although they are the worst team left. A lot of teams have lost to FCS schools. Cincinnati should not be one of them.
Time: 7 pm
Spread: Cincinnati -30
History: Cincinnati 1-0 (41-0 September 10, 1977)
Coach: Tommy Tuberville 1-1 (131-78)
Quarterback: Brendon Kay is back as the Cincinnati starter. He is 10-16 for 130 yards. He has no TDs or INTs. He's run 4 times for 5 yards. Kay showed that he could be deadly accurate, while putting nice touch on the deep ball, last year. He's been battling a shoulder injury. He is the guy going forward. We know Kay can be a solid quarterback.
Bennie Coney has seen his name rise up the depth chart due to injury. He's listed for the first time in his career. He should see some playing time. He might not get to throw a lot. Maybe he'll get some runs. I'm intrigued to see what he can do when he gets a chance.
Running Back: Cincinnati's leading rusher is Hosey Williams, who has 113 yards and 1 TD on 20 carries. He's one of two Bearcats averaging over 5 yards a carry. The other was Munchie Legaux. Ralph David Abernathy IV has the most attempts, 27. He has 99 yards and leads Cincinnati with 2 rushing TDs. He has to be excited to be playing worse competition. Expect to see some of Tion Green, 6-29-1 TD and Rodriguez Moore, 4-9, who both saw action in the Purdue blowout.
Receiver: The Bearcats have 3 players with exactly 103 yards. Max Morrison and Anthony McClung have their 103 yards on 7 receptions, Chris Moore has is on 5. UC has 2 receiving touchdowns. Morrison caught his last week, Blake Annen caught his in the opener. Shaq Washington has 6 catches for 91 yards. Mekale McKay made the first two catches of his Bearcat career last week. The young group has played both like a group of young receivers, many drops, but they've also stepped up and made plays. The next few weeks should be big for their confidence because I'm sure they will all get a lot of run.
Offensive Line: This unit is looking for an improvement over last week. Playing at home suited them well against Purdue. UC is averaging 6 yards a play. They are getting 4.7 yards a rush and 7.6 yards a pass attempt. Northwestern State has gotten after the QB a little bit early this year. I'm not saying it's a major test, but it's a little test. A pop quiz.
Eric Lefeld, Austen Bujnoch, Deyshawn Bond, Sam Longo and Parker Ehnigher started last week. You can see that Andre Cureton is listed as the starter. That obviously is not set in stone.
Defensive Line: Brad Harrah leads all the defensive linemen with 8 tackles. He's second on the team with 2.5 tackles for loss. I don't think a lot of people saw that coming. Marques Aiken and Jordan Stepp have 5 tackles, Aiken has 1 TFL. Aiken and Silverberry Mouhon are among 4 players with 2 hurries. Mouhon has the only sack for UC. We have become accustomed to hell being raised from the d-line. UC's defensive linemen have 5 tackles for loss through 2 games. I don't need to tell you that's not good enough.
Linebackers: 3 of the 4 leading tacklers are the starting linebackers. Greg Blair leads the team with 17 stops. He has 1.5 TFL with 2 passes broken up and 2 hurries. The man can play football. Nick Temple leads Cincinnati with 3 TFL. He's tied for the team lead in INTs as well. Jeff Luc has 10 tackles, 2 for loss. Corey Mason has 8 tackles with 2 hurries through 2 games as well. Put someone at linebacker on this team and they dominate.
Defensive Backs: Trenior Orr's injury must be serious enough if he's not on the depth chart. That's the only listed change with this unit, which is lead by Arryn Chenault and his 10 tackles. Chenault has broken up 2 passes. Howard Wilder is listed as the starter at corner with Orr out. Wilder has played pretty well this season. He's made 8 tackles and broken up 2 passes of his own. The other corner is Deven Drane, who has 4 tackles. Adrian Witty is listed as the other safety. He has 5 tackles and an INT. Zach Edwards isn't listed as a starter. He's produced like one. He's made 7 tackles, 0.5 for loss, and forced a fumble. He's been impressive.
Northwestern State likes to air it out. I'm looking for a couple of INTs.
Kicker: The kicker is the Golden Toe Tony Miliano. He's 1-1 on field goals, hitting from 37 against Illinois. He's 8-8 on extra points. He's been very good on kickoffs as well. A very solid start to the season for 14.
Holder: John Lloyd
Long Snapper: Kirk Willis
Punter: John Lloyd is the punter. He's been pretty good so far. He's punted 6 times for a 39.5 average. 1 of his punts has gone inside the 20. Brendon Kay has punted twice for a 22.5 yard average in the pooch punting game.
The punt unit has been bad. UC was horrible last week. They are giving up 13 yards a return on 5 returns. That really hurts the net.
Punt Return: Anthony McClung has returned 5 punts for 18 yards. That's 3.6 yards a return. When you add in Shaq Washington's 1 return for 6 yards, you get a 4 yard average. Not ideal.
Kick Return: RDA IV has only had 4 cracks at it. He's averaging 23.2 yards a return with a long of 25.
Coach: Jay Thomas 2-0 (29-35)
Quarterback: Demon QB Zach Adkins is 46-71, 64.8% for 564 yards with 4 TDs against 2 INTs. They like to sling it around. Adkins has been very accurate. He's also been a threat in the running game. He's taken off 14 times for 62 yards. He's scored a TD.
Running Backs: The Northwestern State running game has not been very effective with yards per carry, but they've pounded away at their opponents the first two weeks. Robert Walker is the leading rusher with 25 carries for 105 yards. He's scored 2 TDs. Walker has a quarter of his yards on a 26 yard run. Daniel Taylor has 66 yards and a TD. That's mainly thanks to a 30 yard run. 7 guys on the team have at least 5 carries. Walter, Taylor and Adkins have 25, 14 and 14 attempts. They may not be running effectively, but they commit to it. Neither back does much in the passing game.
Receivers: Two players have nearly half of the catches for the Demons. They are Bryant Mitchell and Ed Eagan, who have 10 catches a piece. Mitchell leads the team with 144 yards. Eagan has 137 yards and a TD. Shakier Ryan has 7-84-1 TD. The Demons have 14 guys who have made a catch. That's a lot. Teams who have players that can make plays make me a little nervous.
Offensive Line: Northwestern State averages 6 yards a play. They are getting 4.3 a rush and 7.9 per pass attempt. That last number is pretty impressive. The line has only allowed 2 sacks. That's really good considering the number of pass attempts they have. Stuff the run and make them have to throw. That could work out well.
Defense: "What part of this takes the longest to write?" you may be asking yourself. It's the opponents defense. Especially if I don't know the other team. The stats don't say who plays where. So I have to use the depth chart to find their position and to look up the stats of the people at those positions. If I write down 8 names at defensive end and 5 of them don't have significant stats, I wasted that much time. This post looks like it would take a nice chunk of time and that's because it does. This was a long paragraph just to tell you that I'm not writing about more than 3 players on the Demon defense.
The leading tackler is Patrick Black, who has 18. He has a sack. Tyler Roussel had 17 tackles. Adam Jones is next with 12. He leads the team with 2 tackles for loss. Ryan Sorrell is the final player in double digits with 10.
The Demons have 6 sacks. They have a very impressive 14 tackles for loss. They've been credited for 13 hurries. That is a lot for two games. They've broken up 7 passes without picking one off.
Kicker: The Demon kicker is Chris Moore. He's 3-4 on the season with a long of 44. His only miss was a block last week. He's 9-10 on extra points. His only miss there was because it was blocked. Go after the kicker is what I'm saying. In positive news for Moore, half of his kickoffs have gone for touchbacks.
Holder: Brandon Monrose
Long Snapper: Kevin Garza
Punter: Chase Tassin has been alright. He's punted 8 times for a 35.4 yard average. 5 of his punts have been inside the 20. 4 of them have been fair caught. That's not too shabby. Nice job, Chase. We can give props to the other team.
Punt Return: Ed Eagan has returned 2 punts for 8 yards. Not a lot in the Northwestern State punt return game. They've only had 3 returned against them.
Kick Return: Ed Eagan likes doing things in twos because he's only returned 2 kicks. He returned one of them 61 yards. Imoan Clairborne has a porn sounding first name, but he returned a kick 28 yards.
Northwestern State was picked 6th in the Southland Conference this year.
That's the only stat of note that I've seen. Not a lot of cool nuggets in the game notes this week.
There are a couple of major keys to the game tomorrow night. They are as followed:
Keep everyone healthy. Last week was a tough one with Munchie and Orr going down. There is depth at corner and at QB, but losing starters is never good.
Get the offense off to a quick start. 0 first quarter points this year. That should change.
Find the right combinations in the rotations. The only good thing about games like this is that they are a chance to get guys who normally wouldn't find a lot of action into games. These are games where you can mix and match to try to find new things that work. UC runs a lot of receivers out there. Mix those up. The defensive line has a rotation, mix that up. Just because things are working doesn't mean you can't try to make them better.
Going to guess we see two guys with their first career TD grabs this week. I'll guess Jeremy Graves and Shakim Alonzo.
RDA is going to get 100 yards rushing.
There will be no receiver with 100 yards, but at least three will have 60.
Tony Miliano will continue kicking his way into the hearts and beds of every coed at the game or watching online. Leading scorer on and off the field.
Howard Wilder gets a pick. Chenault gets the other one.
Cincinnati 49 Northwestern State 10