Cincinnati plays their first American home game in history tonight at 8:30. Be sure to hit up the tailgate scene to win the trip that I wrote about yesterday. I'm looking very forward to the game tonight. After last week's disaster against USF, the Bearcats have a chance to show who they are on national TV. They get that chance a couple more times, against Louisville for instance and kind of against Memphis if you think Wednesday night ESPN 2 games are national spotlights, but this is the one they need. This is the game where we find out what kind of team we have. Temple is legit one of the worst 20-30 teams in the nation. The time for an impressive ass kicking is upon us. Let's go Bearcats.
Time: 8:30 pm
Spread: Cincinnati -21
History: Temple 9-5-1
In Cincinnati: Cincinnati 3-2-1
Last Meeting: Cincinnati 34-10, 11-10-2012
Streak: Cincinnati 3
Theme: Ring of Red so wear some red shit
Record: 3-2, 0-1
Coach: Tommy Tuberville 3-2 (133-79)
Quarterback: Bearcat signal caller Brendon Kay looks to build off of his solid 4th quarter success against South Florida. Kay's return to starting got off to a hot start with 4 TDs against Northwestern St, but the last two weeks he's thrown 3 TDs to 4 INTs. Temple is giving up nearly 330 yards through the air. The big play should be there. Chris Moore could have himself a ball game. Kay wasn't sharp against Temple last year, 13-21, 244 yards, but did throw TD passes of 75 and 65 yards.
Running Backs: It seems like Ralph David Abernathy IV should be back to normal for this game, which should help. He was sick last week. The main thing we saw against USF was the emergence of Tion Green. He ran hard and he ran well. All 3 should see time at some point, with Hosey Williams being in the mix. You get a big lead and run the ball down their throats. The interesting thing to watch is that Williams leads RDA in yards 324-309. Can RDA become the leading rusher? Williams leads the group with 4 TDs.
Receivers: A healthy version of Anthony McClung has come in and proven he's the best receiver on the squad. He's got 18 catches for a team best 234 yards and 1 score. UC really missed him. Shaq Washington has been a very reliable short yardage target. He has a team best 24 receptions for 210 yards. I'd like to see him score tonight. Chris Moore has 13-175-2 TDs. I think he'll add to that with a deep pass. Max Morrison, 12-223-2 TDs, has been really quiet the last two weeks with 3 catches for 33 yards total. Watch out for Mekale McKay. He had 2 TD catches last week, both of them inside the 30. He leads the team with 3 TD grabs. The major problem with the receivers is they are not running the right routes or running them deep enough. Most of the guys in the rotation have not played a lot. No one mentioned outside of McClung and Moore played significant time a year ago. This needs to be corrected.
Offensive Line: It's not written on the depth chart because of course not, but I think Sam Longo starts at center. Eric Lefeld-Austen Bujnoch-Sam Longo-Andre Cureton-Parker Ehinger is the line I'm guessing. Change is needed because they haven't been great. Miami made some plays against them, as did USF. Neither defense is the Steel Curtain. Temple is probably as bad as Miami. A solid effort should do enough.
Cincinnati averages 6.1 yards a play. They average 7.8 yards per pass and 4.8 yards per rush. The Bearcats have given up just 4 sacks this season. They are 32-68, 47% on 3rd downs. Cincinnati is 17-22 in the red zone. 15 of those have been TDs.
Defensive Line: The top tackler on the defensive line is Adam Dempsey. I'm sure everyone saw that coming in their preseason previews. Dempsey has 14 tackles, 2.5 for loss and 1 sack. Brad Harrah is second on the Cats with 4.5 tackles for loss. Silverberry Mouhon leads the team with 3.5 sacks. Jordan Stepp is 3rd with 2.
Linebackers: The Bearcats leading tackler is Greg Blair with 32. He's made 1.5 tackles for loss, with 2 passes broken up, 2 hurries and a forced fumble. Nick Temple is second on the team with 26 tackles, a team high 7 tackles for loss and is second on the team with 3 sacks and is tied for the team lead with 1 INT. He's been tremendous. Jeff Luc moved into 3rd on the team in tackles just to show the linebacker domination. He's made 21 stops, 3.5 TFL and half a sack. He had the force and recover fumble last week. The garbage man Clemente Casseus has 13 tackles. He will get his chance to take out the trash if/when UC is up large.
Secondary: Arryn Chenault is the top tackling non-linebacker on the team with 20. He's made 1 for loss. He has 1 INT and 3 passes broken up. He shares the break up lead with corner Howard Wilder. Zach Edwards has 16 tackles, 5th on the squad. He's got 1 INT as well. The other two INTs for Cincinnati belong to the other two starters, Adrian Witty and Deven Drane.
Kicker: The Golden Toe Tony Miliano has missed his last 3 field goals. He's 2-5 on the season. 2 of them have been blocked. He's 21-22 on extra points. Tony needs a rally game.
Holder: John Lloyd
Long Snapper: Kirk Willis
Punter: John Lloyd keeps setting career highs for punts. He booted a 60 yarder last week. He's punted 14 times for a 43.3 yard average. He's hit 2 touchbacks. 2 of his kicks have been inside the 20. Brendon Kay also has 2 punts inside the 20. The race continues.
Punt Return: Shaq Washington has returned 8 punts for 68 yards, an 8.5 yard average. He has a season long of 25 yards.
Kick Return: RDA IV has returned just 5 kicks this season for a 21.8 yard average. UC has returned 8 kicks this year. This unit has not been a factor.
Record: 0-5, 0-1
Coach: Matt Rhule 0-5 (0-5)
Quarterback: Temple is rolling with freshman PJ Walker. Walker is 11-22 for 195 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. He was 10-19 for 182 yards 1 TD and 1 INT with a team high 33 rushing yards in the second half against Louisville. Walker brings something a little different for the Owls. It's his first start. Let's make it one he will not want to remember.
Running Backs: Temple's leading rusher is Kenny Harper. He's run for 250 yards and 6 TDs. Zaire Williams has 218 yards as the second back. No one else had many carries, but the third leading rusher is Connor Reilly, former starting QB before injury, and Walker lead the team last week. Look for 3 guys to run the ball and whoever does it best to get the most carries. Harper had 9 rushes for 28 yards last week, Williams 5 for -1. Harper is the biggest threat to catch passes. He's 3rd on the team with 123 yards.
Receivers: The Owls top target is Ryan Alderman with 19 catches for 282 yards and 1 TD. He's the only receiver averaging over 30 yards a game. Jalen Fitzpatrick has 17 receptions, but only 139 yards and 1 score. The only other receiver with over 100 yards is Chris Coyer with 113. He has the third receiving touchdown. Robby Anderson hauled in Temple's longest pass of the season at 58 yards. He has 90 on the season. This is not a dangerous unit on paper.
Offensive Line: The line is listed as Cody Booth – Brendan McGowan – Kyle Friend – Pete White – Zach Hooks. Booth is returning after missing the last two games. Hooks started the first two games at right tackle, the fourth game at right tackle and last week at left. He's back to right.
Temple averages 4.8 yards a play. They get 4 yards a rush and 5.5 yards per pass. They've given up 14 sacks on the season. You can tell that's nearly 3 a game. The Owls are 31-74, 42% on 3rd down. They are 11-16 in the red zone, 10 TDs. They have 36 of their 79 points in the 4th quarter.
Defensive Line: Nate D Smith leads the Owl line with 21 tackles. He's batted down a pass and has a hurry. Matt Ioannidis has 4 tackles for loss and a team best 3 sacks. Kamal Johnson has 2 TFL and a sack, Kiser Terry 2 TFL and Levi Brown has a tackle for loss.
Linebackers: Tyler Matakevich is going to make a lot of tackles tonight. He has 67 on the season, with a team high 7 tackles for loss. He's pretty good at this linebacker thing. The awesome named Blaze Caponegro has 28 tackles, 4.5 for loss, which is good for second on the Owls. Sharif Finch has 2 TFL and a sack and Rob Dvoracek has 2 TFL.
Secondary: The top dog in the secondary is Abdul Smith with 39 tackles. He's made 2 for loss and forced a fumble. Corner Tavon Young has 28 tackles, 1 for loss, a forced fumble and a team high 3 passes broken up. Stephaun Marshall has an awful name, sorry Stephaun, but has 28 tackles, 0.5 for loss and a fumble recovery. Corners Anthony Robey and Zamel Johnson have 22 and 13 stops respectively. No one on Temple has an INT.
Kicker: The kicking game has been awful for Temple. Jim Cooper is 0-3, Paul Layton is 0-1 and Nick Visco is 1-2. His missed kick was blocked. The Owls are 1-4 on field goals from inside 25 yards. ONE FOR FOUR.
Holder: Connor Reilly
Long Snapper: John Christopher
Punter: Paul Layton has been great this season. He's had a lot of chances. He's punted 27 times for a 44.7 yard average. 9 of his punts have gone inside the 20. 5 of them have been fair caught. He's put 3 in the end zone for touchbacks. 10 of his punts have been over 50 yards, with a long of 67. Just what we needed to see, another punter who kills the ball.
Punt Return: Ryan Alderman has returned 6 punts for 30 yards. The Owls as a team have returned 10 punts for 40 yards. That's pretty bad.
Kick Return: Jahad Thomas is the primary kick returner. He's averaging 23.5 yards a pop with a long of 43. Jalen Fitzpatrick has taken 6 for 21.3 yards on average with a long of 39. They can pop a return if you aren't careful.
There will be a moment of silence for Ben Flick before the game.
Cincinnati hasn't given up an offensive touchdown in 10 quarters.
Cincinnati hasn't scored a first quarter point against an FBS team this season.
Temple is giving up 518 yards a game. This is a 'get right' defense if there ever is one.
The Owls don't get pressure, 9 sacks, and they haven't picked off a pass. Brendon Kay should have time. He should make plays. He should be able to get the ball down the field. Louisville hit four passes of at least 25 yards last week.
Temple has no major threats anywhere. They are decent, as decent as a team that lost to Fordham and Idaho can be, but they should provide little resistance. If they do, there might be problems with the 2013 Cincinnati Bearcats.
Calling out touchdowns for Chris Moore, Shaq Washington, Mekale McKay and Jeremy Graves tonight. At least one will be over 50 yards. One other will be over 30 yards.
I'm feeling 100 yards for RDA tonight. He hasn't hit that total for his career, but tonight's the night.
I feel good about this one. Very good.
Cincinnati 56 Temple 6