First things first, Cincinnati does not run the triple option. With that out of the way Miami fans can breath a bit easier going forward. Let's begin.
This week Miami welcomes in the 2-2 Cincinnati Bearcats to town. Both programs are looking to turn things around, with UM losing last week and Cincy losing their last two. Miami looked terrible last Saturday against Georgia Tech's triple option (technically it is a "flexbone" offense but whatever); while Cincy has given up a combined 91 points and 75 first downs in their last two match-ups. With the Bearcats starting QB and running back being injured and highly unlikely to play, things seem to be setting up nicely for Miami to turn things around this Saturday. Miami leads the series (all time) 10 to 1, and are favored by a little over two touchdowns. What can possibly go wrong?
Cincy: The Bearcats started off their season on fire with their new QB coming in and throwing six TDs - good times. But after a two game stretch where they played Ohio State - gave up 50 points 710 yards and 45 first downs; then gave up 610 yards and 30 first downs to Memphis, Cincy can use a hug. Oh, as mentioned above their starting running back and quarterback are injured now too, and are most likely not going to play this week. Cincy could also probably use an edible arrangement.
With QB Gunner Kiel super unlikely to play, Cincy will have experienced starter Munchie Legaux take control of their fast paced 'spread em out and throw it a ton offense'(how fun is that name!?). Miami dodges a bullet with Gunner being out, but is far from able to sit back and take advantage of a new QB that is out of his league. Legaux is a senior with plenty of starts under his belt and will be more than capable getting the ball out to his talented wide receivers. It will be his first start since coming back from a terrible knee injury in last season's second game. At 6-5 200 lbs he's a big QB, but not nearly as consistent as Kiel. He's got a career 51% completion rate, throwing 20TDs and 6 Ints.
It's who he's passing to that will be the problem for Miami. In doing research for this game I came across an article calling their offense " a no huddle version of the Florida Gators Fun-n-Gun mid 90's offense"; so while UM will look forward to not dealing with 76 rushing attempts, they will have to deal with not getting beat by the deep ball. Cincy has five WRs with 10 or more catches this season, and they all bring a little something different to the table. Chris Moore is currently averaging 30 yards a reception and has 5 TDs. MeKale McKay is 6-6, getting 20 plus yards a reception and has 4 TDs. I mentioned he was 6-6 right? Shaq Washington is 5-9 and leads the group in receptions. Washington will be taking most of the screens and underneath routes. Last but not least, there's Max Morrison, who doesn't have the gaudy numbers of some of the others, but seems to be the go to. Morrison is sure handed, working mainly out of the slot and seems to be a pain on third downs.
As for the Cincy rushing attack, they average just over 100 yards a game. Starter Hosey Williams will be out, but his 6ft 220lb counterpart Tion Green should be all set to try and take advantage of an abused Miami run defense. Being that they run a pass happy offense, the runs are mostly from the draw and inside zone variety. They use the backs a lot in the passing game, so Miami will need to keep better track of them coming out of the backfield (than they did in the GT game). Sorry, still a little salty.
Cincy's defense is bad... like 1,300 yards and a trillion first downs given up in the past two games bad. They rank 123rd overall, so Miami should be able to move the ball how ever they choose to. Seems like a good slump buster for Stacy Coley to get his groove back against, but that's just me.
Miami: Last week was as frustrating as it gets, so I know they have to be ready to get back on the field and distance themselves from a game that had UM only have seven real offensive possessions. It's been well documented this week that fans, alumni, and former players are tired of the inconsistent play. The noise around Coral Gables has been deafening, but hopefully the team has been able to focus on the task at hand. Either the team comes out unified and takes out some frustration on a hobbled Cincy team - or man - I'm not ready to think about what happens if UM comes out distracted and gets beat.
On offense UM should be able to move the ball at will. With as bad as the Cincy defense is, I don't see a reason why players like Stacy Coley can't find a way to be utilized. Brad Kaaya should be able to add to his already great stats this season without the added pressure of needing to be perfect like last week. The O line is still going to be without Taylor Gadbois and KC McDermott this week, but all in all didn't look too bad last week with true freshman Nick Linder starting at left guard. Miami should be able to improve on their 3rd down conversion numbers, as well as their time of possession playing against this defense; if not it's a lost cause.
On defense it's going to be a challenge for the secondary. The D line can help things out by creating a pass rush; Legaux throws way more interceptions than Gunner, so UM should force the issue by pressuring him as much as possible. The Canes secondary will look a whole lot better if the edge rushers are making Cincy rush things. Miami has the athletes to run with the Cincy WRs, but if Legaux has all day to sit back in the pocket, they will pick Miami apart. Coach Golden has been wanting to create more turnovers and I cannot think of a better scenario. There has been talk this week of Miami's big man in the middle DT Michael Wyche finally getting onto the depth chart. That can change the way things have looked up front for the better. Now it's important to note that Golden had no idea what was on the depth chart when asked, but assuming whoever filled it out didn't just make things up, it's good to see Wyche in the fold. If not for this week, but for going forward.
Prediction: UM exploits a bad defense and does enough on defense to get by. UM 42 Cincy 28
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