Monday evening, the Cincinnati Bearcats announced that RS Freshman Hayden Moore will start at QB for this Thursday's game against the Miami Hurricanes.
Moore, who had a Cincinnati record 557 yards passing in his debut last week vs. Memphis, will be playing in just his 2nd game. The former 3-star recruit is obviously talented, but it remains to be seen if he can sustain the same level of performance this week vs. the Hurricanes.
What this means for Cincinnati
While the Bearcats lose their captain and most talented QB, the drop off may not be big, if there's any at all. Moore comes into Thursday's game riding an incredibly hot hand off his previous performance, and the offense is still capable of scoring lots of points in a hurry.
Where I think this may affect Cincinnati is on defense. The Bearcats were unable to stop Memphis in the 2nd half, and that, more than Moore's last gasp interception, was their downfall. If Cincinnati can't find a way to stop Brad Kaaya and the Canes offense more than, say, twice all game long, I don't know if Moore can be perfect enough to keep them in contention against a Miami team that is far more talented.
What this means for Miami
Honestly, Cincy naming Moore as starter doesn't change much for the Canes. We'll still be missing Deon Bush and Jamal Carter for the first half of the game (finishing their targeting suspensions from the Nebraska game), so the secondary is already on alert that they need a big game.
And, the Cincinnati offense doesn't change much, if at all, with Moore at QB instead of Kiel. The Bearcats still run a spread air raid passing attack, mixing in the run as numbers and situations dictate.
You KNOW how much I hate the school in the State South of Michigan, but credit where it's due: the OSU site 11 Warriors did a breakdown of the Cincinnati offense that is really, really good. You should read it by clicking this link.
For the Canes defense, we need to find ways to bring pressure in the face of the young QB, and also disguise coverages to force errant throws and turnovers. Miami is 2nd nationally with a +8 turnover ratio through 3 games, and if that trend continues, the Hurricanes could be given a great advantage against the Bearcats on Thursday night.
Cincinnati naming Hayden Moore starting QB for this week's game isn't unexpected. He's a talented player who had a record-setting game.
But, he's young and inexperienced, and as that last play showed, still feeling his way out in College Football. While he may still run the Bearcat offense effectively, I think the advantage here has to go to Miami.