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Miami Hurricanes Football Game Preview: Cincinnati Bearcats

Can the 'Canes avoid the classic trap game scenario on the road on Thursday Night?

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

After a lackluster first half against FAU two games ago, UM put together a string of 4 and a half impressive quarters, in dominating Florida Atlantic over the last two quarters of that contest, and easily controlling Nebraska for the better part of their last game.

But the 4th quarter against the Huskers took away a lot of the luster of that contest.

Miami survived in OT though, and heads to Cincy 3-0 Vs a desperate Bearcats (2-2) team.

So what to expect of the 'Canes tomorrow night (7:30 ESPN)?

And how much opposition will Tommy Tubberville's struggling squad offer?

The Hurricanes catch something of a break, as starting Cincinnati QB Gunner Kiel (concussion) will not play in this game, and freshman Hayden Moore will get the start.

Moore, who had a Cincinnati record 557 yards passing in his debut last week vs. Memphis, will be playing in just his 2nd game.

And while he can clearly spin it, he has 5 TDs but also 5 INTs on the season.

Not having to deal with Kiel is a distinct advantage for Miami's D.

But that unit has its' own absences as two key safeties, Deon Bush and Jamal Carter, will miss the first half of the game for targeting penalties sustained Vs Nebraska.

This means Rayshawn Jenkins and Dallas Crawford will get the start.  Look for highly touted freshman S Jaquan Johnson to also see some snaps.

The drop off should not be too bad for the 'Canes.

Nonetheless the biggest threat tomorrow night, is that Moore gets hot, and finds the holes Vs the talented UM secondary.

The Bearcats firepower means that despite FSU looming next weekend, Miami can not afford to look ahead.

However, Cincinnati's 73rd ranked defense has more than a few glaring weaknesses.

This means in order for them to remain competitive, Moore will have to be terrific.

It might be too tall of a task.

Let's take a closer look at how the teams match-up:

When the 'Canes have the football:  Cincy's front seven doesn't have much in the way of size, speed, or play makers. Silverberry Mouhon can create a little havoc, but this should be a big game for Nick Linder, Trevor Darling and the Hurricanes O line. Joe Yearby might run for 200 yards, and Mark Walton might crack 100 himself. QB Brad Kaaya should not find much in the way of pressure, and the thin Bearcats secondary is also with out their best CB in Adrian Witty.  S Zach Edwards can make some plays, but Rashawn Scott, Herb Waters, and Tyre Brady might find plenty of room to operate nonetheless.  When I look at this D, I see an FAU type unit.  If Miami does not turn the ball over a bunch, or self destruct on third downs/in the red zone,  they should/could put up 50 +.   This is a complete and total mismatch.

When the Bearcats have the football:  This is where things are a little more evenly matched.  Chris Moore might have a future on Sundays at WR.  And Alex Morrison is a pesky and speedy slot guy.  5'9 176 pound dynamo Shaq Washington might be the best of the group though. Moore certainly  has plenty of talented options to target.  It will be interesting to see how Corn Elder and Artie Burns hold up against them. Cincinnati also has a nice group of runners, especially if Mike Boone is healthy and can go. But the bottom line here, is whether can UM generate a pass rush?  If Al-Quadin Muhammad, Tyriq McCord, and Chad Thomas can get in Moore's face, this might turn into a very easy game.  If not, this becomes a very interesting contest.

Prediction:  Moore finds some early success and the Bearcats hang tough for a few quarters. But he can not keep up with Kaaya, Yearby, and Scott.  In the second half, the returns of Bush and Carter spark the D. After a few timely turnovers forced, Miami gains control and rolls to a 44-28 win.

How do you see this one playing out?