The Cincinnati Bearcats (3-2) are looking to knock off the BYU Cougars (4-2) at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The Cougars and Cats have never met. But the BYU coaches are well aware of the offensive firepower that Cincinnati brings to the game. The game will be the third straight ESPN prime-time game for the Bearcats. Game time is 8 p.m. EST.
Ask most people about Cincinnati and they will bring up references to an old television show about a fictitious radio station. Some will even acknowledge the feats of The Big Red Machine from the ’70s. Some will even recognize the striped helmet of the city’s NFL team. But the Cincinnati Bearcats are an unknown commodity outside of the immediate Midwest area.
The Bearcats defeated the Miami Hurricanes two weeks ago, 34-23. The game was delayed by a thunderstorm for close to an hour. But when things resumed, the Bearcats took it to the ‘Canes. The Bearcats used the bye week to get healthy and focus on fixing some leaks on both offense and defense. This is the first of a home-and-home series against the Cougars. BYU will play at Nippert Stadium next year.
Magnum injured his hamstring in the game, but he may still play. The Bearcats are preparing to see him on the field. If Magnum can’t go for the Cougars, freshman Bo Hoge will be ready for action.
The Cincinnati Bearcats will bring two capable quarterbacks into the game. Both are gunslingers and lead one of the top offensive units in the nation. Gunner Kiel and redshirt freshman Hayden Moore are throwing machines. Moore started for Kiel, when the Bearcats played Miami, and tossed the rock for 279 yards and two touchdowns. Kiel was out with a stiff neck and didn’t practice. Since then, he’s been cleared to play. But Bearcats’ head coach Tommy Tuberville said via the Salt Lake Tribune that he wasn’t going to name a starter before game time.
“It’s a good situation,” Tuberville said, per GoBearcats.com. “You never really want a quarterback controversy but this has kind of come out of the shadows. It’s not something we planned, but it is what it is and I think now we’re in pretty good shape knowing that we’ve got two guys that we feel good about.”
The Cougars will have to be ready for the Bearcats on both sides of the ball. The Bearcats lost to undefeated Memphis and Temple because of turnovers. If the Bearcats come out and execute properly, the result could be a long night for BYU.
“It’s going to be a very competitive situation with these two until one of them separates from the other,” Tuberville said. “It’s pretty much even. There’s not a lot of difference. Now I feel good about both guys.”
The Bearcats are in a win-win situation. Moore can run better than Kiel but has less game experience. Gunner has thrown five interceptions this year but is still considered an outside candidate for the Heisman Trophy.
[Feature Photo by Joe Robbins / Getty Images]