For the 117th time, the Cincinnati Bearcats will play the Miami Redhawks on the gridiron. It's the 5th longest rivalry in the nation, the 2nd longest in the FBS. The game is at 7 PM on FSN Ohio. If you aren't in the Cincinnati region, it'll be on ESPN3. The game is a whiteout. That means wear some white shit. It's Homecoming, it's the least you could do. There is a parking advisory. We talked about this before, but parking at UC is a joke. When they are telling you that the parking situation is going to be unruly, you might drive onto a parked car like you are in a monster truck from the insanity. If you need another reason to get there early, some place on the commons sells beer for $1.
Some people have complained about UC playing Miami every year. This is a complaint I just don't understand. Not only are Cincinnati and Miami local rivals, they are historic rivals. UC historically hasn't played a ton of Ohio teams in the non-conference. At most it's been 2 and 1 of those 2 has always been Miami. Some people say the competition is an issue, but I think that's garbage. Programs rise and they fall. 6 years ago Cincinnati lost 44-16 to Miami. Miami is a place that can get players and they are a place that can win. They've had a revolving door at the head coach position since Coach Hep went to Indiana. Once they get some stability, they can be a MAC power. The Miami game is a good one. If you don't like it, think of the alternatives. Delaware St, anyone?
Record: 3-0, 1-0 Big East
Coach: Butch Jones 17-11
Vs Miami: 50-59-7
Current Streak: 6 wins
Last Season: 27-0 @ Miami
Spread: UC -20
Leading Passer: Munchie Legaux 53-97, 789 yards, 7 TDs, 3 INTs
Leading Rusher: George Winn 52-318-2 TDs
Leading Receiver: Kenbrell Thompkins 12-204-1 TD
Quarterbacks: Munchie Legaux has played mostly very well this season. You can pick a part some aspects of his game, but you can't poo poo away his big play ability. We saw it against Virginia Tech, we saw it against Pittsburgh. With his arm or with his legs, Munchie is a major threat. His throwing motion is going to drive people crazy the next 2 seasons, but that's just something that they are going to have to deal with. I don't know what else to tell them. This game should be a good one to get Brendon Kay and Patrick Coyne some action.
Running Backs: George Winn has sucked all of the drama away from who is getting the carries that it has lessened the fun of talking about the running backs. That's in a good way. You want a guy on your team who can get the ball and make plays. Winn is averaging 6.1 yards a carry. That is outstanding. That is one of the most unexpected stats of the season. Winn has been a great running back. Jameel Poteat didnt' play much, if at all, last week. That will probably change this week. Ralph David Abernathy only got 4 touches, but he made the most of them with his 76 yard TD catch. That catch kept him entrenched as the second leading receiver. He has the most TD catches on the team. He's also the only one to score a TD every week. I think his streak will continue. He should have plenty of opportunities.
Receivers: It took 3 games for a UC receiver to break double digits in receptions. Kenbrell Thompkins now has 12. It is largely disappointing that the leading receiver has 4 catches per game, but Thompkins 68 yards a game puts him on pace for 884 yards, which isn't bad. 11 Bearcats, 12 if you count Silverberry Mouhon, have caught passes this season. Munchie has distrubted the passes very well. RDA IV, Damon Julian (8-151-2 TDs) and Anthony McClung (8-101-1 TD) all have 8 receptions. Travis Kelce (5-94) has 5. Julian is emerging as a big time player. Alex Chisum has just 1 catch, but was targeted in the end zone last week. Their split looks to be something like 60/40 or so to my untrained eye.
Offensive Line: Butch Jones has shaken up the offensive line quite a bit. At least on paper. The left side of the line, tackle Eric Lefeld, guard Austen Bujnoch and center Dan Sprague all are entrenched in their roles. Sam Longo is listed as the starter at right guard, but we've seen his playing time get cut. Right tackle Sean Hooey didn't play last week. Parker Ehinger got the start. The right tackle this week is listed as Hooey -or- Ehinger. One thing is for sure, Parker Ehinger is going to play. The freshman has earned a role. The line is helping UC average 5.5 yards a rush and 8.2 yards a pass for a nice 6.8 yards a play. They've only had a handful of penalties called against them, although 3 were by Ehinger last week.
Defensive Line: The defensive line got a bit of a shake up on the depth chart this week as well. The ends, Walter Stewart and Dan Giordano, aren't going anywhere. The action is in the middle. Adam Dempsey and John Williams both have -or- beside their names with Camaron Beard and Jordan Stepp. Dempsey and Williams were listed second on the depth chart to start the season. Turnabout is fair play. As for the production, Stewart and Giordano have been the stars of this too. Stewart has 17 tackles, 5 for loss, 3 of those are sacks. Giordano has 13 tackles, 0.5 sacks, but 4 hurries. Williams has 10 tackles, 2.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks. Beard has 7 tackles, 1.5 for loss, including 1 against Va Tech. The rest of the group has a handful of tackles.
Linebackers: The top 2 tacklers on the team are the two linebackers that play the most. Greg Blair has 30 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 INT. Maalik Bomar is the current Big East Defensive Player of the Week. He has 29 tackles, 1 for loss. He had 16 stops against Virginia Tech. Either Blair or Bomar would be 3rd on the team in tackles if you went by their solo or assisted numbers. Nick Temple is the 3rd backer. He has 8 tackles and a sack. He plays a lot of special teams. This has been a very solid unit so far.
Defensive Backs: The secondary for the Bearcats as usual are Deven Drane and Cameron Cheatham at corner, Drew Frey and Arryn Chenault at safety and Chris Williams at the nickel. Chenault leads the secondary with 17 tackles and 2 INTs. He's been a very productive player. He's everything Wes Richardson was not last year. Cheatham has 11 tackles, 1 for loss. He made his 1st INT of the season last week. Drane has 9 tackles, Frey 6 and Williams 6. This should be a week where we see a lot of Aaron Roberson, Trenier Orr, Dominique Battle and Malcolm Murray. Hopefully there is some LEVITICUS PAYNE mixed in.
Special Teams: Kirk Willis will continue snapping the ball back to Pat O'Donnell, who holds and punts. O'Donnell is averaging 43 yards a kick this season. 6 of his 12 punts have been inside the 20. Tony Miliano missed his first kick of the season last week, but he's 5-6 on the season and 9-10 on extra points. Golden Toe. RDA IV handles the kick returns and does it well with an average over 29 yards. Anthony McClung is averaging nearly 13 yards a punt return.
Coach: Don Treadwell 7-10
At UC: 43-39-5
Leading Passer: Zac Dysert 125-187, 1,413 yards, 11 TDs, 3 INTs
Leading Rusher: Zac Dysert 43-183-1 TD
Leading Receiver: Dawan Scott 27-441-4 TDs
History Made Last Week: Dysert became the first player in FBS history to throw for 500 yards and run for over 100
Quarterbacks: Zac Dysert is really, really good. He threw for 516 yards last week and a Miami record 6 TDs. His yards were the second most in Miami history. He's completing nearly 67% of his passes this year. He's going to be drafted in April. Kid is a stud. He was able to throw the deep ball effectively against the Bearcats last season. Dysert can also run. He leads the team as you can see. His 4.3 average is also tops on the team. If Miami is going to hang with UC, it'll be on the arm of Dysert.
Running Backs: The leading Miami running back is Jamie Westbrook. He is 2 yards behind Dysert, 183-181. But he's had 1 more carry. He's averaging 36.2 yards a game. 181 yards in 5 games is not a lot. Spencer Treadwell has 135 yards on 36 carries. Justin Semmes gets a carry or two a game and hasn't been very effective at all. All of those backs have scored 1 TD. Treadwell has thrown a TD pass. They have had the opposite of what works for UC happen to them, no one has stepped up to take the reigns on the running back position.
Receivers: Dysert has passed the ball a lot to a variety of receivers, but there have been a couple of standouts. Andy Cruse has 38 receptions. He only has 274 yards, 7.2 a catch. He has scored 3 times. He's not a big play target. Unlike Dawan Scott, who had over 200 yards last week. Scott is averaging 16.3 yards a reception. After those 2 is the drop off. David Frazier has 9-151-1 TD, Steve Marck, a tight end, 9-135. Willie Culpepper is listed as a starter, but has 3-38 on the year. Turn the attention onto Cruse and Scott and make the rest of the receivers step up 3D.
Offensive Line: The Miami group from left to right is Josh Harvey, Marcus Matthews, Brad Bednar, Trevan Brown and Zach Lewis. Miami is averaging 3.6 yards a rush and 7.5 yards a pass. They average 5.7 yards a play. The Redhawks line has given up just 5 sacks this season. They can't run block very well, but they can protect Dysert.
Defensive Line: From left end to right end, the starting unit is Wes Williams, Mwanza Wamulumba, Mike Johns, and Jason Semmes. Williams leads the group with 23 tackles, 1.5 for loss. Semmes has 17 tackles, 1.5 for loss and 1 sack. Wamulumba has 4 tackles for loss and a team high 2.5 sacks. A potential challenge for Eric Lefeld. Johns has 4 tackles for loss as well. Luke Kelly has a sack and is the only reserve who has production worth mentioning.
Linebackers: Chris Wade is the leading tackler on the Redhawks. He's made 51 stops, 4 for loss. He's the man to watch on the Miami defense. He will get after it. Pat Hinkel leads the Redhawks in INTs with 3. He's 3rd on the team with 33 tackles. He's also broken up 2 passes. It could be a little dangerous if Munchie didn't see him fall into coverage. Jaytee Swanson has 22 tackles, but he is dangerous. 3.5 of his tackles are for loss and he ahs forced 2 fumbles. Protect the ball around him. Josh Dooley has 18 tackles, 0.5 for loss. Kent Kern has 14 tackles, 1 TFL and 0.5 sacks. Collin Boucher rounds out the unit with 9 tackles.
Defensive Backs: DJ Brown and Dayonne Nunley are the Miami corners. Brison Burris and Justin Bowers man safety. Nunley has been picked on the most, or he's been the best playmaker because he has 34 tackles. He has 3 tackles for loss. He's broken up a team high 4 passes and has 1 INT. Brown has 27 tackles, 1 INT and 2 break ups. Buriss has 30 tackles, 1.5 for loss and 1 INT to go along with 3 break ups. Bowers has 1 INT with a 23 yard return. Marshall Taylor sees some action and has made 14 tackles. Chrishawn Dupuy has an insane name.
Special Teams: Kaleb Patterson is the kicker. He's 6-8 on the year and 11-13 on extra points. He's missed from 24 and 35 this season. Zac Murphy is the punter, averaging 41 yards a punt. 5 of his 23 punts have been inside the 20 and he's boomed 4 50+ yarders. Brison Burris is listed as the kick returner, but he hasn't returned a kick this season. Dayonne Nunley has returned just 3 punts for 8 yards. Miami fair catches a lot.
Keep in mind, the teams are playing for this.
The major key to the game for the Bearcats is to slow down Dysert. They should be able to move the ball on the Miami defense with some ease. You don't want to get in a shootout with a team who has a great QB. That's how you get upset. That being said, Dysert is the only above average player Miami has on offense. He can't catch his throws.
Miami has been thrown on this season to the tune of 280 yards a game. You would love to see Munchie have a big game in the air.
Miami is giving up 237 rushing yards a game. I think we see two 100 yard rushers for the Bearcats. Winn and Poteat. RDA IV will have 100 yards of offense, but only about 50 rushing.
Anthony McClung is going over 100 yards receiving. Lock of the year.
Miami has 7 INTs on the season. They are aggressive. I don't need to tell you that Muchie seems to zone out on some of his reads. If Miami can capitalize on his mistakes, we could have a ball game.
A blocked punt changed last year's game. UC is going to block a kick.
Remember to wear white and get there early. It's Homecoming.