George Winn. This may have been the easiest player of the game award to hand out all season. Winn had a career day against the Orangemen, rushing for over 165 yards on 30 carries and three touchdowns. Winn continues to be the most crucial cog in this Cincinnati offense, and as of recently, become the workhorse back that an effective offense needs. Stats aside, Winn has been shouldering the load for the better part of two games. The passing game has been faltering, putting more pressure on the rushing attack. Ralph Abernathy IV is a solid option, and can break a big play or two every game, but this offense would be no where without the exploits of George Winn.
Top Offensive Player
Travis Kelce. The senior tight end from Cleveland has been a bit of an enigma this season. One of the more talented, and physically imposing players on this Cincinnati squad, Kelce has been prone to the occasional lack of focus during games. Whether it be dropping a pass or drawing an unnecessary roughness penalty, Kelce has struggled at times to play to his potential. Against Syracuse, Kelce showed what he can do when he is locked in from the start. He led the Bearcats offense in receiving, finishing with four receptions for 77 yards and two touchdowns, showing an array of after-the-catch moves that make him so dangerous when he has the ball in his hands. If Kelce can show this kind of effort every game, watch out.
Top Defensive Player
Trenier Orr. The Cincinnati secondary was a bit banged up against Syracuse, forcing many players to step up into starting roles. With cornerback Deven Drane out with an injury, Orr was forced to step up into a starting role, and performed like a seasoned vet, finishing with nine tackles and two pass breakups. More importantly, he showed what kind of depth the UC secondary has at its disposal. A key component of a successful football team is the development of the backups. When players go down, the backups need to be able to step in without missing a beat. On Saturday, Trenier Orr proved his ability to do just that, providing the Cincinnati defense with a spark that helped lead them to victory.