No playing around in this article, I’m diving right into the five keys for the Cincinnati Bearcats Thursday night.
1.Offensive coordinator Zac Taylor must involve a heavy dose of Tion Green and Mike Boone
So far this season Green has averaged 4.7 yards per carry and Boone checked in at 3.8 yards per carry. Combined they have rushed for 266 yards in the first two games of the season. It would be smart for Taylor to keep putting the ball in the hands of his two star running backs for success against a stingy Cougars defense.
2. Hayden Moore must duplicate his outstanding performance he had at Purdue last week
Moore went 19 of 32 for 250 yards and three passing touchdowns and added two rushing touchdowns of his own. Across the sideline will be Greg Ward, so make no mistake about it the Bearcats won’t be able to hide Moore if they want to have a chance at a win. He will have to be great in his own right if the boys from Clifton are going to have a chance to pull off the upset.
3. Contain Greg Ward, Jr.
Last season Ward threw 16 of 24 for 161 yards and two touchdowns, but the Bearcats were able to pick him off twice. Where Ward is the most dangerous is with his legs. He rushed for 119 yards on 16 carries averaging 7.4 yards per carry. Defensively the Bearcats must contain Ward and the plug the holes he will be trying to exploit. Containing Ward will be a recipe for success for the Bearcats.
4.Win the turnover battle
In the game against Purdue the Bearcats defense forced five big turnovers. This was a missing ingredient for last year’s defense and it led to big play opportunities for opposing offenses. For the Bearcats defensively if they can force turnovers it opens up more chances for the Bearcat offense to get going which in turn will keep the feared Greg Ward, Jr. on the sidelines. Winning the turnover battle will be huge for the Bearcats.
5. Good play from special teams
With Andrew Gantz back the Bearcats should be fine on the special teams unit. It will be important for punter Sam Geraci to make good punts so the Bearcats can win the field position battle. You never want to give an offense like the Cougars good field position, so Geraci will be important in this matchup.