The Houston Cougars and Cincinnati Bearcats are set to square off in a Thursday night ESPN match-up that has early American Athletic Conference implications. Last season the Cougars won a thrilling game over the then visiting Bearcats inside TDECU Stadium. This year the Cougars are heading into Nippert Stadium to look to continue their roll.
As is the case each week, we reach out to a member of the media, usually from out Scout family, to answer five questions for us on the Cougars opponent that week. This week we have J.T. Smith from Bearcat Insider here on the Scout network.
What has the road win over Purdue appeared to have done for the Bearcats' confidence heading into their game with Houston?
The road win at Purdue seems to have done wonders for the Bearcats confidence. After a rough outing at home at UT Martin a lot of people were scared they were going to look ahead to Houston, especially after Houston knocked off Oklahoma in the fashion they did, but I think Cincinnati is in a good place mentally after taking care of business on the road.
For those who are just realizing Hayden Moore, not Gunner Kiel, is the starter for the Bearcats, what are his strengths and what is he continuing to develop.
Hayden Moore so far seems to be a leader, nobody has a bad thing to say about him and he seems calm and relaxed. His strengths are his short, intermediate throws, the ability to make throws on the move and make some plays with his feet.
He needs to continue to work on the deep ball accuracy, he’s missed a few home run throws by over throwing a tad, but I think that’s something that will continue to improve throughout the year.
What is one position group on each side of the ball for the Bearcats that you feel must be successful Thursday night for them to come away with a win?
Offensive line, on offense and defensive line, on defense not to sound cliché, but the line of scrimmage will be important if the Cougars manhandle the Bearcats at the point of attack it will be a long night. If the Bearcats stay sturdy and do some manhandling themselves they will have a strong chance at the pulling off the upset.
What do you expect the Bearcat’s approach to containing Greg Ward Jr to be?
I expect the defensive ends to try to keep contain with a discipline pass rush all night. Depending on the coverage in the backend Ward might see some linebacker spys on occasion.
Do you expect the crowd to be factor in Thursday night’s game?
I expect the crowd to play a major part in the game with Houston being ranked #6 in the nation, #BearcatNation is going to go crazy Thursday night. If the Bearcats can get off to a fast start it will feed into the “Bearcat Ruckus” at Nippert and make it that much louder.
Prediction from J.T.: Prediction is upset... 30-27 Bearcats.