QB Gunner Kiel
There is no way you can talk about the Bearcats without mentioning Kiel. Through five games he has thrown 18 touchdowns and over 1612 yards. He is completing almost 60 percent of his passes and is averaging 322.4 yards a game. The 6-4 208 pound sophomore has been a little bit of a loose cannon though- he has thrown six interceptions this season. He can make a lot of plays, but he makes a lot of mistakes too. SMU might be able to force him into making some bad decisions, but he’ll still get his stats by the end of the day regardless.
WR Chris Moore
In 2013, despite averaging less than fifty yards a game, Moore managed to find the end zone nine times. This season he already has five, and is averaging 82.8 yards a game. The 6-1, 190 pound junior may not be the Bearcats leading receiver, but his five receiving touchdowns are tied for the team lead and his 414 receiving yards are a team high. He has certainly come into his own this year and has continued to produce points for Cincinnati. Look for him and Kiel to connect several times for some big plays.
WR MeKale McKay
Last season McKay only made 16 catches in 13 games, but seven of those catches were for touchdowns. Just like Moore, McKay has responded to the increased looks and is continuing to make big plays. The 6-6 195 pound junior is tied with Moore in touchdowns with five, and is second in total receiving yards with 321. Moore and McKay will take looks away from each other, but they will both make the most of their opportunities. Expect the tandem to have a major impact on the outcome of the game.
The 6-3 246 pound senior is the Bearcats best pass rusher. In five games, he has four sacks, four tackles for a loss, one fumble recovery and 10 solo tackles He is pretty good at pressuring the quarterback and SMU hasn’t been the best at protecting theirs. He might not get a bunch of sacks on Saturday, but he could create enough pressure to make a significant impact.
LB Jeff Luc
Luc is arguably the Bearcats best player on the defensive side of the ball. Like most of Cincinnati’s impact players in 2014, he had a limited role with the team in 2013- only recording 43 total tackles in 13 games. In just five games this season, he has already surpassed last year’s total and leads the team with 67 tackles. The 6-1 256 pound senior also adds 3.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, 1.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass defended to his season totals. Luc is a monster athlete who is always around the football. Its hard to imagine him having a quiet afternoon when the Bearcats come to the Hilltop on Saturday.
Tuberville postgame press conference after loss to Miami