Cincinnati Bearcats 2015 Preview

Previewing BYU’s game against the Cincinnati Bearcats

The Cougars are back to their winning games after a thrilling 45-38 W over the East Carolina Pirates. BYU saw great production in all assets of the offense from Tanner Mangum, Devon Blackmon, and Algie Brown. Tanner left the game for the majority of the fourth quarter after injuring his hamstring but was able to come in for one final drive and lead the Cougars to victory. The defense looked good in the first half, but they struggled in the fourth quarter, mostly due to fatigue from being out on the field for so long, as well as a lack of depth in the secondary and Travis Tuiloma being held out. BYU should have more personnel to keep them competitive against Cincinatti

The Bearcats are coming off of bye week following a big home win against the Miami Hurricanes. They were pretty banged up against Miami with QB Gunner Kiel, RB Mike Boone, WRs Johnny Holton Jr and Chris Moore all being held out. Kiel and Boone are both expected to return with a big impact for the offense, but not without controversy. Backup QB Hayden Moore has impressed in his playing time, he’s been so impressive that he’s created a QB competition with Kiel. BYU doesn’t know who to expect but both are talented passers and will pose a threat for the Cougar secondary.

This is the third and final first-time matchup that BYU will play this year. Cincinnati doesn’t travel west often and this is the furthest the Bearcats have travelled since visiting (and losing to) Fresno State in 2010 under Brian Kelly.

Cincinnati Bearcats 2014 Record: 9-4

vs Toledo 58-34 W

vs Miami (OH) 31-24 W

@ #22 Ohio state 28-50 L

vs Memphis 14-41 L

@ Miami (FL) 34-55 L

@ SMU 41-3 W

vs USF 34-17 W

@ Tulane 38-14

vs East Carolina 54-46 W

@ Connecticut 41-0 W

@ Temple 14-6 W

vs Houston 38-31 W

vs Virginia Tech 17-33 L *Bowl

Bronco Mendenhall vs. Tommy Tuberville

Tommy Tuberville

Season: 20th (3rd UC)

Record: 151-87

      UC: 21-10

Away: 52-42

      UC: 9-5

vs Non-Conf: 65-15

      UC: 8-5

Bronco Mendenhall:

Season: 11th

Record: 94-41

Home: 53-11

vs AAC: 20-5

vs non-P5: 75-20

East Carolina depth chart


QB: Gunner Kiel OR Hayden Moore

RB: Tion Green OR Hosey Williams OR Mike Boone

LT: Parker Ehinger/Korey Cunningham

LG: Idarius Ray/Will Steur

C: Deyshawn Boyd/David Niehaus

RG: Ryan Leahy/Delonte Murray

RT: Justin Murray/Chad West

TE: DJ Dowdy/Tyler Cogswell

WR: Max Morrison OR Alex Chisum

WR: Johnny Holton Jr OR Mekale McKay

WR: Shaq Washington/Nate Cole

WR: Chris Moore/Alex Chisum


DE: Kimoni Fitz/Marquise Copeland

DT: Cortez Broughton/Lyndon Johnson

DT: Alex Pace/Sione Tongamoa

DE: Silverberry Mouhon/Kevin Houhon

WLB: Eric Wilson/Kevin Brown

MLB: Bryce Jenkinson/Jaylyin Minor

SLB: Mike Tyson/Davon Witherspoon

BLB: Jordan Williams/Ray Tillman

CB: Leviticus Payne/Jarred Evans

S: Tyrell Gilbert/Carter Jacobs

S: Zach Edwards/Malik Clements

CB: Alex Thomas/Linden Stephens

Special Teams:

Punter: Sam Geraci

Kicker: Andrew Gantz

Kick Off: Andrew Gantz

LS: Kirk Willis

PR: Shaq Washington/Max Morrison

KR: Johnny Holton Jr/Chris Moore

Holder: Sam Geraci


Cincinnati runs a spread offense very similar to what BYU saw against Memphis last year. They are well known for their air raid system but they will also mix in the read option to pick up their yards on the ground. Their backs haven’t been overly impressive this season, but they expect to return Mike Boone who has been the most explosive running back but has been out with injury since the Bearcats game against Miami (OH). Fans can expect a high scoring game between two explosive offenses from BYU and Cincinnati.

Cincinnati has two talented QBs who will put up big numbers through the air, depending on who plays. Gunner Kiel returned from 2014 as the starter and is one of the most highly-touted NFL prospects at the QB position, but he’s been usurped by back up Hayden Moore who has been outstanding over the last two games filling in for the injured Kiel. Both QBs can make all kinds of throws and spread the ball to their talented receiver core, but they have slightly different tendencies that lead to their success. Kiel is a very aggressive QB and isn’t afraid to throw the ball into tight windows, there have been times that it has paid off but he’s also given up a lot of turnovers. Moore on the other hand provides a little more versatility when Cincinnati runs the read option and will pull the ball to either run or throw a swing pass. Moore’s abilities gives Cincinnati a much better chance in this game against BYU.

Cincinnati’s backfield lacks the luster that the rest of their offense does. The team will rotate three backs. Tion Green is a powerful runner while Mike Boone is their speed back and Hosey Williams is a combo back who will feature both traits. Green leads the team in carries followed by Williams, then Boone who is returning from injury. Boone has been slated as Cincinnati’s best back and is averaging 9.6 YPC and had 4 carries for 118 yds against Miami (OH) before being injured. The Bearcats will run the read option and the best chance for success that BYU will have is to contain them on the inside by bringing two players off the edge so the QB and RB are unable to make any big plays.

The WR position is where Cincinnati boasts it’s best playmakers. The Bearcats spread the ball around and have up to seven receivers that they can rely on for consistent play, in four of their five games, the leading receiver has been a different player. They are led by Shaq Washington who is a small, shifty receiver out of the slot and is projected to finish the season as the all-time leader in receptions at Cincinnati, his ability is almost a combination of the skill sets of Mitch Juergens and Devon Blackmon. Max Morrison, Alex Chisum, Chris Moore, and Mekale McKay are all dependable playmakers who will impact the game in different facets. Morrison and Chisum will be given opportunities to get the ball in their hands and make plays afterwards. Moore and McKay are deep threats who have good size and can elevate above defenders to make plays on the ball. There have been some injury concerns as Johnny Holton Jr and Chris Moore missed the last game against Miami (FL) but they are plenty deep to make up for the losses. All of these players are big, physical, and have good speed. Between this group, they have 102 catches for 1,537 yds.

Cincinnati has a serviceable OL. They struggle in run blocking but are good in pass blocking, mostly because the long drops that their QBs take and they get rid of the ball quickly. Their two most talented OL are Deyshawn Bond at C who started 10 games as a Soph last year and LT Parker Ehinger who moved over from RT and started 12 games last season. These two should offer a challenge for two of BYU’s best defenders in Travis Tuiloma and Bronson Kaufusi.

2014 Team Stats:

Points Scored Per Game: 34.0

      2015: 39.0

Rushing Yardage: 2035

      Returning for 2015: 1369 (67.3%)

      2015: 1005

Receiving Yardage: 3947

      Returning for 2015: 3586 (90.9%)

      2015: 1929

Passing Yardage: 3947

      Returning for 2015: 3295 (83.5%)

      2015: 1929

Total Offense: 9929

      Returning for 2015: 7886 (79.4%)

      2015: 4863

Fumbles: 14

      Recovered: 6

      Lost: 8

      2015: 7 (5 lost)

Interceptions: 14

      Returning for 2015: 13

      2015: 10

Sacks Allowed: 18 (-119 yds)

      2015: 6 (-27 yds)

First Downs: 310

        Rushing: 103

        Passing: 185

        Penalty: 22

2015: 161

      Rushing: 54

      Passing: 93

      Penalty: 14

Third Down Conversion: 73/177 (41.2%)

      2015: 32/67 (47.8%)

Fourth Down Conversion: 11/16 (68.6%)

      2015: 1/1 (100%)

Penalties: 59 (-542 yds)

      2015: 38 (-361 yds)

Red Zone Efficiency: 46/51 (90.2%)

      2015: 25/31 (80.6%)

Red Zone TDs: 34/51 (66.7%)

      2015: 16/31 (51.6%)

PAT Attempts: 52/54 (96.3%)

     2015: (21/21) (100%)

Individual Stats:

2015 Season

QB Hayden Moore: 68/114 for 1061 yds, 7 TDs and 5 INTs, 25 carries for 67 yds and 2 TDs; QB Gunner Kiel: 70/111 for 8068 yds, 5 TDs and 5 INTs, 9 carries for 40 yds and 1 TD; RB Tion Green: 76 carries for 383 yds and 3 TDs, 8 receptions for 38 yds; RB Hosey Williams: 67 carries for 351 yds and 2 TDs, 3 receptions for 12 yds; RB Mike Boone: 23 carries for 220 yds and 3 TDs, 1 reception for 11 yds; WR Shaq Washington: 34 receptions for 392 yds, 2 TDs; WR Max Morrison: 24 receptions for 351 yds and 2 TDs; WR Alex Chisum: 19 receptions for 223 yds and 1 TD; WR Chris Moore: 15 receptions for 315 yds and 2 TDs; WR Mekale McKay: 10 receptions for 256 yds, 2 TDs; WR Johnny Holton: 10 receptions for 192 yds and 2 TDs;

2014 Season

RB Chris Hairston: 79 carries for 528 yds and 2 TDs, 6 receptions for 31 yds; RB Marquez Grayson: 47 carries for 289 yds and 5 TDs, 3 receptions for 9 yds and 1 TD; RB Anthony Scott: 55 carries for 268 yds and 3 TDs, 5 receptions for 22 yds; WR Isaiah Jones:81 receptions for 830 yds and 5 TDs; WR Trevon Brown: 14 receptions for 264 yds and 4 TDs; WR Davon Grayson: 25 receptions for 257 yds; WR Jimmy Williams: 22 receptions for 254 yds and 1 TD; TE Bryce Williams: 18 receptions for 237 yds and 4 TDs;


Cincinnati plays a 4-3 defense which has struggled this year. Through 5 games, they have given up 30.6 ppg and 397.5 ypg. Coach Tuberville has had a hard time getting consistent play out of his secondary and linebacker core and has opted to trade experience for younger, more athletic players. The DL has played the most consistent so far, but they’ve struggled against the run giving up 167 ypg on the ground. The Cougars should have a great opportunity to beat this defense if they can get a consistent run game out of Algernon Brown and Francis Bernard.

The Bearcats have gotten the most consistent play out of their DL, even though they only return one starter from 2014 in DE Silverberry Mouhon. They don’t have a ton of size up front, their two DTs are 295 and the players on the edge are both around 250 lbs so they won’t offer a physical challenge for the Cougars. They have struggled in games to fight through blocks and make tackles, so it’ll be interesting to see how they match up against BYU as they may have the best OL they will face so far this year.

The Bearcats don’t return any LBs from their ’14 squad that provided consistent play. Mike Tyson lead the group from ’14 in tackles with 41 and had .5 TFL. This year, the Bearcats have depended on the play of Bryce Jenkinson and Eric Wilson at the LB spots. BYU should be able to control this inexperienced group and exploit them to move the ball.

Cincinnati returns the majority of their experience in the defensive secondary this season, yet they’ve struggled with consistent play this season. Heading into their game against Memphis, Coach Tuberville decided to switch out some of the more experienced starters for younger, more athletic players. The only mainstay has been S Zach Edwards who is very versatile and leads the team in INTs and PBUs while also sitting at second in tackles. The Bearcats also lose their best defensive back in Adrian Witty who has faced injury issues throughout his career. They struggled against Memphis giving up 412 yds and 2 TDs on the road, but were able to rebound and hold Miami to only 281 yds through the air. After a BYE week, it’ll be interesting to see if the secondary continues with their resurgence from the youth movement or if they will struggle against BYU’s talented WR core.

2014 Team Stats:

Points Allowed Per Game: 27.2

      2015: 30.6

Turnover Ratio: 24:22

      2015: 4:15

Forced Fumbles: 13

      Returning for 2015: 4

      Fumbles Recovered: 16

      Returning for 2015: 7

      2015: 3 forced, 2 recovered

Interceptions: 8

      Returning for 2015: 6

      2015: 2

Sacks: 35 (-263 yds)

      Returning for 2015: 12 (-97 yds)

      2015: 6 (-43 yds)

TFL: 72 (-268 yds)

      Returning for 2015: 28 (-171 yds)

      2015: 22 (-78 yds)

QBH: 25

      Returning for 2015: 9

      2015: 11

PBU: 49

      Returning for 2015: 34

      2015: 19

INTs: 8 (-146 yds)

      Returning for 2015: 6 (-146 yds)

      2015: 2 (-30 yds)

TDs allowed: 40

      Rushing: 18

      Passing: 22

2o15: 16

      Rushing: 7

      Passing: 9

First Downs Allowed: 287

      Rushing: 132

      Passing: 142

      Penalty: 13

2015: 87

      Rushing: 37

      Passing: 45

      Penalty: 5

Third Down Conversion: 86/195 (44.1%)

      2015: 18/70 (25.7%)

Fourth Down Conversion: 7/17 (41.2%)

      2015: 4/8 (50%)

Red Zone Efficiency: 38/52 (73.1%)

      2015: 20/22 (90.9%)

Red Zone TDs: 23/52 (44.2%)

      2015: 12/22 (54.5%)

PAT Attempts: 40/0 (100%)

      2015: 16/17 (94.1%)

Key Defensive Players:

2015 Season

WLB Eric Wilson: 52 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 PBU, 2 QBH, 1 FF, 1 FR; S Zach Edwards: 28 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 INT, 3 PBU; MLB Bryce Jenkinson: 21 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PBU; WLB Kevin Brown: 20 tackles, .5 TFL, 1 PBU; DE Silverberry Mouhon: 18 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 sack, 2 QBH; CB Leviticus Payne: 16 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 PBU, 1 FR, 1 FF; DT Cortez Broughton: 14 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 PBU, 1 QBH; DT Alex Pace: 12 tackles, 2 TFL, 3 QBH; S Andre Jones: 12 tackles, 1 INT, 1 PBU;

2014 Season

S Zach Edwards: 121 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2 INTs, 6 PBU; CB Leviticus Payne: 57 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 7 PBU, 1 INT, 1 QBH; CB Grant Coleman: 56 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 PBU; DE Silverberry Mouhon: 46 tackles, 5 TFL, 4 sacks, 1 PBU, 3 QBH; S Andre Jones: 44 tackles, 3 TFL, 6 PBU, 1 INT; SLB Mike Tyson: 41 tackles, .5 TFL, 1 PBU; WLB Kevin Brown: 30 tackles for 2 TFL, 1 sack, 5 PBU, 1 QBH; WLB Eric Wilson: 30 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2 QBH;

Special Teams:

Cincinnati returns their full team of specialists from last season. Headlining the group is Shaq Washington who already has 1 TD on a punt return. Johnny Holton also returns as the primary kick returner and avg’s 22 yds per return, he’ll be alongside Chris Moore who has 4 returns for 111 yds and a long of 36 yds on the season.

As for the Kicking and Punting duties, Sam Geraci returns from ’14 with 15 punts inside the 20 and has put 7 inside the 20 so far this season. Kickoff and PAT duties will be handled by Andrew Gantz. Gantz was 16/20 last year and had a long FG on the season of 47 yds last season and was 52/54 on PATs. This year, he is 21/21 on PATs and 12/14 on FG’s


Andrew Gantz: 52/54 PAT, 16/20 FG (1-29: 5/5, 30-39: 6-7, 40+: 5/8) lg 47


Andrew Gantz: 21/21 PAT, 12/14 FG (1-29: 4/5, 30-39: 4/4, 40+: 4/5) lg 51

Kickoffs (2015):

Andrew Gantz: 37 KO, 2362 yds, 63.8 avg, 11 TB, 1 OOB, 24 ydln


Sam Geraci: 51 punts, 2007 yds, 39.4 yds, 60 lg, 13 FC, 15 in20, 7 50+


Sam Geraci: 17 punts, 791 yds, 46.5 avg, 62 lg, 2 FC, 7 in20, 7 50+

Kick Returns (2014):

Johnny Holton: 35 returns for 722 yds, 20.6 avg, 46 lg


Johnny Holton: 10 returns for 220 yds, 22 avg, 40 lg

Chris Moore: 4 returns for 111 yds, 27.8 avg, 36 lg

Punt Returns:

Shaq Washington: 13 returns for 79 yds, 6.1 avg, 46 lg


Shaq Washington: 6 returns for 96 yds, 16 avg, 69 lg


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