FACTS & STATS: Site: Rentschler Field (40,000) — East Hartford, Connecticut.
Television: CBSSN. Home Record: UC 4-1, UConn 2-3. Away Record: UC 2-2, UConn
0-3. Neutral Record: UC 0-0, UConn 0-1. Conference Record: UC 4-1, UConn 1-4.
Series Record: Cincinnati leads, 7-2.
GAME NOTES: Coming off a thrilling win over East Carolina, the Cincinnati
Bearcats will be out to continue their recent surge when they face the
Connecticut Huskies in an American Athletic Conference clash at Rentschler
Cincinnati, which was considered the favorite to win the conference by some in
the preseason, is finally back in that discussion. The Bearcats have ripped of
four straight victories, and none was more impressive than their 54-46 triumph
against formerly nationally-ranked ECU last Thursday. They are now 6-3 overall
and 4-1 in conference, which is tied with UCF for second place in the league
standings, a half game back of Memphis.
UConn has been headed in the opposite direction this season, with an overall
record of just 2-7 and a league mark of 1-4. The Huskies did pull off a
surprise win over UCF on Nov. 1 (37-26), but followed that up with a 35-21
loss to Army the following week. They have been off since that setback, their
sixth in the last seven games, giving them ample opportunity to prepare for
this weekend’s matchup.
Brandon Kay threw for four touchdowns and an even 300 yards as the Bearcats
flew past UConn last season by a score of 41-16. Cincinnati has now won seven
of nine all-time meetings with the Huskies.
Cincinnati’s matchup with ECU featured the two best offenses in the AAC, with
the Pirates first (552.8 ypg) and the Bearcats second (479.2 ypg) in total
yards. The showdown did not disappoint, with the team’s combining for 1,165
yards. The Bearcats had 586 of those yards, despite running 16 fewer plays
than the Pirates.
Gunner Kiel may have been picked off three times in the win, but he also threw
for a season-high 436 yards to go with four touchdowns on 65.9 percent
passing. Kiel had slowed down since a hot start to the campaign, as he had
just one 300-yard game in the five outings prior to playing ECU. In all, Kiel
has amassed 2,485 yards and 25 touchdowns compared to 10 interceptions, while
connecting on just over 60 percent of his passes. The Bearcats’ offensive line
has done a good job of keeping him upright, with only seven sacks allowed with
Kiel under center.
Mekale McKay and Chris Moore maintained their spots at the top of the
receiving depth chart against ECU. McKay (32 receptions, 387 yards, seven TDs)
had been slowed in previous weeks, but he erupted for 172 yards and two
touchdowns on nine receptions against the Pirates. Moore (24 receptions, 548
yards, six TDs) finished with 97 yards and four receptions a game after
failing to record a catch. Shaw Washington (47 receptions, 510 yards, three
TDs) and Max Morrison (36 receptions, 380 yards, four TDs) are both important
parts of the offense as well.
Mike Boone (402 yards, four TDs) and Rod Moore (394 yards, four TDs) share the
rushing duties for the Bearcats. Moore nearly eclipsed the 100-yard mark for
the second straight game against ECU, finishing with 99 yards and a score.
Boone had only 45 yards in the win, ending a two-game streak with at least 110
While the offense has been humming along, Cincinnati’s defense has work to do
if it hopes to help the team win the league crown. The Bearcats are next-to-
last in the AAC in yards allowed (487.1 ypg) and third-worst in points allowed
It is likely that UConn will have trouble keeping up with Cincinnati
offensively. The Huskies are not the worst offensive team in the AAC — no,
that distinction belongs to winless SMU. However, the Huskies are only
producing 289 yards per game. On the bright side, they have tallied at least
300 yards in each of the last three games.
Chandler Whitmer did just about everything for UConn in the loss to Army. He
threw for 170 yards and two touchdowns, although that effort was marred by two
interceptions. In addition, he rushed for a team-high 68 yards and a
touchdown. Whitmer is only averaging 163.4 passing yard per game and has
thrown for 11 touchdowns compared to six interceptions, while completing 56.3
percent of his pass attempts.
Geremy Davis gets the bulk of those passes, with 34 receptions for 436 yards
and three touchdowns. Davis leads the Huskies in the first two categories,
even though his longest reception of the season went for 39 yards. Deshon Foxx
(26 receptions, 364 yards, TD) is a bigger deep threat, while Noel Thomas (17
receptions, 232 yards, four TDs) tops the roster in touchdown catches.
Ron Johnson (228 yards, two TDs) rushed for 48 yards on six carries against
Army. He is suddenly the leading rusher this season, with Max DeLorenzo (223
yards) right behind him.
UConn has put up more of a fight on defense than offense. The Huskies rank
sixth in the AAC in both yards (369.3 ypg) and points allowed (27.7 ppg).
Even with its solid core on defense, the Huskies don’t have the personnel to
slow down the Bearcats. Expect Kiel to find receivers easily once again, and
for Cincinnati to extend its winning streak.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cincinnati 38, Connecticut 17