The Cincinnati Bearcats of the American Athletic Conference will take on the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Belk Bowl on Saturday, December 28th. UC is 9-3 on the season, losing to Louisville in their last game. Cincy is led on offense by 6th year senior quarterback Brandon Kay, who took over for injured starting QB Munchie Legaux early in the season. On defense, the Bearcats’s LB Greg Blair and DL Silverberry Mouhon lead the way. Blair leads the team in tackles with 96, and Mouhon has the most sacks with 9.5. To get you set up for the Belk Bowl, here is a scouting report of Cincinnati’s defense.
Names to know: Silverberry Mouhon, Jordan Stepp
Cincinnati’s defense is a very solid group, and that solid play starts up front. UC has a lot of talent on the line, and like to attack and drive their ends up the field to disrupt run plays in the backfield. The Bearcats also liked to drive a defensive end up the backfield when defending the read option play against Louisville. The battle between UNC’s read option game and UC’s attacking defense will be interesting to watch.
One of the keys to victory for UNC will be establishing a run game in the Belk Bowl. UC likes to run a 4-2-5 scheme on defense, like Carolina does, and can be vulnerable in defending the run when using a two high safety look. Zach Edwards, the Bearcat’s star safety, is active in the run game, but look for UNC to try and run the ball whenever UC shows that two high safety look.
Names to know: Greg Blair, Nick Temple
Blair is the best player on this defense at the linebacker position and will factor heavily into the game Saturday. He is a tackle machine at linebacker, flying all over the field for this Cincy defense. The big question is whether Blair or Temple will be able to match up with Eric Ebron on the outside. Blair is shorter than Ebron at 6’2″, and slower. Watch if the LB core is able to contain Ebron in the Belk Bowl.
Names to know: Zach Edwards, Adrian Witty
Edwards is a very talented true freshman who plays like Tre Boston in some ways. Both Boston and Edwards are very active in the run game and are high volume tacklers. Edwards also has 2 interceptions and 63 total tackles on the season.
One other thing to discuss is how the Bearcat secondary will match up with the tall Tar Heel wideouts in Bug Howard and Quinshad Davis. Edwards and the Cincy secondary did a good job against Louisville neutralizing Louisville’s height advantage at wideout by being physical and using the sideline as an extra defender. Look for this secondary to have no issues with the size of UNC’s wide receiving core.