The North Carolina Tar Heels will be taking on Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl on December 28th. Cincinnati ranks 15th in the nation in passing offense with 313.8 passing yards per game and 67th in rushing yards with 168.5 per game. The Bearcats are led by senior quarterback Brandon Kay, who has thrown for over 3,000 yards and 22 touchdowns this season. Here is a scouting report on the Cincinnati offense.
Names to know: Brandon Kay
Stats to know: On the season, Kay has a passer rating of 155.5, completing 68.6% of his passes and throwing 22 TDs on 11 interceptions.
Kay has been pretty good this season for Cincinnati and has racked up some nice stats. Kay is everything you would expect a 6th year senior to be- poised, unlikely to make mental mistakes, and solid, but not amazing, at everything. He is at his best in the pocket, so UNC must get pressure on Kay and get him outside the pocket to force inaccurate throws.
Kay has been better at home this season- his completion percentage is ten points lower on the road (64.5) than at home (74.5). The Belk Bowl obviously won’t be a home game, so we will see how Kay performs away from his home turf.
Two other tidbits to note are that Cincy runs the wildcat with Jordan Luallen, which the Cincy staff calls its “bearcat” set. Luallen usually takes a direct snap and runs the ball, so don’t be alarmed if you see Luallen running out on third and short. Also, Kay has been known to surprise punt the ball from the QB position. The Bearcats might use this trick punt to neutralize the effect that Ryan Switzer could have in the return game.
Names to know: Hosey Williams
Stats to know: Williams has ran for 608 yards, 4 TDs, and 5.8 yards per attempt.
Hosey Williams is a solid running back who has good balance and runs hard for the Bearcats. Cincy leans more on the passing game, but keeps the defense off guard by mixing in some draws to keep the linebackers honest. If Cincinnati can effectively run the ball in the game Saturday, its going to be a long game for UNC. The Heels have to stop the run game and put Brandon Kay in third and long situations, not third and shorts.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
Names to know: Anthony McClung, Shaq Washington
Stats to know: Both McClung and Washington are averaging at least 10 yards per catch this season. They have six TD receptions between themselves.
McClung and Washington are both very talented slot receivers in this Bearcat offense. They are explosive and the two main targets for Brandon Kay. Travis Hughes and the UNC linebacking core will have their hands full keeping up with these two speedsters. Hughes especially will have some trouble, as he struggled covering Jamison Crowder in the slot against Duke.
Names to know: Austen Bujnoch
The Cincinnati offensive line is a solid and veteran group. They have struggled at times protecting Bradon Kay, but overal have come together nicely this season and put together a good body of work. Bujnoch is the best lineman on the team; look for the Bearcats to run lots of power and wildcat plays with Jordan Luallen behind the senior Bujnoch. UNC will bring pressure all game trying to rattle this O-Line and to get to the QB Kay.