2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The Cincinnati Offense
Redo the offensive line. The Bearcats have the skill guys, especially in the backfield, and the receiving corps will be fine with a little time – as long as a No. 1 target emerges.
The passing game could stand to do a little more, but that’s nitpicking – the Bearcats will happily take another offensive season like 2018. However, that’s not happening unless the O line rebuilds in a hurry.
Only one starters is back, but all the top reserves from last season return. It’ll take the fall camp to find the right starting five, but the cohesion has to be there from the start and the pass protection needs to be a wee bit stronger.
Biggest Key To The Cincinnati Defense
A bit more of a pass rush would be nice. The Bearcat defense was fantastic last year despite the sporadic pressure on the quarterback – when it rained, it poured.
UC destroyed the UCLA offensive line with five sacks, and after Navy got down big, its pass protection went bye-bye, too. The sacks came in waves with one sack or fewer in five games, and with none in the loss to Temple.
With the three new starters up front, and with three of the top four pass rushers done, new playmakers have to emerge.
Key Player To A Successful Season
PK Cole Smith, Soph.
Or Ryan Jones, or Grant Simon. No matter what, someone has to step up and change the abysmal kicking game. At some point, UC will need a game-winning field goal.
The two losses weren’t because of the kicking game, but Smith went 1-for-6 on field goals in the two defeats, missing three in the 24-17 loss to Temple.
The offense worked just fine, but the Bearcats didn’t come up with a made field goal over the final five games of the season with Smith missing six of the last eight tries. On the year, he connected on five of his 12 attempts, and three of the made kicks were from 28 yards or closer.
Key Game To The Cincinnati Season
UCF, Oct. 4
There are a whole slew of rough conference road games over the second half of the year. Lose at home to UCF, and the promising season could quickly turn into a disaster. There’s a trip to Marshall the week before dealing with the Knights, and a date at Houston right after. The Bearcats have lost the last three games against UCF 113-39 – that’s not good.
– Cincinnati Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 Cincinnati Fun Stats
– 3rd Quarter Scoring: Cincinnati 114 – Opponents 48
– 3rd Down Conversions: Cincinnati 96-of-197 (49%) – Opponents 55-of-194 (28%)
– Penalties: Cincinnati 107 for 958 yards – Opponents 81 for 711 yards