#50 Cincinnati Football 2013 Preview

Cincinnati Bearcats

Overall Rank: #50
#4 American

Cincinnati Team Page#50 Cincinnati Football 2013 PreviewBuy Cincinnati Football Tickets

Coach Tommy Tuberville inherited a pretty good group and the Bearcats should be among the top teams in the new American Athletic Conference. The pressure will be on running back Ralph Abernathy to turn into the featured back. Last year it was the now departed George Winn who paved the way for the offense, tallying 1,334 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. Abernathy rushed for 366 yards on 69 carries. He is a shifty little playmaker, but is better off as a change of pace back. That leaves room for Tion Green, Rodriguez Moore and Hosey Williams to make an impact and one of them will have to step up and be productive on the ground.

2012 Record: (10-3, 5-2)
2012 Bowl: Belk Bowl vs. Duke (W 48-34)
Coach: Tommy Tuberville (0-0 at Cincinnati, 130-77 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Eddie Gran
Defensive Coordinator: Art Kaufman

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Ralph Abernathy, RB, 366 yards
Passing: Munchie Legaux, QB, 1,716 yards
Receiving: Anthony McClung, WR, 539 yards
Tackles: Greg Blair, LB, 138
Sacks: Adrian Witty, DB, 3.0
Interceptions: Arryn Chenault, S, 3

Other Key Returnees: QB Brendon Kay, OL Eric Lefeld, OL Austen Bujnoch, C Dan Sprague, OL Sam Longo, OL Parker Ehinger, DT Jordan Stepp, LB Nick Temple, CB Deven Drane, K Tony Miliano

Key Losses: RB George Winn, TE Travis Kelce, WR Kenbrell Thompkins, WR Damon Julian, LB Maalik Bomar, DB Camerron Cheatham, DL Dan Giordano, DL Walter Stewart

Except for the question at running back, the offense is strong. Quarterbacks Brendon Kay and Munchie Legaux are back to lead what should be a potent passing attack. Kay took over the team after Legaux proved to be inconsistent. Kay completed 63.0 percent of his passes and totaled ten touchdowns and just two interceptions. Kay often took the safe route and tried to avoid mistakes. It worked, but look for Kay to have more confidence now that he is relatively entrenched as the starter and attempt to make some of the tougher passes. Legaux, with his elusive legs and his cool name, will be breathing down his neck though. Senior receiver Anthony McClung will be the new top receiver. Replacing tight end Travis Kelce, who led the team with 45 receptions for 722 yards and eight scores, could be a problem though. Kay almost always could dump the ball down to Kelce if he wanted to avoid a riskier pass. Blake Annen is a big target and full of potential, although it is asking a lot of him to be the next Kelce. Kay and company will have a lot of time to operate as Cincinnati returns all five starters to an offensive line that allowed a mere 15 sacks all of last year. The unit, led by tackle Eric Lefeld and guard Austen Bujnoch, will be the best in the conference.

The Bearcats defense was extremely productive last season. They allowed just 18.46 points per game. However, the pass defense was susceptible, ranking eight in the Big East. Cornerback Deven Drane and strong safety Arryn Chenault are experienced seniors and will lead the unit. Chenault picked off three passes in 2012 and has some potential to be a playmaker in the secondary. The defensive backs could stand to find somebody who has a ball hawk mentality. The linebackers could make up for the lack of big plays. Greg Blair is one of the most productive all-around linebackers in the country. Last season he tallied 138 tackles, two interceptions, 2.5 sacks, 9.0 tackles-for-loss, four quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and broke up six passes. He could be even more dangerous with Jeff Luc, a highly touted transfer from Florida State. The line must replace a bevy of talent, including sack leaders Walter Stewart and Dan Giordano. Sophomore Silverberry Mouhon has the potential to help tackle Jordan Stepp at least make the line not a huge weakness.

The Bottom Line:
The Bearcats schedule lends itself to another big season. They do play Louisville at home and miss UCF entirely. Trips to South Florida, Rutgers and Houston will not be easy, although they are all winnable games for Cincinnati. The defense did a superb job of bending and not breaking in 2012. That is always a difficult concept to continue and the secondary could be susceptible to the big play if the line fails to find new pass rushing threats. The result could be more touchdowns and less field goal attempts from the opposition and a couple extra losses for Cincinnati.

Projected Bowl: Pinstripe Bowl

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 201.46 (30th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 238.77 (54, 4)
Total Offense: 440.23 (36, 2)
Scoring Offense: 32.31 (39, 1)
Rushing Defense: 135.62 (30, 3)
Pass Defense: 252.46 (89, 8)
Total Defense: 388.08 (54, 6)
Scoring Defense: 18.46 (14, 2)
Turnover Margin: 0.69 (23, 4)
Sacks: 2.31 (42, 21)
Sacks Allowed: 1.31 (26, 3)


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