Right from the beginning of this game, things were going the RedHawks' way. For every Cincinnati drive, great play, or score, Miami answered right back with one of their own. The Bearcats began their day with a seven play, 73 yard drive that took just over two minutes. Running back Tion Green and quarterback Gunner Kiel picked holes all over the RedHawks defense and were up 7-0 right off the bat. First-year starter Drew Kummer, however, led Miami 75 yards down the field in just under three minutes to even it up. The game would remain back and forth throughout the day. A defensive stop by the Bearcats yielded a defensive stop by the RedHawks. When UC scored, Miami answered back.
Trailing 14-10 in the second quarter, Miami's multiple-quarterback offense started to click. While Kummer, a redshirt senior, is the best of both worlds, Chuck Martin uses his other two play callers a lot as well. Redshirt freshman Gus Ragland, primarily used for rushing purposes, came in and executed a perfect read option to gain 36 yards. The highly touted true freshman Billy Bahl then entered under center and placed a beautiful pass to sophomore Sam Martin for 40 yards. Down on the Cincinnati 14 yard line, a fake shovel pass opened the middle up Bahl to make an easy pass to tight end Ryan Smith which gave the 'Hawks their first lead of the night.
Kiel led the Bearcats right back down the field, but facing a 1st down on their own 17, the RedHawks dug in and made them settle for a game-tying field goal. After a touchback on the ensuing kickoff, Kummer hit Martin for a 75-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the drive. A missed PAT would keep the score 23-17 Miami. The quickness of this drive gave Cincinnati ample time to drive down and score again, again with the power of Kiel's arm through the air. The Bearcats made their extra point and would take a 24-23 lead into the locker room.
On Cincinnati's first drive in the second half, Gunner Kiel was hit after throwing a pass and had to be helped off the field. A roughing the passer was called on the RedHawks. The attention then turned to true freshman Hayden Moore, whose job was to protect and extend the winning streak UC has over Miami in one of the oldest rivalries in college football. A combination of Miami's defense stepping up and Moore, looking sloppy, the RedHawks forced four turnovers from the Bearcats in the 4th quarter (two interceptions, two fumbles). In fact, the jitters made their way to the RedHawks' side of the ball too, as Kummer threw an interception in addition to missing his receivers on some crucial passes.
The deciding factor in this game came when Moore turned the ball over on a fumble on his own 7 yard line. The RedHawks had every opportunity to cash in and really send panic through Bearcat nation, but they settled for a field goal instead. Further, Moore would throw a pick on the next drive and hand it right back over the 'Hawks. With just over five minutes left, leading by three, and with possession, the RedHawks ran a hurry up offense that led to a three-and-out and a measly 1:25 taken off the clock.
Moore would trot out to the field and complete four passes for 50 yards, looking completely different than he did earlier, eventually sneaking into the end zone to take the lead 37-33. Kummer simply could not find any open receivers when he needed to and the Bearcats forced a turnover on downs to seal their 10th straight win over Miami.
The story of the game was offense, as the two teams racked up 993 total yards. Kummer, again showing impressive poise at quarterback, 11-25 with 186 yards and three touchdowns to one interception. Receiver Sam Martin gained 124 yards on just four receptions. The young running back contingent looked good against the Bearcat defense, with four guys rushing for at least 45 yards. The Miami offensive line provided ample protection for their quarterbacks and running backs throughout the night. Something to watch, however, is the health of starting tackle Colin Buchanan, who was carted off the field late in the game.
For Cincinnati, sophomore Mike Boone powered his way to 118 yards and one score on the ground. Senior Hosey Williams picked up 81 yards as well. Before exiting, Kiel was 15-26 for 145 yards and a touchdown. Moore entered and went 7-14 with 118 yards and two picks. The UC passers found plenty of openings in the Miami secondary, as was the case for the RedHawks against Wisconsin and even Presbyterian. While they buckled down and really looked good at points, there were simply too many passes completed with nobody in range to contend.
Miami played non-conference opponent Western Kentucky next week before entering #MACtion at Kent State on October 3rd.