Cincinnati vs NC State Preview: First Big OOC Game

I’m feeling much too cynical about things to really draw this out, so we’ll keep it short and let everyone comment on how they feel about the game.  First, a little housekeeping… Cincinnati is spelled with three I’s and three N’s.  If you can’t spell Cincinnati, just say ‘Cincy’ or ‘the Bearcats’ or ‘that other offense tearing up our secondary’.

Cincinnati’s Record

As you may recall, we did a pretty good job of ripping Cincy a new one last year (30-19), but as O’Brien said, this isn’t last year.  The one thing you can say about Cincy is that they are all about one thing: offense, offense, offense.  Defense is NOT their forte.  Almost sounds familiar.

This season, they’ve played two fluff games and one game @ Tennessee.  So, here is why their record is concerning (and remember I said Cincy is all about offense):

vs Austin-Peay: 72-10 (W)
@ Tenn: 45-23 (L)
vs Akron: 59-14 (W)

A lot of people say you have to take wins against Austin-Peay (‘tuuurible’) and Akron (bottom of their conference) with a grain of salt, but 72 points, regardless of how you cut it, is a s***load of offense to put up against anyone who isn’t a middle school aged rec team.  Even against Tennessee, Cinci still posted 23 points, including two touchdowns (both in the first quarter against Tenn’s starters) and 3 field goals.  What this shows is that Cincy can post points against QUALITY opponents, despite their AWFUL 4-win season in 2010.

The one major thing going for State is Cincy’s head coach, Butch Jones, who in his second year is only 3-9 against FBS programs.  He has a strong, quick team with a lot of options, but isn’t exactly the best coach in the world.  The thing to watch out for is that this is only Butch’s second season at Cincy, so you can’t assume that 3-9 is consistent performance for his team.  The performance thus far supports that.

Cincinnati’s Offense

They run.  Period.  Their quarterback is decent, and I suspect they will use that to spread the field when possible, but they win their games on the running game.  UC has 12 individuals that have posted rushing stats (compared to NC State’s three), 4 of which have posted over 10 carries each for a total of 443 yards.  Now, we have to bear in mind (no pun intended) that there was that Austin Peay game where UC posted 561 yards, but it’s still worth noting that UC has options which is something many have been complaining our team hasn’t taken advantage of on our roster.

I mentioned their quarterback is decent.  He’s averaging around 62.3% for the season averaging 7.5 yards per attempt.  Keep in mind that Glennon, who despite our results is actually doing pretty good, is 64% for 8 yards per attempt.  Even against Tennessee, he was able to complete 61.7% averaging 6.8 yards per attempt.  Not great, but against Tennessee it isn’t trivial either.  The spread of passing-to-rushing is 45% passing and 55% rushing, so expect Cincy to use their passing game only as much as they feel they need to set up the rush.

Cincinnati’s Defense

Remember that Tennessee game?  Yeah, the Vols had 531 total yards in that game.  Tenn was able to complete 83% of their passes, averaging 9.9 yards per attempt.  That is far better than the Tenn QB’s (Bray) seasonal average of 68% averaging for 8.7 yards per attempt.  Don’t get me wrong, Bray was going to demolish UC’s defense anyway, but with inflated numbers like that, you have to look at UC’s inadequate pass defense and notice the problem.

Bottom line is that Cincy is not a defensive powerhouse by any means.  They have a weak pass defense which means they are going to attempt to keep Glennon off the field.  In the final 18 minutes of the Wake Forest game, recall that on a couple 1st and 2nd down passes, Glennon was able to strong-arm an offensive comeback.  Don’t assume Butch Jones hasn’t noticed that.

Bottom Line

Cincy is going to attempt to take advantage of their flexible run-game, keep the time of possession on UC’s side, and do what they can to get NC State off the field quickly.  Time is probably just as large (if not a larger) a factor as defensive efficiency in this game for Jones.  It’s a pretty simple equation that even ESPN is likely to get right: if the defensive line can overcome the personnel loses we’ve suffered and remain still against the run, we’ll do alright.  If we allow Cincy’s passing game to throw us off and become rendered ineffective against the run, we’ll get rolled.  Draw your own conclusions.

Just as O’Brien said, this isn’t last year and the same applies for Cincy.  They are by no means a “great” team, but they have an offense that can get it done.  If the defense isn’t fluid enough to read and adapt to Cincy’s running scheme, it might be a long night.

Thursday at 8:00PM on ESPN.

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67 Responses to Cincinnati vs NC State Preview: First Big OOC Game

  1. TheAliasTroll 09/21/2011 at 9:56 AM #

    Unless the D has tremendously improved, look for us to get our asses kicked tomorrow.

  2. coach13 09/21/2011 at 9:58 AM #

    They did to their FCS opponents what we were anticipating we would do to ours. I have seen nothing to make me optimistic about this game.

  3. coach13 09/21/2011 at 10:00 AM #

    If Glennon can be unleashed, he should be. TOB needs to open it up on offense and score nearly every possesion. If we go 3 and out on the first possesion, we will lose.

  4. baxter 09/21/2011 at 10:01 AM #

    You may want to add information about Jones while at CMU after Kelly left there as well. Might add more insight.

    Rushing Offense: National Rank 2007, 36, per game 180; National Rank 2008, 72, per game 133.69; National Rank 2009, 43, per game 167.64

    Passing Offense: National Rank 2007, 32, per game 267; National Rank 2008, 12, per game 289.77; National Rank 2009, 33, per game 255.5

    Total Offense: National Rank 2007, 21, per game 447; National Rank 2008, 23, per game 423.46; National Rank 2009, 24, per game 423.14

    Scoring Offense: National Rank 2007, 20, per game 34.79; National Rank 2008, 38, per game 29.54; National Rank 2009, 13, per game 33.93

    Rushing Defense: National Rank 2007, 57, per game 156.5; National Rank 2008, 49, per game 136.54; National Rank 2009, 33, per game 122.86

    Pass Efficiency Defense: National Rank 2007, 106, per game 145.61; National Rank 2008, 105, per game 142.93; National Rank 2009, 36, per game 117.46

    Total Defense: National Rank 2007, 109, per game 460; National Rank 2008, 104, per game 423.77; National Rank 2009, 43, per game 344.21

    Scoring Defense: National Rank 2007, 111, per game 36.93; National Rank 2008, 89, per game 30.23; National Rank 2009, 17, per game 18.93

    Net Punting: National Rank 2007, 96, per game 32.91; National Rank 2008, 68, per game 34.56; National Rank 2009, 83, per game 34.63

    Punt Returns: National Rank 2007, 50, per game 9.2; National Rank 2008, 1, per game 20.5; National Rank 2009, 10, per game 13.5

    Kickoff Returns: National Rank 2007, T-59, per game 21.38; National Rank 2008, 93, per game 19.8; National Rank 2009, 81, per game 20.84

    Turnover Margin: National Rank 2007, 30, per game 0.43; National Rank 2008, 42, per game 0.31; National Rank 2009, 33, per game 0.36

    Pass Defense: National Rank 2007, 118, per game 303.5; National Rank 2008, 118, per game 287.23; National Rank 2009, 66, per game 221.36

    Passing Efficiency: National Rank 2007, 39, per game 132.73; National Rank 2008, 18, per game 147.84; National Rank 2009, 14, per game 146.96

    Sacks: National Rank 2007, 94, per game 1.64; National Rank 2008, 14, per game 2.69; National Rank 2009, 57, per game 1.93

    Tackles For Loss: National Rank 2007, 84, per game 5.64; National
    Rank 2008, 61, per game 5.69; National Rank 2009, 100, per game 4.71

    Sacks Allowed: National Rank 2007, 36, per game ; National Rank 2008, 90, per game ; National Rank 2009, 20, per game

  5. primacyone 09/21/2011 at 10:03 AM #

    Could be a very painful night – especially for the right side of our DL.

    However, if we can get there O to turn the ball over a couple of times, we might have a chance. I expect they will dominate the Time of Possession, so absolutly can not afford to turn the ball over on our end.

    Maddox better have the game of his life if we’ve got a shot. Frankly, I like him better for the job in this game anyway as I think he plays the run much better than Manning.

  6. waxhaw 09/21/2011 at 10:05 AM #

    Open up the passing game on offense. Stop their Run.

    Those are two things we are capable of doing to have a shot at winning this game.

    I think we win. Wake exploited our weaknesses and played a great game.

  7. baxter 09/21/2011 at 10:06 AM #

    Just to add to those numbers, basically, Jones tends to improve in his second year, and significantly in his 3rd year as a coach across the board.

    Now those were in the Mid-American conference.

  8. howlie 09/21/2011 at 10:13 AM #

    Nice article–very helpful for the viewer.

    The omission concerns our running game defense, which we’ve ‘claimed’ is pretty decent. I’m not so sure… it seems like our opponents have such an easy time passing that they don’t need to run… maybe it’s the reverse (that they can’t run, in limited attempts).

    It would seem to me that a D that is great against the run is also getting penetration & hurries vs. a QB in the passing game (i.e., that D’s great against the run would also be, by caveat, halfway decent against the pass [?]). Can anyone help out here….?

  9. primacyone 09/21/2011 at 10:19 AM #

    ^We are horrible against the run. We have one guy on the DL playing solid D – LT Maruc Kuhn. We have one LB playing solid D – Audi Cole. And our DB’s are having to play like linebackers to stop the run which is opening up our backfield with any sort of play action.

    Our guys are not even in postion. When Manning got hurt last Saturday, he was so far out of position it is not even funny. That’s why he got hurt, he was going one way, the ball went the other way, and got blocked when he tried to cut back and change direction – and he was a good 15 yards horizontally away from the ball.

    That position has a lot of tackles this year on paper, but that is because the right side of the DL in front of him/maddox doesn’t even come close to stopping the run on that side and the ball carriers are coming straight at them 5 yards off the LOS.

    It’s bad.

  10. NCStatePride 09/21/2011 at 10:22 AM #

    howlie, the effect you are describing is the exact same as what was discussed last season (though due to the results of last season, no one really wanted to discuss anything too negative). Our defensive line did extremely well last season, comparatively speaking, and that helped our passing defense since our opponent’s QB was constantly under pressure. Pressure causes mistakes which makes the backfield’s job easier.

  11. packplantpath 09/21/2011 at 10:26 AM #

    I’m going for the contrary pick. Their coach is named Butch.

    Tom always beats butch. Has there ever been a season that TOB has not beaten a Butch since he joined the ACC? Nope. This won’t be it either.

    Based on nothing more than the coaches name, we win by a field goal.


  12. JasonP 09/21/2011 at 10:34 AM #

    Not optimistic about this game at all. I’ll be surprised if State pulls out the win. Going to need it heading into prep for GT otherwise this team will start to adopt TOB’s give-up attitude he displayed at the end of the WF game.

  13. Plz2BStateFan 09/21/2011 at 11:12 AM #

    Not confident.

  14. ryebread 09/21/2011 at 11:40 AM #

    Not confident at this point at all because our defense is “turrable” (quoting Barkley) and our offense hasn’t exactly lit it up against weak opponents either. We struggle to put up 43 and 35 on opponents of similar caliber to Austin Peay and weaker than Akron. Add in the fact that this is a road game, and what I picked as a win before the season is starting to look like a loss.

    I hope TOB and get the ship righted and we eek out a win tomorrow night. I’m pretty worried though. Lose this one, and we’re effectively 1-2 and not looking at many winnable games left on the schedule. It could get really ugly.

  15. baxter 09/21/2011 at 11:49 AM #

    As I said before, this season, due to the location of the bye week and how many starters return for UVA, is literally a tale of two seasons. If we can get out of here with a 4-2 record considering all the losses in personnel then I will be smitten.

    To Return by the UVA game
    Andrew Wallace
    Rieskamp (already of the injury report but I’m cautious until I see him on the field with the mysterious week to week “shoulder” injury)

    Even if we drop Cincy and GT, I’m not concerned until I see the product @UVA. The one caveat so far is that the offense is performing decently and improved each week. Which is good, because if that occurs continuously and you improve continuously on D, then you have a recipe for decent success.

    Also, I will point this out, Irving struggled like hell in the first few games last year, and it wasn’t until the Cincy game that he appeared to be clicking at MLB. How many of us were pointing out after UCF that Irving didn’t have “it” anymore? I expect Cole to progress the same way. I think it will help immensely having at least Rieskamp back. Whether McGill can improve behind Slay until Sweezy returns is probably the biggest unknown, literally. We all know the secondary will continue to play the soft zone, its a question of whether Maddox, Cole and Green can develop pressure behind the ragtag DL right now.

  16. Khan 09/21/2011 at 12:29 PM #

    We will lose comfortably.

    Unless Censzinatttey completely fails to show up, we will lose. I have seen nothing from us to suggest a different outcome.

    1) Injuries to key players continue to be an issue.

    2) Predictable play-calling will allow our offense plenty of time to rest.

    3) Our defense will help someone on their team set some sort of offensive record while simultaneously allowing them to chew up yardage, burn clock and run up the score.

    4) We won’t show up offensively until the second half.

    5) It’s on the road on ESPN.

  17. LifeLongWolf 09/21/2011 at 12:39 PM #


  18. wolfpackdawg 09/21/2011 at 12:56 PM #

    It will be on mute for me so I don’t hear the announcers talk about Russell Wilson all night. Uggghhj.

  19. IamGumbyDammit 09/21/2011 at 1:01 PM #

    Very good article. Let’s see how it compares to the News & Observer’s pregame write-up…what? Not a friggin’ WORD in the hometown newspaper internet sports page about State’s nationally-televised football game tonight? Can you just FEEL the love? It’s positively underwhelming. And I can’t even line the bird cage with it…

  20. BJD95 09/21/2011 at 1:06 PM #

    We need to score a whole hell of a lot. No reason to even dream that our defense can so much as slow them down.

    Would be fun to watch a 52-49 game!

  21. logarithm 09/21/2011 at 1:29 PM #

    I expect we’ll lose, however ugly it turns out. I expect our defense will be ineffective to begin with and only fade as they’re forced to stay on the field too long. The offensive playcalling can’t be too conservative or we’ll never keep up.

    The real questions are who else gets injured, how displeased can I get about the commentating and how much drinking it’ll take to be watchable.

  22. NCSU88 09/21/2011 at 1:46 PM #

    Bearcat strategy should be to screw around on 1st and 2nd down, and then make it all up on 3rd and long. USA converted multiple 3rd and longs (as did Wake and Liberty) and on the occasions where they didn’t, it was bad throws to wide open receivers. One of those was an interception.

    When we are at 3rd and long, we seem to hit the underneath receivers to provide the extra anxiety of a cross field run to barley reach the sticks.

  23. 61Packer 09/21/2011 at 1:47 PM #

    Coyote ugly………….

  24. packhammer 09/21/2011 at 2:22 PM #

    I’d take us and the points in this one. That is, if somebody is offering about 28 points! Nevertheless, I will tune in tomorrow night thinking that somehow we are going to win. Crazy old Wolfpacker that I am.

  25. TruthBKnown Returns 09/21/2011 at 2:29 PM #

    Isn’t TOB 5-0 against coaches named “Butch” since he arrived at NC State?

    Hey, I’m not optimistic about our chances. At least I can joke about it, right?

    Edit: PackPlantPath, I see you made a similar post about coaches named Butch. Didn’t mean to steal your thunder. I posted that before reading the posts here.

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