AAC Notebook: Moore's effort leaves coaches in awe
One must rewind to the Spandex era, when Bengals FB Ickey Woods gyrated his way into his city's consciousness, to find a Cincinnati football player whose debut has been more auspicious than Hayden Moore's.
Four days after the Bearcats freshman set a UC (and American Athletic Conference) single-game passing record (557 yards) in a three-quarter relief effort in Thursday's 53-46 loss at Memphis, Coach Tommy Tuberville still was gushing.
"I don't think I've ever seen a performance like that from a kid that's never played -- at any level of any football team," Tuberville said on Monday's AAC weekly coaches teleconference.
"He broke our record, and we've had some quarterbacks here that can really throw the football, and he did it in three quarters. ... He looked poised; he didn't look like a redshirt freshman that had only played like, 15 or 20 plays in college football. He threw the ball accurately."
Moore, who attempted 28 collegiate passes (two of them interceptions) entering Thursday's game, replaced Gunner Kiel late in the first period after Kiel took a frightening upper-body shot and was taken from the Liberty Bowl via stretcher.
He completed three of his first four passes, including a 68-yard TD to Jefferson High alumnus Chris Moore. It was the first of four consecutive scoring drives directed by the Clay, Ala., native.
"Obviously I have a tremendous amount of respect for what the kid accomplished and how they played offensively," Tigers coach Justin Fuente said Monday. "He hung in there and made some really great throws. ... They are very talented on the outisde but he put some balls on the money."
Kiel, who suffered a head injury the week before against Miami (Ohio), seems doubtful for the Bearcats' home game Saturday against the University of Miami. Tuberville said Kiel hasn't been cleared by the doctors yet.
OWNING THE ACC: East Carolina's rain-soaked 35-28 victory Saturday against Virginia Tech not only was the Pirates' second in a row against the Hokies, but their fifth consecutive triumph against ACC competition.
Trailing 14-0 eight minutes into the game, the Pirates rallied behind the quarterback tandem of Blake Kemp and James Summers, neither of whom entered the season as the projected heir to ECU career passing leader Shane Carden. Kemp directed consecutive TD drives to tie the score before giving way to Summers, a more gifted runner who finished with 169 rushing yards.
"We had two tough losses on the road (at Florida and at Navy) and we were down 14-0 early, and they didn’t flinch,” Pirates coach Ruffin McNeill said after the game. “They handled adversity, just like life, and they bounced back."
ODDS AND ENDS: Connecticut's Oct. 10 game at UCF, which Huskies coach Bob Diaco shamelessly hyped as the "Civil Conflict" all summer, will be televised by ESPNU. Kickoff is at 3:45. ... With three rushing touchdowns in Saturday's 28-18 win at UConn, Navy QB Keenan Reynolds moved into second place on the NCAA's career chart (73). Wisconsin's Montee Ball (77) owns the mark for now. ... UCF (0-4) has led at halftime in three of its four losses. ... Temple (3-0) and Memphis (4-0) are the only Division I-A teams with two road wins at this point.
AUDIBLE: "I'm part of the ranking group and I voted them, I see them as a top 25 team if not higher than that. I think at the end of the year when the dust settles, they'll be up there a ways." -- Diaco on Navy (His vote was the only one the Midshipmen got in the latest coaches poll.)
AAC Players of the Week
Offense: Reynolds (142 rushing yards, four total TDs at UConn)
Defense: CB William Jackson III, Houston (fumble recovery, 35-yard pick-six vs. Texas State)
Special Teams: P Spencer Smith, Memphis (six punts, 52.7-yard average vs. Cincinnati)