Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville stands on the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Alabama A&M, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Gary Landers
September 08, 2015

CINCINNATI (AP) Gunner Kiel and the other Bearcats quarterbacks threw it 38 times and handed it off 48 times in their season opener, a notable switch for an offense known for airing it out. They're hoping for something similar against Temple, a team that pulled off one of the biggest first-game upsets.

The Bearcats (1-0) ran for 296 yards during a 52-10 win over Alabama A&M on Saturday night, an indication that their offense is evolving. They won a share of the American Athletic Conference title last season by depending upon Kiel to carry the offense.

It's no longer a one-man show.

''Especially with our running game, we're a full offense now,'' Kiel said Tuesday before practice. ''Those running backs - man, they're unbelievable.''

And there's three of them.

Senior Hosey Williams carried 18 times for 95 yards and a touchdown in the opener. Junior Tion Green carried 17 times for 127 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Mike Boone carried 13 times for 86 yards and two touchdowns.

Coach Tommy Tuberville plans to use all three in games, giving them a similar number of plays.

''That's unless we get a guy hot during a game,'' Tuberville said. ''Then we're not going to take him out.''

The backs know they'll each get a few series in the game, and what they do will be based upon the results.

''We rotate and if one running back has a hot hand, we want him to stay in there,'' Boone said.

Each one has a slightly different style, so it prevents defenses from getting too comfortable with whoever is running the ball. The Bearcats changed their running plays this year to accentuate what their blockers and their backs do well.

''Watching Hosey in the last game, he's a little bowling ball - he's not going to come down,'' Kiel said. ''And Mike Boone with his speed and elusiveness, it's just crazy. And Tion is the full package. He's fast and loves to lower his shoulder.''

They also need to do a good job of blocking against the Owls (1-0), who are coming off one of the biggest wins in their history. They beat Penn State 27-10 on Saturday, the first win over their in-state rival since 1941. They set an AAC record with 10 sacks.

Last year, the Bearcats won at Temple 14-6, managing a season low in points and yards with 255. Kiel was in his first collegiate season and had trouble figuring out Temple's defense. Kiel went 19 of 31 for 174 yards in a sloppy game all-around.

''First off, I played awful,'' Kiel said. ''I played so bad, probably one of the worst games of my life. Nothing was clicking. I was young. I wasn't seeing the defense they were in. I played awful. I played timid.''

The Bearcats returned to their on-campus stadium last Saturday after playing one season at Paul Brown Stadium. Nippert Stadium underwent an $86 million renovation last year. This will be the first significant game there since the expansion to more than 40,000 seats.

''Honestly, I can't wait for Saturday,'' Kiel said. ''It can't come too quick. The game is so hyped up. It's one of those games you want to play now, you can't wait.''

It'll be the first real test for Cincinnati's balanced offense, given Temple's standing as one of the conference's top defenses. Also, it's a chance for either team to get a lot of national recognition. Temple is in the spotlight coming off its win over Penn State.

''Yeah, it's obvious they're the darling team in the country now, and they should be,'' Tuberville said.


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