The Cincinnati Bearcats have won three straight games and are right in the thick of the AAC title race, one game back of the conference leader. They’ve steadily improved as the season has gone along and look much better since dropping their conference opener to the South Florida Bulls despite USF not scoring an offensive touchdown. The biggest reason for their improvement has been the elevation of play from quarterback Brendon Kay who now appears to be rounding into form for the home stretch of the season.
Kay didn’t start the season as the Bearcats’ starter and only moved into the full-time job after Munchie Legaux was lost for the season due to injury. In six starts since then, he’s been making strides as a thrower as he gets more comfortable as a leader of the offense. He’s thrown for more yards than the previous week in each of the last four games and complete no less than 62 percent of his throws as the starter. During their three game winning streak, he’s been outstanding while completing 78.1 percent of his throws, averaging 297 yards per game through the air (including back-to-back 300-yard performances) with seven touchdowns and just one interception.
His improved play is coming at just the right time for Cincinnati as they try and make a push towards a conference title. The loss to USF hurts them but they remain within striking distance of the top with games against the Houston Cougars (3-0 in conference play) and Louisville Cardinals (3-1) over the final month of the season. If they can win those games, they’ll push ahead of both teams in the conference standings and put themselves in a position to take advantage in case the Central Florida Knights stumble (they don’t play head-to-head this season).
If Kay continues to improve each week like he has been, he will be able to lead the Bearcats right into the thick of the AAC race at season’s end. It will be his ability to lead the offense that carries Cincinnati the rest of the way so the only question left to ask is how far he takes them.