The 2022 Wasabi Fenway Bowl is going to have some of the most absurd subplots for a bowl game in history. Louisville’s head coach Scott Satterfield left the team to take the job at Cincinnatti the morning after the matchup was announced. UC had already lost their head coach and some assistants to Wisconsin and their offensive coordinator quit during the search for a new head coach. Add in a substantial amount of production that has opted out of the bowl and this could be a rough game for the offense.
Ben Bryant was lost for the season with an injury so the Bearcats will be relying on former 4-star Evan Prater to lead the offense. Prater has started the last two games with mixed results but he was a big-time win as a recruit and you can see the flashes of why that was. Prater completed 70% of his passes in his first start and ran for 83 yards in his second. The Bearcats haven’t opened things up much with Prater under center but that could change with a skeleton staff.
The running game is where UC was most impressive to me. Charles McClelland is the leading rusher with over 800 yards on the season and an average of nearly six yards per carry. The Bearcats use a rotation with Corey Kiner and Ryan Montgomery also splitting some of the carries but the McClelland is the focal point. UofL has to handle the inside/outside scheme that they run as they will stretch the field with speed pitches to the outside as well as inside counter runs and zone runs.
It can be very hard to keep up with which players are playing in bowl games and which ones are not but Cincy may only have a few receivers with game experience this weekend. Tyler Scott is the star of the offense and he will be suiting up for the game. Outside of him, however, no other receiver with more than 11 catches will be playing. Cincy is essentially down to Scott and Leonard Hamilton who is a blocking tight end.
Scott is an excellent receiver with the speed and ability to score on any catch. He is coming off of a game where he dropped a pass on fourth and fifteen that hit him right in the chest. He could have possibly scored on the play and won the game for his team. As he has not opted out of this game and hasn’t hit the transfer portal, I’d imagine he will be looking to atone for such a bad play.
The Cincy offensive line doesn’t stand out in any significant way. Their run blocking grades from PFF is solid but not outstanding. They do give up a lot of sacks as they are ranked 94th in the country. With the lack of receivers available, I expect the offense to be very run heavy with a reliance on this offensive line to open up running lanes for the backs.