CINCINNATI, Sporting Alert – Hayden Moore threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score in his first start and Cincinnati used to solid quarterbacks to help secure a 34-23 victory over Miami on Thursday night.
Moore completed 22 of 33 passes for 279 yards and an interception in the win for the Bearcats (3-2) who piled on more pressure on the Hurricanes’ under-fire head coach Al Golden.
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The redshirt freshman who started for Gunner Kiel – out with a neck injury he suffered in the loss at Memphis – threw short touchdown passes to Mekale McKay and Tyler Cogswell in the first and fourth quarters.
“He grew up a lot tonight,” coach Tommy Tuberville said. “I saw his eyes. He was a little nervous going into the game.
“He knew what he was going to face. But he held in there good.”
Moore, who passed for a school-record 557 yards and threw for four touchdowns in the 53-46 defeat against Memphis last Thursday night, has certainly created some competition for the starting job.
Nevertheless, the support from the sidelined Kiel was in full drive.
“Literally nothing changed,” said Moore, who gave his team a 24-20 lead when he ran for a one-yard score with 2:17 left in the second quarter.
“He was in the locker room beforehand. At halftime, he was pumping me up.”
Mekale McKay caught four passes for 91 yards and a touchdown, while Shaq Washington took eight catches for 106 yards for Cincinnati.
Hosey Williams also rushed for 80 yards and a score and Tion Green ran 15 times for 90 yards.
Joseph Yearby carried the ball for 113 yards and a touchdown and Mark Walton also ran for a score for Miami (3-1) which was suffering its first defeat of the season.
Michael Badgley, who connected on five field goals in the win over Nebraska, put away three more on Thursday night, but failed to score from 51 and 53 yards against Cincinnati.
Brad Kaaya finished with 24 of 39 for 255 yards without a touchdown or interception for Miami, which will face No. 11 Florida State in the next outing.
“They played really well, but we aided them,” Golden said. “We were playing better defense in the second half but they got that one in the fourth quarter that was a back breaker.
“We haven’t given up one of them in a while.”