In the Demons 2-0 start, they have turned heads with their offensive play, including Bearcats head coach Tommy Tuberville.
“They will be hard-nosed. They ran the same scheme as what I ran the last three years at Texas Tech. They go very fast. They throw the ball probably 70 percent of the time. They have some good wide receivers and their quarterback is mobile.”
Last week, junior quarterback Zach Adkins threw for 331 yards and led the offense to 554 total yards. As a result, NSU was able to move on the Jaguars with ease and had a better showing than in the first game against Missouri State.
“That’s something that we discussed with the team coming from the first game and that’s usually the way it happens,” Thomas said. From the first game to the second game is usually your biggest step in improving. “We made great strides in our offense, but we still have a million miles to go.”
The Demons may have their work cut out for them against Cincinnati, however. Led by Tuberville, the Bearcats are 1-1 this season with playmakers on both sides of the ball.
“Everywhere he’s been, [Coach Tuberville] has been successful,” Thomas said. “They started off fast this year, had a bump on the road against Illinois this past weekend. They are a talented team across the board and fundamentally sound in every phase.”
Last week, the Bearcats lost 45-17 to the Illinois Fighting Illini, but lost senior quarterback Munchie Legaux to a knee injury. Legaux will be sidelined for the season after passing for 382 yards and rushing for 107 in Cincinnati’s first two games.
“Unfortunately, you never want to see a kid get injured,” Thomas said. “He was playing really well for them. I’ve recruited New Orleans for a long time and I knew he had a lot of talent. We always pull for Louisiana guys wherever they go.”
Fellow senior Brendon Kay will be the starting quarterback role and has shown the ability to be a leader. Last season, Kay passed for 1298 yards and 10 touchdowns and Thomas is well aware of what he can do.
“Kay was rotating in with him and played a ton for them, Thomas said. “He’s capable of running the offense. He’s guy that can still create with his feet and is accurate with how he throws the football.”
Defensively, the Bearcats have an aggressive defense that can get to the quarterback. Cincinnati only has one sack this season, but has hurried opposing passers 13 times---leading to four forced turnovers.
“Their skill set is really tremendous and it is going to be a big challenge for our defense,” Thomas said. “Facing their defense, they roll seven to eight defensive ends and they often rush the quarterback. They are very good on the interior with big guys up front, inside with linebackers that are active and very fast in the secondary. Across the board, it’s going to be a big challenge for our guys to go there and play well. We just want to continue to make progress and make steps along the way as we prepare for conference play.”
NSU and Cincinnati will play at 6 p.m. central.