The Bearcats finally got their season started in Nippert Stadium with few fans in the stands. The teams were scheduled to play Sept. 3 but were pushed back because of COVID-19 concerns. Austin Peay was coming off a 55-0 shutout lost at Pittsburgh. The Bearcats came into the game ranked #13 in the country by the Associated Press. The University of Cincinnati got off to a strong start for the season beating the Governors 55-20.
The key player to watch coming into Saturday’s matchup was RB Gerrid Doaks. Doaks moved into the starting line up following Michael Warren II turning pro. Doaks played football at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis, IN. He committed to Cincinnati over Indiana, Ball State, and Toledo. He earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in spring 2020.
Doaks seeks to solidify himself as one of the best running backs in the AAC. Doaks has battled several injuries to finally return to form in hopes of having a breakout senior year. The redshirt senior has overcome adversity during his time at UC. In 2017 he led the team in rushing despite missing three games due to injury, he averaged 5.9 yards per carry. He carried the ball 87 times for 513 yards and a pair of touchdowns. In 2018 he missed the season due to an injury suffered in preseason practice. Upon his return, Doaks carried 100 times for 528 yards and five TDs last season.
Coming into the season Doaks has high hopes for the Bearcats. “I feel like we’re way more energetic than last year,” Doaks said. “We got a lot of energy. Especially with everything that’s [been] going on this year so far. We’ve kind of been able to work through that, became stronger as a team, come out here and get the work in and be ready to compete.”
Doanks showed multiple aspects of his game against Austin Peay. While he didn’t put up huge numbers in regards to rushing yards, he showed off his short-yardage skill set by scoring 3 touchdowns within the 5-yard line. Doanks scored one in the wildcat formation to show his versatility. Out of the backfield is where Doanks excelled in today’s games. He led the team with 4 catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. He caught all four passes that were thrown his way. His longest catch of 32 yards led to his score.
An underrated part of Doanks game is pass blocking. Before the starting QB was taken out of the game, he was sacked one time in 19 pass attempts. The one aspect that Doanks didn’t display was his ability to attack the edge and show off his speed. Today was all about running in between the tackles and displaying his lower body strength keeping his legs moving. In total Doanks had 14 touches, 84 combined yards, and four touchdowns.
The next game for the Bearcats will be against currently ranked Army. Doanks will need to have more carries to help with a ball-control offense and to keep the football away from a Black Knight offense that has scored over 35 points in there first two games. Doanks showed flashes that 2020 will be a huge year for him and the Bearcats.