CINCINNATI (AP) - Gunner Kiel is back to full practice following his latest neck injury, giving Cincinnati a decision for its game Friday night at Brigham Young.
Coach Tommy Tuberville will let Kiel and redshirt freshman Hayden Moore compete in practice this week and won’t announced his starter until shortly before the game. He said on Tuesday that he hadn’t yet made a choice.
“It’s a good situation,” Tuberville said on Tuesday. “You never really want a quarterback controversy, but this has kind of come out of the shadows and is not something we planned. I think we’re in pretty good shape. We’ve got two guys we feel good about taking this team to the next level.”
After the game at BYU (4-2), the Bearcats (3-2, 0-2) get back into American Athletic Conference play. The preseason pick to win the league has lost games against Temple and Memphis.
Kiel, a second-year starter, has been sidelined since a 53-46 loss at Memphis on Sept. 24, when he was taken to a hospital with a neck and head injury suffered in the first half. Moore stepped in and set a school passing record by throwing for 557 yards in three quarters. A week later, he made his first start and led the Bearcats to a 34-23 win over Miami on Oct. 1.
The Bearcats had a bye last week.
Kiel also was knocked out of a game against Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 19, suffering neck and head injuries after taking a late hit that was penalized. Moore came in and turned the ball over four times in the second half before leading the Bearcats to a 37-33 victory.
Moore can run better but has much less game experience. Kiel has thrown five interceptions, with the turnovers figuring into the losses to Temple and Memphis.
“Gunner has more experience but also turned the ball over more this year,” Tuberville said. “Hayden being a young guy, he got off to a slow start against Miami (Ohio) but has really played well the last two games.
“I’m looking for a quarterback that doesn’t turn the ball over and makes good decisions.”
After this week, Tuberville plans to choose a quarterback as his starter and then see how it plays out in practice. He doesn’t plan to switch starters week to week, but won’t hesitate to replace a quarterback who’s having a bad game.
“It’s going to be a very competitive situation with these two until one of them separates from the other,” Tuberville said. “It’s pretty much even. There’s not a lot of difference. Now I feel good about both guys.”
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