Hayden Moore, not Gunner Kiel, named Cincinnati's starting QB

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Cincinnati quarterback Hayden Moore (8) is surrounded by fans after defeating Miami 34-23. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Cincinnati quarterback Hayden Moore (8) is surrounded by fans after defeating Miami 34-23. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)

When Cincinnati opens its season next Thursday against UT Martin, Hayden Moore will start at quarterback.

Bearcats head coach Tommy Tuberville announced Monday that Moore, a redshirt sophomore, has won the team’s quarterback competition. Moore bested fifth-year senior and two-year starter Gunner Kiel and redshirt freshman Ross Trail.

“Hayden was our most consistent quarterback from spring football all the way through training camp,” Tuberville said. “He gives us the best chance to win right now.”

Moore played in nine games and started three times in 2015 in relief of Kiel, who injured his neck on a brutal hit against Memphis. Moore threw for 1,885 yards, nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions. In that Memphis game, Moore threw for a school-record 557 yards along with four touchdowns, but was intercepted in the final seconds of the 53-46 loss. The next week, Moore threw for 279 yards and two scores in a win over Miami.

Kiel, who began his career at Notre Dame, returned to the field in late October and mostly played well down the stretch. However, he did not accompany the team to the Hawaii Bowl for personal reasons and later missed most of spring practice because of injuries. Overall, Kiel has thrown for 6,031 yards, 50 touchdowns and 24 interceptions in 23 starts at Cincy.

Tuberville said Kiel is still battling with Trail, a former three-star recruit, for the No. 2 QB role.

“Gunner Kiel and Ross Trail will continue to battle for the backup QB spot, but it’s important all three be ready to play when we kick this thing off in 10 days,” Tuberville said. “It’s important to us to name a starter now so Hayden has some time working exclusively with the first-team offense to continue to develop timing and a comfort level with our offensive skill players.”

For more Cincinnati news, visit BearcatReport.com.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!