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Cincinnati football vs. Navy: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score

Navy puts a long American Athletic Conference winning streak on the line

Hayden Moore #8 of the Cincinnati Bearcats drops back to pass during the first quarter of the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Hayden Moore #8 of the Cincinnati Bearcats drops back to pass during the first quarter of the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

ANNAPOLIS, MD. – Teams trying to find themselves on the offensive side meet Saturday when Navy puts a long American Athletic Conference winning streak on the line against Cincinnati.

Navy, which upended Tulane 23-21 in its conference opener on Sept. 9, has won 14 consecutive regular-season games played on its home field, Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

Navy relies on a triple-option attack to grind out games, but despite an opening-week 42-19 win over Florida Atlantic and the Week 2 triumph over the Green Wave, the Midshipmen have struggled with ball control and relied on big plays – six plays between 39 and 79 yards – a recipe that will be hard to sustain going forward against better opponents.

The defense has played better than expected, allowing only 20 points and 294 yards per game, which marks a dramatic improvement over last season when they allowed 31 points and 434 yards per game.

The Bearcats scored 15 unanswered points in the final 2:52 to pull out a 21-17 victory over Miami (OH) last week despite two crucial interceptions by quarterback Hayden Moore and a failure to convert a fourth-and-one on their first possession of the second half. Moore’s 96.3 passer rating is last in the AAC, but wide receivers have had drop issues all season, including six last week, with one by Devin Gray that could have gone for an 86-yard score.

TV: 3:30 p.m. CBS Sports Network. LINE: Navy -11.5.

Live scoring updates below:

 

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ABOUT CINCINNATI (2-1, 0-0 AAC): Moore has completed 56-of-111 passes for just 505 yards with five touchdowns, four interceptions and a very-low 4.55 yards per attempt average – numbers that are all down from the 15 games he played over the past two years. Senior running back Mike Boone, who ran for 144 yards and two TDs in the first two games - a 26-14 win over Austin Peay and a 36-14 loss to Michigan - missed last week with an ankle injury but is expected back in the lineup. In his absence, freshman Gerrid Doaks rushed 17 times for 71 yards and freshman Michael Warren II had nine carries for 51 yards against Miami.

ABOUT NAVY (2-0, 1-0): First-year starter Zach Abey spearheads the Midshipmen’s triple option, running for 343 yards and two TDs on 61 carries and completing 7-of-22 passes for 242 yards with two scores and two interceptions through the first two games. After setting an AAC record for quarterbacks with 235 rushing yards in the opener, the junior ran for 108 yards on 29 carries and completed 4-of-12 passes for 132 yards and a TD – a 79-yard score to Tyler Carmona - against Tulane. However, Abey has been involved in all four of the team’s turnovers in the opening two games -- two fumbles, an interception and a bad exchange with the center.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Navy leads the all-time series 2-0 but this is the first meeting since 1956.

2. Navy’s last loss at home was a 34-10 setback against Temple in the AAC title game last season. 

3. Over the last 10 years, Navy has 79 wins – 24th-most in FBS – and Cincinnati has 78 – 25th-most.