CINCINNATI – With nine wins in its first 10 games, Cincinnati had to be feeling good entering last weekend's action. However, after a sound beating at the hands of Central Florida, the Bearcats need to regroup in time to handle visiting East Carolina on Saturday.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network. LINE: Cincinnati -19.5
The Bearcats were thumped 38-13 by unbeaten UCF as they fumbled three times and had no answers for the Knights' passing attack, allowing three touchdowns through the air. "We've still got a ways to go. I felt it tonight," Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell told reporters. "I'm not saying we couldn't win, but I still believe we've got a ways to go. I'm not going to lie to my guys. I want them to know that this is what we're going to shoot for." East Carolina, meanwhile, is aiming for back-to-back wins for the first time since opening the 2016 campaign with a 2-0 record. The Pirates topped Connecticut 55-21 their last time out to snap a five-game slide in resounding fashion.
ABOUT EAST CAROLINA (3-7, 1-6 American)
The Pirates struggled offensively during their five-game losing streak, scoring 20 points or fewer four times over that stretch, but they endured no such problems against UConn. Holton Ahlers threw four touchdown passes and added a rushing score for East Carolina, which had 415 rushing yards and 657 total yards in a rare dominant performance. Tyler Snead made three touchdown catches and, despite playing only three games this season, already has 15 receptions for 236 yards and four scores.
ABOUT CINCINNATI (9-2, 5-2)
The Bearcats set a season low for points scored and allowed a season-high amount in the ugly effort against UCF. Desmond Ridder threw 26 times, completing just 11 passes and totaling 127 yards without a touchdown. Michael Warren II, who recorded five rushing touchdowns over his previous two games, was limited to 81 yards on 18 attempts - and no carries longer than 14 yards - as he failed to reach the end zone for just the second time all season.
1. Cincinnati has won six of the last seven meetings.
2. Bearcats senior WR Khalil Lewis (46 catches, 565 yards) needs 15 catches and 111 yards to match the career highs he set last season.
3. East Carolina is 21-3 over the last 24 games in which the team has gained 200 rushing yards.
PREDICTION: Cincinnati 49, East Carolina 22