CINCINNATI, Ohio – Cincinnati is in the midst of a seemingly easy stretch as it navigates American Athletic Conference play. The 21st-ranked Bearcats continue their march through American play Saturday when they host Tulsa, which is hoping to avoid a third straight defeat.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU. LINE: Cincinnati -17
Not only are the Golden Hurricane winless in league play, but so was Cincinnati's opponent last week, Houston -- and so are the Bearcats' next two opponents, East Carolina and Connecticut. So, Cincinnati is in the middle of a four-game stretch against teams that are a combined 0-9 in American action. "Nobody thought this was a trap game," Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell said after last week's 38-23 triumph over Houston. "This is obviously a very good football team with some guys down and some guys that are redshirting. But they have a lot of talent. You can tell they have a lot of fight. Our guys fought back and in the end they had the ability to battle through some of those adverse situations." The Bearcats must maintain their focus against a Tulsa team that has allowed 88 points in losing the last two games.
ABOUT TULSA (2-4, 0-2 American)
The Golden Hurricane were torched by Navy's powerful rushing attack last week, allowing 388 yards on the ground (6.7 yards per attempt) and six rushing scores in a 45-17 setback. "We let it get away from us in the first half. We had opportunities to make plays and didn't execute and get it done. That's on me, on us as an offense and the team as a whole," said quarterback Zach Smith, who needed 49 passing attempts to accumulate 254 yards. Shamari Brooks was held to 55 rushing yards - his lowest mark since the season opener - and he failed to reach the end zone for the second straight game.
ABOUT CINCINNATI (5-1, 2-0)
Aside from an ugly loss to Ohio State early in the season, Desmond Ridder has thrown multiple TD passes in every game and has yet to throw more than one interception in any contest. He also had a season-high 50 rushing yards last week and recorded his first rushing touchdown of the campaign, while Rashad Medaris had 121 receiving yards - 30 more than he had totaled entering the game - and scored on a 75-yard strike from Ridder in the first quarter. Since scoring three rushing touchdowns on 12 carries against Miami (Ohio) last month, Michael Warren II has not found the end zone on 53 carries over the last three contests.
1. After totaling 16 catches and four touchdown grabs in his previous three games, Tulsa WR Keylon Stokes was limited to three catches without a score against Navy.
2. Cincinnati sophomore S Ja'Von Hicks had two interceptions against Houston, giving him a team-high three picks on the year.
3. The teams haven't met since Tulsa won a 40-37 overtime thriller in the 2016 regular-season finale.
PREDICTION: Cincinnati 37, Tulsa 30