CINCINNATI, Ohio – There is no shame in losing to Ohio State, especially if that is a team's only loss with the season winding down. No. 17 Cincinnati has captured eight straight since losing to its intrastate rival and looks to extend that winning streak Saturday when it hosts Temple in an American Athletic Conference tilt.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2. LINE: Cincinnati -10.5
The Bearcats sit in first place in the AAC East Division and can clinch the division title outright with a win over Temple, which is two games back along with Central Florida. They have won 12 in a row at home after last week’s last-second 20-17 triumph against South Florida as the team rallied from a 10-0 halftime deficit. “It’s unbelievable, that group of guys in there,” Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell said. “When you can go out there and not have your best, meaning the first half just not playing, nothing clicking. To find a way on the road ... we needed to find a way to all pull together. When those guys believe in each other, they’re very hard to beat.” Temple is seeking a third straight win and has given up 28 points in the last two games after allowing 108 points in the previous two.
ABOUT TEMPLE (7-3, 4-2 American)
The Owls’ defensive line - and defense as a whole - is a terror on quarterbacks, as they lead the FBS with 59 quarterback hits and 256 quarterback pressures. Last week against Tulane, the Owls’ Quincy Roche recorded three more sacks, giving him 6.5 sacks over the last two games and 9.5 on the season. Anthony Russo threw two touchdown passes for Temple against the Green Wave and Jadan Blue finished with 12 catches for 131 yards and a score.
ABOUT CINCINNATI (9-1, 6-0)
The win over USF marked the second-lowest scoring output of the season for Cincinnati, trailing only the team’s effort in a 42-0 pounding at the hands of Ohio State back in early September. Desmond Ridder has watched his passing yardage decrease in five straight weeks -- from 263 to 172 to 161 to 136 and most recently just 78 yards in the win over USF. Michael Warren II had 134 rushing yards and a touchdown in that game, plus 30 receiving yards, and has recorded six touchdowns over the last three outings.
1. After making the game-winning field goal against USF, Cincinnati K Sam Crosa was named the league's Special Teams Player of the Week.
2. Three different Owls have recorded 100 receiving yards in a game this season, including Blue and Branden Mack, who have done it four times each.
3. Temple has won the last four meetings.
PREDICTION: Cincinnati 29, Temple 20