In an American Athletic Conference matchup, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (5-4, 2-3) will travel to face the Cincinnati Bearcats (5-4, 2-3) Saturday night. Cincinnati has won the four previous meetings though the last one was in 1997; the Bearcats took a 34-24 win at home on August 28, 1997 in the most recent matchup. Tulsa covered the line in that game as they were an 11 point underdog.
Tulsa has won two straight after knocking off winless Central Florida 45-30 at home Saturday. Cincinnati had won two in a row before falling 33-30 on the road to #25 Houston last week. Kickoff from Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio is scheduled for 7:30 pm ET and will be televised on ESPNEWS. Cincinnati is currently a 17.5 point favorite in this contest with the over/under set at 76.5 points.
Tulsa jumped to a 24-3 lead at the half over Central Florida and didn’t panic after seeing that lead carved to 24-20 entering the final quarter. The Golden Hurricane outgained the Knights 425-412; they gave up 22 first downs while picking up 21 and allowed Central Florida to control the time of possession battle by a 35:40 to 24:20 margin. In a sloppy game, both teams committed four turnovers in the contest; Tulsa did score on an 86 yard interception return with 3:31 to play that essentially sealed the victory.
The Golden Hurricane is an explosive offense as they are 14th in the nation in passing offense (326.4 yards per game) and 39th in the nation (193.7 yards per game) in rushing offense. Tulsa is scoring 36.4 points a game, putting them tied for 23rd in the nation in scoring offense, and is a dismal 118th in scoring defense by allowing 37.3 points per game. Dane Evans has hit 197 of 323 passes for 2,938 yards with 17 touchdowns and seven picks. The ground game has gotten plenty of volume (448 carries) but not a ton of production (3.9 yards per carry); Zack Langer leads the team with 169 carries for 631 yards and 14 scores while D’Angelo Brewer contributes 105 carries for 563 yards and two scores. In the passing game, Keyarris Garrett (team high 65 receptions, team high 996 yards, 5 TD) leads the way while Joshua Atkinson (44 grabs, 706 yards, three TD) and Keevan Lucas (26 receptions, 409 yards, 5 TD) help form a trio that can rank with the best of the nation. Conner Floyd (27 catches, 290 yards, 2 TD) and Justin Hobbs (22 receptions, 393 yards, TD) are secondary targets as well. Redford Jones has hit 39 of 40 extra points but has struggled, hitting only 14 of 21 field goals with a long of 46 yards; he’s missed two kicks between 20 and 29 yards, two between 30 and 39 yards and is 2 of 5 from beyond 40.
Cincinnati went tooth and nail against the undefeated Cougars but ended up coming up on the short end of the stick. The Bearcats outgained the Cougars 589-427 in a game that saw Gunner Kiel throw for 523 yards; both teams finished with 24 first downs. Cincinnati was dominated in time of possession as Houston held the ball for 37:33 to the Bearcats’ 22:27. The Bearcats forced a pair of turnovers in the game but committed three turnovers of their own; one of those turnovers was a pick six that proved to be critical in the grand scheme of things.
The Bearcats are 5th in the nation in passing offense as they average 387.6 yards per game and tied for 43rd in rushing offense by putting up 190.7 yards per game. Cincinnati is tied for 17th in scoring offense by putting up 37.6 points per game and currently stand 69th in the nation in scoring defense as they allow 27.1 points per contest. The Bearcats have seen their reps at quarterback split pretty evenly as freshman Hayden Moore is 94 of 159 throwing the ball for 1,434 yards with eight touchdowns and six interceptions while running for 55 yards and two scores. Kiel has hit 139 of 212 passes for 2,037 yards with 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Tion Green is the Bearcats’ second leading rusher in the ground game with 108 carries for 556 yards and five scores; Hosey Williams (100 carries, team high 567 yards, 3 TD) and Mike Boone (54 carries, 496 yards, 4 TD) doing their part in the ground game as well. Shaq Washington is the team’s leading receiver with 59 catches for 704 yards and five scores; Max Morrison (36 catches, 450 yards, 2 TD), Chris Moore (27 grabs, 594 yards, 5 TD) and Alex Chisum (25 receptions, 333 yards, TD) are other targets in the passing game as well. Andrew Gantz has booted all 37 extra points and 17 of 21 field goals with a long of 51 yards.
Tulsa is 5-0 ATS in their last five after scoring at least 40 points, 3-0-1 ATS in their last four after an ATS loss, 5-0 ATS in their last five on the road and 4-1 ATS in their last five on the road against teams with a winning home record. Cincinnati is 1-3-1 ATS in their last five after running for less than 100 yards and 3-9 ATS in their last 12 after giving up more than 170 yards through the air.
This one will be a high scoring affair as both teams are very good when it comes to throwing the ball. Cincinnati is a decent run team with three good backs in the system but they are a pass first offense. Tulsa is inclined to stick around and will make things difficult as the Golden Hurricane can put points on the board in bunches. Cincinnati wins the game but Tulsa covers the line in the contest.