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No. 2 Cincinnati has something to prove against Tulsa

November 4, 2021 GMT
Cincinnati running back Jerome Ford (24) carries the ball as he breaks a tackle against UCF linebacker Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste, right, during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)
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Cincinnati running back Jerome Ford (24) carries the ball as he breaks a tackle against UCF linebacker Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste, right, during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)
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Cincinnati running back Jerome Ford (24) carries the ball as he breaks a tackle against UCF linebacker Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste, right, during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

Tulsa (3-5, 2-2 AAC) at No. 2 Cincinnati (8-0, 4-0, No. 6 CFP), Saturday at 3:30 EDT (ESPN).

Line: Cincinnati by 23 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Tulsa leads 17-16-2.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Cincinnati was ranked No. 6 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings despite a signature win at No. 10 Notre Dame. The Bearcats feel like they have something to prove, and that starts Saturday against Tulsa. Cincinnati insists that winning an American Conference championship is the top goal. Tulsa, meanwhile, will be looking to exact some revenge after losing to the Bearcats on a last-second field goal in last year’s American Conference championship game.

KEY MATCHUP

Cincinnati has one of the nation’s top pass defenses, ranking first in opponent completion percentage (50.8) with 14 interceptions. Tulsa quarterback Davis Brin completes close to 58% of his passes, but he also has 11 interceptions. Limiting mistakes will be key for Brin if Tulsa is going to have success against a talented Bearcats secondary.

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PLAYERS TO WATCH

Tulsa: Brin has passed for 2,095 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. He also has thrown 11 interceptions, which could be an issue against an opportunistic Bearcats defense.

Cincinnati: Junior running back Jerome Ford is tied for third nationally in rushing touchdowns (14) and overall touchdowns (15). He had 18 carries for 65 yards, his lowest yardage output of the season, in last week’s win at Tulane.

FACTS & FIGURES

At No. 6, the Bearcats are the highest ranked non-Power Five team in the history of the College Football Playoff (since 2014). … Cincinnati has won 24 straight games at Nippert Stadium, the second-longest home win streak in the country behind Clemson (32). … The Bearcats are the only team in the country to rank in the top 10 in scoring (39.9, 9th) and scoring defense (14.3, 2nd). … Cincinnati and Tulsa have met 36 times, but Saturday will mark just the fifth matchup since 1997. … Tulsa has faced a No. 1 or No. 2-ranked team nine times and is 0-9 in those games. They last faced a No. 2-ranked team in 1991, losing to Miami (Fla.).

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