After suffering their first loss of the 2018 season to Virginia, Frank Solich looks to get his team back on track in Cincinnati.
In Nathan Rourke’s first full game this season after being benched in week one, he almost led the Bobcats to victory, going 16-for-31 for 246 yards and a pair of touchdown passes.
He played more like the player who was named to several preseason award watch lists, and less like the player who was replaced by Quinton Maxwell in the second quarter of the first game.
Papi White continued his dominance as he caught six passes for 131 yards and score; he is now 32nd in the nation in receiving yards through only two games. He has been the brightest spot for this 1-1 team thus far and with his skill set, there is no reason to expect that to change.
Senior running back Malik Irons added two touchdowns on 11 carries for 43 yards in the game and freshman wideout Isiah Cox had his first career reception, a 36-yards touchdown.
Jamal Hudson and Javon Hagan paced the defense with 10 and 9 tackles respectively. Hudson also recorded two pass breakups in the game. Kicker Louie Zervos hit a 45-yard field goal to round out the scoring for the Bobcats.
Another shootout could be in store this weekend as they travel 158 miles west to Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, a much shorter trip than Saturday’s visit to Nashville.
The Bearcats are 3-0 under head coach and former Ohio State assistant, Luke Fickell, with wins coming against UCLA, Miami of Ohio, and most recently a 63-7 routing of Alabama A&M.
Desmond Ridder, a true freshman, is the signal caller for the Bearcats. Ridder is putting together a decent season thus far with 344 passing yards and 4 touchdowns. The Bearcats however are paced by their run game.
Sophomore running back Michael Warren II leads the team with 311 yards and 6 touchdowns on 70 carries. Ridder has also put in some work on the ground with 34 carries for 175 yards and a score. Tavion Thomas and Charles McLelland have also run for over 100 yards on less than 20 carries a piece.
The Bobcats defense has struggled this season so far, giving up 77 points through two games and an average of 431.5 passing yards and 167 rushing yards. Redshirt senior defensive tackle Kent Berger and the rest of the defensive line will have their hands full as they go up against the strong running game of the Bearcats.
Ohio comes into this game as a big underdog, with the Bearcats opening as an eight-point favorite. They are 3-0 against the spread this season and the Bobcats are 0-2 against the spread.
In these interstate games though stats like this don’t matter. Bragging rights are on the line.
The two teams have not played each other since 1981, with Cincinnati coming up victorious. The teams have met 51 times, with Cincinnati leading the all-time series 24-23-4.
It’s going to take a big day defensively for the Bobcats to even the series up at 24 games apiece as the Bobcats look to get back in the win column in week four.
Kickoff: 12:00 EST
Location: Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Line: Cincinnati -8, O/U 56