Cincinnati Bearcats Week 2 Preview – Ohio State

After defeating UCLA in week 1, the Bearcats head to week 2 looking for another upset vs a Power 5 opponent in Ohio State.

Luke Fickell returns back to Columbus, where he coached from 2002-2016.

Game Information

  • Time: 12:00 PM EST
  • Location: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
  • Channel: ABC
  • Line: Ohio State -16.0
  • FPI: Cincinnati 24.2%
  • Over/Under: 53

Ohio State Overview

Offense

The Buckeye’s proved to have an explosive offense under new head coach Ryan Day. The offense is lead by sophomore transfer Justin Fields, who came from Georgia this winter.

The Buckeyes got their points on big plays vs FAU. The first 4 TDs for Fields and company all came from 25+ yards out. Despite spreading it out often last year, OSU runs a more pro style offense in 2019, requiring Fields to have the ball in his hands often.

Personnel wise, the OSU offense is one of the most talented in the country. While still in search for a true number 1 receiver, there are weapons everywhere you look. JK Dobbins ran for near 100 yards vs FAU, while Fields accounted for over 60 on the ground as well.

Defense

In 2018, the Buckeyes didn’t seem to have the elite defense typically seen at Ohio State. The Buckeyes gave up big plays often last season, something they limited in Week 1 vs FAU.

The defensive backs, lead by Jeffrey Okudah, are as good as advertised. The Ohio State defensive line was scary last week, with Chase Young leading the group. The defensive line held the FAU run game to 0.7 yards per carry, had 12 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks.

The linebacker core was a big weakness in 2018. They seemed improved last Saturday, but still seem to be the weak link in this Ohio State team.

Cincinnati

Offense

The UC offense looked good against UCLA last week. The biggest issue for the Bearcat offense was finishing drives. If Cincinnati improved on that, the points will come easier.

The offensive line was a question mark heading in to week 1. With some live game film in, the offensive line looked good last Saturday. Despite false start penalties, the young OL looked strong and physical, dominating the trenches.

Warren and Ridder are both better than before. Ridder limited mistakes, and Warren looked like a stronger runner. If those two continue to improve, the UC offense will cause trouble for every defense.

Defense

Holding UCLA to only 14 points, the Cats defense looked stout. The D Line and linebackers performed well, tallying up 6 TFLs, 2 sacks, and 7 QB hurries. Getting Justin Fields behind the line is a big key to Saturday’s game.

The safety’s had their moments of good and bad. The defense gave up a big touchdown in the air, but responded forcing 4 turnovers. 2 turnovers came at the hands of Ja’von Hicks, who scooped up a fumble and had an interception in his start, filling in for injured James Wiggins.

Limiting big plays will be key. Against UCLA, UC gave up a 75 and 39 yard pass, both on the touchdown drives for the Bruins. Those two plays alone accounted for 52% of UCLAs offensive yards. Ohio State’s offense had big plays in week 1. Minimizing those will be crucial.

Prediction

Saturday’s game is a huge game. Cincinnati gets a chance to prove they can play with top dogs, taking on in-state foe Ohio State. The Buckeyes are looking to prove they deserve back into the playoffs.

This is by far the hardest game on the Cincinnati schedule. Fickell, however, knows the in’s and out’s of Ohio State, and will have UC ready for war.

Final Score: Ohio State 45-24

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