First, I have to break some bad news: No, UConn will not be playing on a black turf this Saturday at Cincinnati. The picture that went viral a couple of months back was apparently just a joke by Cincy’s social media team. I know, I’m as disappointed as you are, but we all just have to move on from that dream.
Now, on to the football. In the conference, Cincinnati is first in the East at 4-0, and overall are 7-1 on the season with their only loss being a 42-0 beatdown from Ohio State. They are ranked No. 17 in the nation in the AP poll and No. 20 in the College Football Playoff rankings, as they are the highest-ranking school from the American Athletic Conference on either list.
“They do things offensively where you have to be ready for a physical game, and also be able to defend the run-pass option, the zone reads, those things, so we have to be ready for that,” Head coach Randy Edsall said. “Defensively, they’re playing very well, very sound, very solid, fast, physical, aggressive, so we’re gonna have to prepare well and then what we have to do is take our execution to a higher level because the one thing that’s happened is when you watch the film of our games, we have the abilities to be able to make plays, and we’re not making them.”
Missed opportunities have been somewhat of a theme for the Huskies so far this season, whether it be quarterback Jack Zergiotis overthrowing an open receiver or a defender not tackling someone who was in his grasps.
“Offensively, we have things there, but it’s always just one little thing that’s not allowing us to have the success that we need to have, and same thing defensively,” Edsall said. “We have guys in position, but we have to have guys that are gonna make plays.”
Cincy averages 393.6 yards per game on offense, which puts it right in the middle of the pack at No. 78 in the nation. Its defense is better but still nothing to write home about, giving up 381.4 yards per game, which is No. 56 in the nation.
They are led by quarterback Desmond Ridder, who has averaged just under 200 yards per game through the air while throwing 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Ridder is also a threat with his legs, averaging over 40 yards per game on the ground. He is one of four Bearcats to do so, Tavion Thomas, Gerrid Doaks and lead back Michael Warren are all averaging over 40 yards rushing per game, with Warren’s total eclipsing the 70-yard mark.
The Bearcats are coming off a 46-43 victory over ECU, dropping the Pirates to 0-5 in the conference and 3-6 overall. Ridder struggled passing, throwing for just 161 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions, but he and Warren made up for it on the ground, combining for just under 300 yards rushing and 3 scores.
This will be the second to last road game for the Huskies and third to last game overall, and kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Saturday.