Cincinnati Bearcats (-1.5, 51) @ Norte Dame Fighting Irish
October 2, 2021
2:30pm EST on NBC
Cincinnati enters the contest with a 3-0 record for the season after defeating Indiana by the score of 38-24 last week. Quarterback Desmond Ridder threw for 210 yards and a touchdown and has thrown for 748 yards and seven touchdowns for the season. Tyler Scott leads the team in receiving yards with 172, but no player on the Bearcats has double digits in receptions. The forte for the Bearcats is on the ground, where they are averaging 165 yards per game. Jerome Ford leads the way with 300 yards and six touchdowns, although he was held to a relatively modest 66 yards on 20 carries last week. Defensively, the Bearcats were tough against the pass, allowing only 17 completions in 40 attempts, but gave up a substantial 152 yards on the ground.
The overall game for Cincinnati has been impressive. They are averaging 43 points per game and 420 yards on offense per contest. On the defensive side of the ball, Cincinnati hasn’t generated much of a pass rush, recording only four sacks. However, they have been opportunistic with six interceptions, two from cornerback Arquon Bush. The Bearcats have allowed only 3.5 yards per carry and are 25th in fewest points allowed at 15 per game.
The Fighting Irish head into this home game with a perfect 4-0 record, taking down Wisconsin by the score of 41-13 last week. Jack Coan completed only 15 of 29 passes for 159 yards. The ground game wasn’t much better as Kyren Williams was held to just 33 yards on 18 attempts. Notre Dame proved they can win even when the offense isn’t clicking. They got two defensive touchdowns on interception returns and another on a 96-yard kickoff return by Chris Tyree. The defense allowed only 240 yards on 18-of-41 passes with four interceptions. In addition, they held Wisconsin to just 2.6 yards per carry.
For the season, Coan has thrown for 986 yards and nine touchdowns. Michael Mayer, Kevin Austin Jr, and Avery Davis have combined for 50 catches, 701 yards and seven touchdowns. They could create havoc in the Bearcats’ secondary should they not get pressure on Coan. That may not be much of an issue, considering the fact that Coan has been sacked 19 times this season. The running game could take pressure off Coan, but Kyren Williams is averaging a modest 3.8 per carry and the Bearcats are tough against the run.
Notre Dame has shown a ferocious pass rush led by the trio of Isaiah Foskey, Justin Ademilola, and Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, who have combined for 8.5 sacks. In addition, the Fighting Irish have swarmed to the ball, recording nine interceptions and two forced fumbles.
The key to this game, like many games, will be who wins the battle in the trenches. Both teams are difficult to run against. The team that creates the most havoc and wins the turnover battle will likely come away with the win. Cincinnati is a 2 –point favorite with an over/under of 50 ½.
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Play the over 24 in the first half as both teams will come out aggressive and score early and often.