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Houston Cougars vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Game Preview

Cincinnati comes off of a huge win, while the Cougars had a couple weeks to prepare.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 28 Houston at North Texas Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

What a monster win for Cincinnati. The Bearcats pulled off a stunner last week against UCF, but now must reel in their emotions. Awaiting them is a Houston team that’s had two weeks to prepare. The Cougars went through an emotional roller coaster themselves, but are ready to move on in the second half of their season.

Date: Saturday, October 12th
Start time: 2:30pm Ct
How to watch: ESPN2
Line: Cincinnati -7.5
Location: TDECU Stadium (Houston, TX)

Houston Cougars players to watch

CB Damarion Williams
S Deontay Anderson
QB Clayton Tune
LB Zamar Kirven
WR Marquez Stevenson

Cincinnati Bearcats players to watch

QB Desmond Ridder
RB Michael Warren II
LB Bryan Wright
CB Coby Bryant
CB Cam Jefferies

Houston keys to the game

  • Get Tune involved early
  • Stop the run
  • Play smart

Cincinnati keys to the game

  • Establish the run
  • Protect Ridder
  • Force turnovers

Why Houston wins

The Coogs now have prepared for two weeks for Cincinnati, and hopefully put together a gameplan to stop the Bearcats offense. Pressuring the quarterback hasn’t been a strength for Houston this year, but they’ve improved as the year continues. Desmond Ridder is mobile, but making him uncomfortable will help the Cougars secondary. In addition to that, Dana Holgorsen’s had time to get Clayton Tune more reps with the first team offense. His confidence and ability to make quick and smart decisions will be key against a great Bearcats defense. We saw his confidence against North Texas, but that must continue.

Why Cincinnati wins

How does Cincinnati respond to an emotional win over UCF? If they’ve moved on, they should win this without a ton of trouble. If they’re still thinking about it, Houston’s capable of pulling off the upset. A quick way for them to put upset hopes away is to pressure Tune into bad decisions. The Bearcats defense sent pressure frequently against the Knights, and a similar formula will work against the Cougars. That pressure will lead to more turnovers, and give their offense more opportunities to score. As long as they can run the ball, Cincinnati should be fine. Their offensive line hasn’t played the greatest, but they face a Houston defensive line that hasn’t thrived much this year.


Cincinnati’s on upset alert for good reason. A win like last week is tough to get over, and Houston’s more than happy to play the role of spoiler. A game at home is just what Houston needs to get the second half of their season started, and a win would be huge for them. It all depends on Cincinnati’s energy level. HOUSTON 31 CINCINNATI 28