No. 8 Cincinnati (2-0) at Indiana (1-1), Saturday at noon EDT (ESPN).
Line: Cincinnati by 3 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Indiana leads 9-3-2.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Cincinnati has beaten its first two opponents 91-21, so this will be the Bearcats most challenging test yet. It’s also one of two key chances to impress the playoff selection committee members. For the Hoosiers, it’s an opportunity to prove the Week 1 debacle at Iowa was a fluke. Winning Saturday would likely put Indiana back in the Top 25 and their big aspirations back on track.
Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder vs. Indiana’s secondary. The 2020 AAC player of the year has the fourth highest passer efficiency rating in the nation (206.37). While he hasn’t racked up huge stats through the first two weeks, the Bearcats need Ridder to play well and avoid turnovers against a defense that feasts on takeaways.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Cincinnati: Jerome Ford. The former Alabama running back rushed for 97 yards against Georgia in last year’s bowl game, his first career start. He hasn’t slowed down this season. Ford already has two 100-yard games, four touchdowns and is gaining an impressive 7.8 yards per carry.
Indiana: Tiawan Mullen. After an embarrassing season-opening loss at Iowa, the Hoosiers top cornerback set the tone last weekend with a jarring hit on the first play against Idaho. Indiana needs Mullen and its defense to set the tempo early this week, too.
FACTS & FIGURES
The Bearcats and Hoosiers last played in 2000. … Bearcats coach Luke Fickell is quite familiar with Indiana. He’s 17-0 against them as a player or coach, all when he was at Ohio State. … Cincinnati is 21-3 over its last 24 games. … Indiana has won 10 straight regular-season games against non-conference foes. … The Hoosiers have won four straight at home and seven of their last eight at Memorial Stadium. … Since upsetting No. 9 Ohio State in October 1988, the Hoosiers are 1-40 against top-10 teams.
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