Houston (2-2, 2-1 American Athletic) at No. 6 Cincinnati (5-0, 3-0), Saturday at 3:30 EST (ABC).
Line: Cincinnati by 13 1/2.
Series record: Houston leads 15-11.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Cincinnati has won 17 straight home games, a school record, and is still hoping to crash the College Football Playoff as the only non-Power 5 team to ever do so. In order to do that, the Bearcats will need to ignore the growing buzz surrounding their program and focus on a Cougars team that gave them fits last season in Houston. The Bearcats have won six of the last eight meetings, including four of the past five at home.
Houston’s running game vs. Cincinnati’s defense. Houston is looking to establish consistency in its rushing attack, but that might be a tall order on Saturday against Cincinnati which allows only 97 yards on the ground. Senior Kyle Porter is the Cougars’ leading rusher with 271 yards and three touchdowns in four games. Head coach Dana Holgorsen is looking for more production from senior Mulbah Car who has 70 yards on 18 carries and two TDs.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Houston: Junior wide receiver Bryson Smith might have some big shoes to fill on Saturday if top playmaker Marquez Stevenson can’t overcome an injury suffered in the first quarter last week against UCF. He had three catches for 38 yards last week.
Cincinnati: Senior running back Gerrid Doaks rushed for 77 yards in last week’s win over Memphis, after rushing for 100 or more yards in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. Doaks had 105 rushing yards at SMU and 102 against South Florida.
FACTS & FIGURES
Cincinnati’s 17-game home winning streak is the fourth-longest active streak among FBS schools. … The Bearcats have held three straight opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing, including last week against Memphis, which had only five yards on the ground. …. Cincinnati is the highest ranked conference opponent Houston has faced on the road since No. 3 Texas on Nov. 10, 1984, in Austin when both schools were members of the Southwest Conference. … The Cougars are 1-9 in their last 10 matchups against top-10 teams on the road. Houston’s last win over a top-10 on the road came in 2009 at Oklahoma State. … Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder is responsible for nine TDs in the past two games (five rush, four pass).