Oct 8, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; South Florida Bulls running back Brian Battie (21) runs with the ball against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the first half at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Underwhelming seasons collide when Tulsa faces USF

South Florida and host Tulsa will chase down a rare victory when the teams meet Friday night.

The two American Athletic Conference programs find themselves at the bottom of the standings, with the Bulls owning the cellar due to an eight-game skid. Tulsa is standing right outside the door after dropping three straight.

USF (1-9, 0-6) earned its only win when it defeated FCS Howard 42-20 on Sept. 10 in Week 2. The campaign’s low point occurred Nov. 6 when the Bulls fired head coach Jeff Scott after a 54-28 road loss to Temple.

Interim head coach Daniel Da Prato stepped in Saturday against SMU. The Bulls played better at times, forging a 17-17 tie at halftime before succumbing in a 41-23 setback on their home field.

“Obviously, a difficult week for our young men and for our department. We were able to fight through that for the week and we came out and I’m proud of our kids and their effort,” Da Prato said. “But at the end of the day you play this game to win.”

Quarterback Katravis Marsh was stretchered off the field in the fourth quarter but was “in good spirits, with movement in his extremities,” according to Da Prato.

Running back Brian Battie recorded his third straight 100-yard game, with 145 on the ground, and is within 127 yards of the school’s 10th 1,000-yard rushing season.

In its home finale Friday, ninth-place Tulsa (3-7, 1-5) will try to avoid slipping into last place by improving on offense. Behind quarterbacks Davis Brin and Braylon Braxton, the Golden Hurricane offense generated just 207 yards in Saturday’s 26-10 loss to Memphis. The pair combined to go 17 of 37 for 176 passing yards.

Through its first three games, Tulsa’s offense topped FBS schools with over 43 points per game and 413 passing yards per game, but it has regressed with Brin’s injuries and Braxton’s inconsistency.

“Early in the season, I thought we were hitting on all cylinders and things were coming together,” Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said. “Where I thought this offense was going to be able to go is in a totally different end of the spectrum than where we are right now.”

USF holds a 3-2 edge in the all-time series, but Tulsa has won the past two meetings — 32-31 last season in Tampa and 42-13 in 2020 at Tulsa.

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2022; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Tigers quarterback Seth Henigan (5) passes the ball during warm ups prior to the game against the UCF Knights at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Time running out on Memphis, Tulsa for bowl eligibility

Memphis will look to end a four-game losing streak when it hosts struggling Tulsa in American Athletic Conference play on Thursday.

The Tigers (4-5, 2-4 AAC) are coming off a 35-28 loss to visiting UCF in which the No. 25 Knights broke open a tie game with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to deal Memphis its longest losing streak since 2013.

Tulsa (3-6, 1-4) fell behind 17-3 midway through the second quarter and never recovered in a 27-13 loss at No. 19 Tulane. It was the Golden Hurricane’s fifth defeat in their past six games.

Memphis must win two of its final three games to be bowl-eligible for the ninth straight season, while the Golden Hurricane must win their final three games to qualify for the postseason for the third straight year.

“Nobody’s going to apply a sense of urgency more than our own selves,” Memphis coach Ryan Silverfield said. “They’re ignoring the outside noise. They’re focused on what they need to focus on and all they can focus on is beating Tulsa.”

Tigers quarterback Seth Henigan has thrown two interceptions in each of the past three games to match his six touchdown passes during that stretch.

He went 26-of-39 passing for 284 yards with a touchdown against UCF on Saturday. But the Tigers allowed 427 yards and four touchdown passes, including one by Golden Knights running back Isaiah Bowser.

Tulsa will need to play much better on both sides of the ball against Memphis than it did against Tulane.

Braylon Braxton went 13-of-25 passing for 146 yards and a touchdown in his first start, replacing Davis Brin, who was sidelined with an injured right ankle. Brin’s availability for Thursday will be determined closer to game time, according to Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery.

Tulsa was outgained 482-257 and gave up 357 rushing yards on 53 carries, an average of 6.7 yards per attempt.

“We know we got a short week, so everybody has to be locked in, have the same agenda and goal,” Braxton said. “We just got to go 1-0.”

The Golden Hurricane defeated Memphis 35-29 last year to end a three-game losing streak to the Tigers, who lead the all-time series 19-12.

–Field Level Media

Oct 22, 2022; Dallas, Texas, USA; Southern Methodist Mustangs quarterback Tanner Mordecai (8) throws downfield during the first half against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Gerald J. Ford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Tanner Mordecai’s status uncertain for SMU vs. Tulsa

SMU and host Tulsa will meet in an American Athletic Conference game on Saturday in Oklahoma in which both teams are seeking a much-needed win if they are to become bowl-eligible.

The Mustangs (3-4, 1-2 AAC) have dropped four of their past five games after a 29-27 loss to then-No. 21 Cincinnati on Saturday. The Golden Hurricane (3-4, 1-2) ended a three-game losing streak with a 27-16 win at Temple on Friday.

The biggest question facing the Mustangs is at quarterback. Tanner Mordecai suffered a concussion late in the third quarter against Cincinnati and was replaced by Preston Stone. Mordecai is in concussion protocol and his status is unclear for Saturday.

“Tanner’s in a day-to-day world,” SMU offensive coordinator Casey Woods said. “We’ve got confidence in Preston. He’s done a good job, so seeing him operate within the entirety of the offense has been fun and I know he’ll be ready if called upon.”

Stone almost rallied SMU from a 15-point, fourth-quarter deficit. But his two-point conversion pass was incomplete following Tyler Lavine’s 1-yard touchdown dive that pulled the Mustangs to within 29-27 with 1:57 remaining.

Mordecai — a transfer from Oklahoma — has completed 60.8 percent of his passes for 2,121 yards with 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions, while Stone has gone 17 for 31 for 169 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Rashee Rice, the team’s top receiver with 53 catches for 802 yards and four touchdowns, has been slowed by a toe injury.

Tulsa also has one of the conference’s top receivers. Keylon Stokes became the school’s all-time leading pass-catcher after posting 37 yards on four catches against Temple, giving him 3,352 receiving yards for his career. Stokes has 48 receptions for 802 yards and four scores this season.

Deneric Price rushed for 231 yards, including an 84-yard touchdown run, on 20 carries against the Owls. He also scored on an 18-yard reception.

“Obviously, Deneric had a couple of big, explosive runs,” Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said. “The one late — man, what a huge play that we needed right there to really extend the lead.”

Tulsa is 13-15 all-time against SMU but has won two straight in the series.

–Field Level Media

Sep 3, 2022; Laramie, Wyoming, USA; Tulsa Golden Hurricane quarterback Davis Brin (7) warms up before the game against the Wyoming Cowboys at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Tulsa, Temple seeking first AAC win on Friday night

When Tulsa and Temple meet Friday night in Philadelphia in American Athletic Conference play, both teams will be looking to break losing streaks in a season that has become slightly derailed.

Tulsa (2-4, 0-2 AAC) has lost three in a row and Temple (2-4, 0-2) has dropped two straight. The Golden Hurricane and Owls are tied for ninth in the conference ahead of only 1-6 South Florida.

Through its first four games, including a 35-27 loss to then-No. 16 Ole Miss, Tulsa’s offense managed to post points freely, but that productivity dwindled during setbacks against Cincinnati and Navy.

After his squad ran for just 25 yards on 18 carries in a 53-21 loss to the Midshipmen on Oct. 8, Golden Hurricane coach Philip Montgomery said a better effort on the ground will help quarterback Davis Brin open up the passing game.

“We got to get our run game more established,” Montgomery said. “I probably gave up on the run a little bit too quick, but we got to be better in that area.”

The Owls have struggled to move the ball, too, scoring a combined 16 points in consecutive road defeats against Memphis and UCF.

First-year coach Stan Drayton said he is particularly interested in the mental aspect of how his group responds to a humbling 70-13 walloping by the Knights in Orlando on Oct. 13.

“Every opportunity is a great opportunity to learn,” Drayton said. “We have an opportunity to learn who we are as a football team as a result of this loss. I need to see how they’re going to respond to this.”

E.J. Warner continues to get the bulk of the snaps, completing 86 of 153 passes for 1,040 yards. The son of former NFL star quarterback Kurt Warner has tossed six touchdowns against six interceptions.

Brin has thrown for 1,839 yards with 14 TDs and five interceptions for the Golden Hurricane.

The teams have split six career matchups. Tulsa won last season 44-10 by building a 27-0 halftime lead behind Brin’s two TD passes, while Temple claimed all three meetings from 2014-18.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Ben Bryant (6) throws against the Indiana Hoosiers in the third quarter at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK

High-scoring offenses, Cincy and Tulsa meet in AAC opener

Cincinnati and host Tulsa likely will keep heads on a swivel Saturday as their respective high-octane offenses clash in the American Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

The defending AAC-champion Bearcats (3-1) are averaging a conference-best 42.5 points per game, while the Golden Hurricane (2-2) are right behind them at 39 points per contest. Tulsa, however, ranks first in the conference in both total offense (507 yards per game) and passing offense (358.5).

Cincinnati, which ranks third in the conference in passing offense (328.3), got off to a fast start last Saturday. Ben Bryant threw three of his four first-half touchdowns to Tyler Scott to fuel the Bearcats to a 45-24 victory over Indiana.

Bryant completed 24 of 40 passes for a career-high-tying 354 yards, marking his third 300-yard passing performance since joining the program as a transfer from Eastern Michigan.

Scott was named AAC Offensive Player of the Week after recording personal-best totals in catches (10) and receiving yards (185).

“Ben Bryant played his butt off,” Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell said. “Tyler Scott had three touchdowns in the first half, there are some really great things. They are going to give us a chance to win a lot of football games.”

Cincinnati’s Ivan Pace Jr. was named AAC Defensive Player of the Week after registering 15 tackles — including 4.5 for loss — and 2.5 sacks against the Hoosiers.

The transfer from Miami (Ohio) will look to provide a disruptive presence versus Tulsa, which squandered an early lead in a 35-27 setback against Ole Miss last Saturday.

“I was proud of our football team in a lot of different ways,” Golden Hurricane head coach Philip Montgomery said. “I thought we played a full 60-minute game, fought through some adversity, gave ourselves a chance to win late.”

Davis Brin threw for a touchdown and rushed for another before exiting midway through the second quarter with an injured right ankle. Receiver Keylon Stokes was briefly knocked out of the game following a helmet-to-helmet hit.

Stokes has 31 receptions for 507 yards and three scores this season.

Montgomery said Tuesday that Brin is day-to-day.

–Field Level Media

Dec 20, 2021; Conway, South Carolina, USA; Tulsa Golden Hurricane running back Shamari Brooks (3) is tackled by Old Dominion Monarchs safety Terry Jones during (13) in the 2021 Myrtle Beach Bowl at Brooks Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

Tulsa storms past Old Dominion to win Myrtle Beach Bowl

Davis Brin passed for 285 yards and two touchdowns to help Tulsa post a solid 30-17 victory over Old Dominion on Monday afternoon in the Myrtle Beach Bowl at Conway, S.C.

Josh Johnson caught eight passes for 129 yards and a touchdown as the Golden Hurricane (7-6) won their fourth consecutive game. Shamari Brooks rushed for 107 yards and a score on 26 carries to move into second place in school history with 3,729 yards, passing Tarrion Adams (3,651 yards from 2005-08).

Ethan Hall also caught a touchdown pass and Zack Long booted three field goals for Tulsa, which outgained Old Dominion 529 to 247 while controlling the contest. The Golden Hurricane had a huge edge in plays (99 to 47) and first downs (35 to 10) while controlling the ball for 39 minutes, 43 seconds.

LaMareon James returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for the first of Old Dominion’s two touchdowns. Hayden Wolff completed 19 of 28 passes for 176 yards and one interception and Blake Watson rushed for 77 yards and a score for the Monarchs (6-7), who had a five-game winning streak halted.

James supplied electricity at the outset by navigating his way down the field for his second kickoff return of the season.

But the Golden Hurricane needed just 1:42 to answer and Brooks capped the seven-play, 74-yard drive by scoring from the 1.

Tulsa moved ahead 14-7 later in the quarter as Brin (22-of-34 passing) tossed a 23-yard scoring pass to Johnson with 4:47 to go.

Old Dominion’s Nick Rice kicked a 32-yard field goal with 12:50 left in the second quarter, but Long countered with a 35-yarder with nine seconds remaining to give the Golden Hurricane a 17-10 halftime lead.

Long added field goals of 25 and 32 yards in the third quarter to boost Tulsa’s advantage to 23-10.

The Monarchs threatened early in the fourth quarter as Wolff connected with Ali Jennings III for 30 yards. But Tulsa’s Tyon Davis punched the ball out of Jennings’ grasp inside the 5-yard line, and it rolled into the end zone and out the right side for a touchback.

The Golden Hurricane responded with an 11-play, 80-yard drive that increased their lead to 30-10. Brin capped it with a 4-yard toss to Hall with 9:04 left in the contest.

Watson scored on a 2-yard run to pull Old Dominion within 13 with 7:15 remaining.

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2021; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA;  Tulsa Golden Hurricane running back Shamari Brooks (3) runs the ball during the second quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium. The Cowboys won 28-23. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Resilient ODU, Tulsa meet in Myrtle Beach Bowl

When Old Dominion was wallowing with a 1-6 record in mid-October, losing eight or more games seemed much more likely than securing a bowl berth.

But the Monarchs stunningly turned their season around with five straight wins, and their reward is a date with Tulsa on Monday in the Myrtle Beach Bowl in Conway, S.C.

Things looked bleak when Old Dominion was routed 43-20 by Western Kentucky on Oct. 16. But the Monarchs of Conference USA won three games by 14 or more points during their hot streak.

Old Dominion (6-6) now plays in a bowl game for the second time since becoming an FBS program in 2013. The first was a 24-20 win over Eastern Michigan in the 2016 Bahamas Bowl.

“I love our story. I love this season. It’s the most fun season I’ve ever been a part of,” Monarchs coach Ricky Rahne said. “The kids never changed, never blinked. They believed in our coaching staff; our coaching staff believed.”

The Golden Hurricane (6-6) also finished strong to land a bowl berth, winning their last three games by a cumulative 98-54.

Tulsa played a tough schedule that includes road losses to three teams that were in College Football Playoff contention — Cincinnati, Ohio State and Oklahoma State. In the second game of the season, the Golden Hurricane led the Cowboys in the fourth quarter before falling 28-23 in Stillwater.

Tulsa was 1-4 after it was steamrolled 45-10 by Houston on Oct. 1. More than a month later, the 28-20 loss to CFP-bound Cincinnati left the Golden Hurricane with a 3-6 mark — but they rattled off wins over fellow American Athletic Conference foes Tulane, Temple and SMU to earn the bowl invitation.

“We take it one game at a time, and every game that we get to play with each other is something big,” said Tulsa receiver Josh Johnson, who has 75 receptions for 985 yards and five touchdowns this season.

Golden Hurricane running back Shamari Brooks (3,622 career yards) needs 30 yards to surpass Tarrion Adams (2005-08) and move into second place in school history.

The defense is led by defensive tackle Jaxon Player, who has 13.5 tackles for loss.

“We worked all year to get here, so why not go out with a bang?” Player said. “We’ve been through a long season. Going 6-6 is rough, but we made it here. I want to enjoy the fruits of my labor.”

The Golden Hurricane, who are 10-12 in bowl games, will try to slow down a trio of strong Old Dominion offensive players.

Running back Blake Watson (1,035 rushing yards) topped 100 on the ground six times, Zack Kuntz (71 catches for 674 yards and five scores) ranks second nationally in catches by a tight end, and receiver Ali Jennings III is eight yards shy of reaching 1,000.

Linebacker Jordan Young has a team-high 83 tackles for the Monarchs, who are now bullish on their abilities.

“We grew in some confidence, I would say,” Rahne said of the late-season stretch. “But in terms of our toughness and ability to compete, no, this team has shown me that from Day 1.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Southern Methodist Mustangs quarterback Tanner Mordecai (8) throws a pass against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the first half at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

SMU looks to rebound in finale vs. Tulsa

Tanner Mordecai looks for a bounce-back performance on Saturday afternoon when SMU hosts Tulsa in the teams’ regular-season finale in Dallas.

Mordecai completed 15 of 26 passes for just 66 yards and a touchdown in the Mustangs’ 48-14 setback to No. 5 Cincinnati last Saturday. The four-time American Athletic Conference Player of the Week had averaged 326.4 yards passing and 3.7 scores over his previous 10 games for SMU (8-3, 4-3).

The Mustangs’ prolific offense was held under 200 yards after averaging nearly 500 yards entering the game. SMU was 2-for-11 on third downs and was on the wrong end of the time of possession battle by nearly 11 minutes.

“We’ll go look at the film, try to make improvements, do what we can to get better,” Mustangs coach Sonny Dykes said, “but the big thing we’ve got to do is get it behind us because this is one of those losses that will jolt you a little bit if you let it. We don’t want that to happen.”

SMU has followed a 7-0 start by losing three of its last four games. The lone win in the latter sequence was a 55-28 rout of UCF, a decision that improved the Mustangs to 5-0 at home this season.

The Golden Hurricane (5-6, 4-3) have answered a two-game losing skid with a 20-13 overtime victory over Tulane on Nov. 13 and a 44-10 romp over Temple last Saturday. The total points against the Owls were the most by Tulsa this season.

“So really proud of the way our team played, these seniors, and what they’ve done,” Golden Hurricane coach Philip Montgomery said. “That’s probably our most … complete game as a team.”

Josh Johnson recorded a career-best 159 receiving yards and an 8-yard touchdown vs. the Owls. He had 20- and 35-yard touchdown receptions against SMU last season as Tulsa overcame an early 21-point deficit in a 28-24 victory.

Fellow senior Shamari Brooks sits 100 yards shy of tying Tarrion Adams (3,651, 2005-08) for second place on the school’s all-time rushing list.

Davis Brin, a redshirt junior, completed 18 of 30 passes for 297 yards and two touchdowns against Temple. He also rushed for another.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Greenville, North Carolina, USA;  Temple Owls quarterback D'Wan Mathis (18) looks over at the sidelines during the first half against the East Carolina Pirates at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Temple tries to snap five-game skid, ruin Tulsa’s senior day

Temple will hope to avoid a sixth consecutive loss when it battles host Tulsa on Saturday.

The Owls (3-7, 1-5 American Athletic Conference) last won 34-31 against Memphis on Oct. 2. Since then, they’ve been outscored by a whopping 217-35.

Temple has been besieged by injuries and has continued to play a bevy of freshmen.

“I feel like we have a good, young nucleus,” Temple head coach Rod Carey said. “They’re on their way to being experienced.”

The Owls’ most recent defeat came against No. 24 Houston, falling 37-8 last Saturday.

Once again, they will have some uncertainty at quarterback going into this road matchup. D’Wan Mathis has been struggling with a couple of nagging injuries and it’s unclear whether he’ll start. Justin Lynch is also a strong possibility.

“I know there’s improvement,” Carey said of Mathis’ health. “I don’t know the extent of that improvement.”

The Owls don’t have much to play for except to carry positive momentum over into the offseason. But don’t tell that to Carey with all the hard work the senior leaders have put in to the program.

“We have a good group of seniors that are fully engaged and competing,” he said.

Tulsa will look to keep its postseason bowl hopes alive with a win over Temple. Tulsa also has one final regular-season game against Southern Methodist and could finish 6-6 to potentially qualify for a bowl.

The Golden Hurricane (4-6, 3-3) put themselves in position to inch closer to bowl contention with a thrilling 20-13 win in overtime over Tulane last Saturday.

Justin Wright played a large role in the victory with 12 tackles on his way to being named AAC Defensive Player of the Week.

While Tulsa looks to be favored over the reeling Owls, nothing is guaranteed.

“It’s college football,” Tulsa’s Jaxon Player said. “You can’t base (an opinion of) anybody off their record. Everybody shows up on Saturday.”

Tulsa will be facing Temple for the first time since 2018.

Since this will be the final home game for the Golden Hurricane, especially their 23 seniors, they hope to come out with extra intensity. Especially if they want to keep their bowl hopes alive.

“We’ve been in a lot of tight ballgames. We’ve won a few. We’ve lost a few,” Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery said. “All of our intentions are on the next game. All of our focus is on Temple. To have control of our destiny is a good thing.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell looks on before the NCAA football game between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the UCF Knights at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Albert Cesare / The Enquirer-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2 Cincinnati focused on wins, beating Tulsa, not rankings

The No. 2 Cincinnati Bearcats claim not to be worried about rankings, but stockpiling wins. And the next opportunity to chalk up another victory is Saturday when the Tulsa Golden Hurricane visit Nippert Stadium.

The Bearcats (8-0, 4-0 AAC) aim for their second consecutive 9-0 start and face the team that nearly denied them that record in 2020. The Hurricane (3-5, 2-2) dropped a 27-24 decision at the end of regulation in Nippert last fall. UC moved to 9-0 with a victory in the AAC Championship Game.

But more than a title game rematch, the game offers the Bearcats another chance to potentially impress the College Football Playoff selection committee. The 13-person committee will decide the four teams that qualify for the playoff. Despite a perfect record and a road win at Notre Dame earlier this season, the Bearcats are assured of nothing so far.

The initial CFP rankings came out Tuesday night. UC quarterback Desmond Ridder was asked to appear on the broadcast. He declined.

“As much as we want to be on (the show), that’s not something we’re focused on right now,” Ridder said earlier Tuesday. “If it was a show about the (AAC) standings, I probably would have joined it. Because we can’t do anything without these next four games and the conference championship game.”

Ridder, 39-5 as a starter, was named as a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award and has thrown for 1,847 yards with 21 total touchdowns. But Ridder is just one part of a balanced Bearcats’ outfit. Running back Jerome Ford has rushed for 846 yards and is tied for third in the nation with 14 rushing touchdowns.

Cincinnati is the only team in the country to have a top-10 scoring offense (39.9 ppg, 9th) and defense (14.3, 2nd). The Bearcats trail only Georgia in scoring defense. UC’s 14 interceptions also rank second in the country.

Still, head coach Luke Fickell said he doesn’t have time to delve into playoff potential.

“I’m not saying ignore the hype … but if you ingest it all, it will mentally wear you out,” he said. “We’ve got to be ready. We got a battle on our hands and (last year) in some ways they outplayed us.”

Tulsa pushed Cincinnati to the limit a year ago. The Hurricane are in the midst of a lowering tide in 2021.

Philip Montgomery’s team ranks just eighth in the AAC in both scoring offense and defense and last week lost 20-17 at home to Navy. The Midshipmen won despite failing to complete one forward pass.

“We have an opportunity to go up there and do some special things,” head coach Philip Montgomery said. “All year long they’ve been one of the best teams in the country. We’ve got to focus on us and what we have to do to give ourselves a chance.”

The Hurricane have tools to limit the number of possessions and grind out an upset bid. Tusla has six individual 100-yard rushing games this season, and running backs Shamari Brooks (588 yards, 4 touchdowns) and Deneric Prince (406, 3 TDs) ranked fifth and sixth in the AAC, respectively, in rushing on a per-game basis.

Tulsa leads the all-time series 17-16-2, but the Bearcats have won two straight head-to-head matchups.

Cincinnati will be trying to keep pace with Houston (7-1, 5-0) atop the AAC and has another hurdle to clear this month in the form of SMU (7-1, 3-1). But like a spot in the playoff, those are concerns for another day. UC hopes to make it 25 straight home wins, and 12 in a row against AAC focus on Saturday.

“With everything going on, we just have to be able to handle it,” Fickell said.

–Field Level Media