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Miami-Ohio (3-2) at Cincinnati (3-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 6, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Nippert Stadium (35,097) -- Cincinnati, Ohio. Television: FSN-OH, Big East Network. Home Record: Miami-Ohio 2-0, Cincinnati 2-0 Away Record: Miami-Ohio 1-2, Cincinnati 0-0. Neutral Record: Miami-Ohio 0-0, Cincinnati 1-0. Conference Record: Miami-Ohio 2-0, Cincinnati 1-0. Series Record: Miami-Ohio leads, 59-50-7.
GAME NOTES: A pair of instate rivals will get set to collide this weekend when the Cincinnati Bearcats match up with the Miami-Ohio RedHawks at Nippert Stadium.
Miami-Ohio has played four of its first five games in the Buckeye State and has a 3-1 record in those games, with the only loss coming against the Buckeyes of Ohio State. The team's only other loss was a 39-12 setback on the blue turf at Boise State. Last weekend Miami-Ohio won a shootout with conference foe Akron, 56-49 behind the arm of quarterback Zac Dysert, who threw for a school-record six touchdowns.
On the other side Cincinnati has won its first three games of the season after a 27-24 victory at FedEx Field over Virginia Tech last week. The Bearcats are now 3-0 for the first time since 2009 while having extended their current winning streak, which dates back to last season, to six games. Cincinnati's impressive start has gotten the attention of the voters in the top-25, with the Bearcats just one spot below No. 25 UCLA with 72 votes.
Although Miami-Ohio has the all-time lead in this series (59-50-7) it has been Cincinnati that had dominated in recent years with wins in each of the last six seasons. The Bearcats have been especially dominant in the last three meetings, outscoring the RedHawks 109-16 in three victories, including a 27-0 shutout last season.
In its win over Akron, Miami-Ohio set a number of season-highs on offense both as a team and on an individual level. The RedHawks have averaged 397.6 yards and 27.0 points per game this season, but posted 705 yards of total offense, including 516 through the air in the win. The total offensive output was a school-record and the 56 points the most in a single game since 1997.
With his record setting day that included a 34-for-49 performance on pass attempts, Dysert moved into second place among MAC quarterbacks in passing yards (1,413) and touchdowns (11) this season. The 516-yard effort was the third time in his career he has eclipsed the 400-yard mark and the first over 500.
Dawan Scott also jumped up the statistical leader board in the game, catching 11 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns. Scott has now caught 27 passes for 441 yards and four touchdowns this season, ranking him the fifth most productive receiver in the MAC through the first five games. Andy Cruse leads the team in receptions (38) after adding a nine-catch, 111-yard effort against Akron.
While the RedHawks are blessed with dependable pass-catchers, the running game has been less stellar with Dysert (183 yards) the leading rusher for the second worst rush offense in the MAC.
Although not the worst scoring defense (34.8 ppg) the RedHawks have been the most generous in terms of yardage, surrendering an average of 517.2 yards per game. A good chunk of that came from the 629 yards that the RedHawks gave up against Akron.
Chris Wade is the team's leading tackler with 51 on the season including four for loss, which ties with Mike Johns and Mwanza Wamulumba for the team lead. Pat Hinkel has been an effective tackler (33), while also collecting three interceptions.
Cincinnati has made piling up yards much more of a habit than Miami-Ohio, with the Bearcats racking up 475.3 yards per game this season. That output along with the team's scoring offense (28.0 ppg) rank third in the Big East.
Dual-threat quarterback Munchie Legaux had one of his best days passing in the win over Virginia Tech, throwing for a career-high 376 yards, while also adding three scores. Legaux does not always look comfortable in the pocket forcing him to move in the backfield which has hurt his accuracy this season, (54.6 percent) as evidenced by his 19-for-42 effort against Virginia Tech.
Kenbrell Thompkins more than doubled his production for the entire season in the win over Virginia Tech with seven catches for 134 yards and a touchdown. Thompkins now leads the team in receptions (12) and receiving yards (204) through the first three games.
George Winn has led the team on the ground with 318 yards and two scores and a healthy 6.1 yards-per-carry average. Legaux has also been a major part of the rushing game with 169 yards on 6.8 yards per carry.
Cincinnati's defense has been rather resilient this season especially in terms of limiting opponents on the scoreboard. While surrendering 359.3 yards per game, the Bearcats are only yielding 13.7 points per game. That includes a 30-0 edge in scoring in the first quarter, while surrendering only 10 points through the first three quarters of games this season.
Greg Blair leads the team with 30 tackles and is coming off a career-high with 16 tackles against Virginia Tech. Maalik Bomar has 29 tackles, 13 of which came against the Hokies, while Walter Stewart had been a force up front with five tackles for loss, including three sacks.
There hasn't been much of a drop off on offense by the Bearcats after losing key personnel like RB Isaiah Pead and QB Zach Collaros after last season. With that in mind, Miami-Ohio might need another huge offensive performance to come out with a win, which will be tough against a Cincinnati defense that does not allow teams to score with frequency.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cincinnati 34, Miami-Ohio 13
10/03 10:39:49 ET
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