Dec 4, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats linebacker Deshawn Pace (20) and cornerback Arquon Bush (9) take down Houston Cougars wide receiver Nathaniel Dell (1) in the first half during the American Athletic Conference championship game at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

News Articles

No. 4 Cincinnati rolls by No. 21 Houston, awaits playoff fate

The No. 4 Cincinnati Bearcats likely secured their place in history with a 35-20 win against visiting No. 21 Houston in the American Athletic Conference championship game on Saturday.

Cincinnati (13-0) will learn Sunday if it is the first school outside a Power Five conference (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12 and SEC) to be selected for the College Football Playoff since its inception in 2014.

Bearcats coach Luke Fickell was asked after the game why his team deserved to reach the final four, as determined by the CFP selection committee.

“Because they’ve done everything they’ve been asked to do,” he said. “We weren’t worried about that. We wanted to win a championship.

“I kept telling them if you take care of the stuff on the field, everything else will take care of itself. This is a really good football team that deserves everything.”

Desmond Ridder, who finished his career 26-0 at home as a starter, threw for three touchdowns and Jerome Ford had scoring runs of 79 and 42 yards.

Leading 14-13 at the half, the Bearcats scored 21 unanswered points in a 4:24 stretch of the third quarter against the Cougars (11-2). The spree started with scores 58 seconds apart to make it 28-13.

First, Ridder had an 8-yard TD to Leonard Taylor. The Bearcats got the ball back on Houston’s first snap when Joel Dublanko intercepted Clayton Thune and returned it nine yards to the Cougars’ 23.

One play later, Alec Pierce caught a 21-yard TD. Ford rushed for a 42-yard score to make it 35-13 at the 7:38 mark.

The game started well for Houston with a field goal on its first drive.

Ridder then threw a 25-yard TD to Tyler Scott to complete an 82-yard drive. The Cougars went 74 yards and assumed a 10-7 lead on a Tune-to-Nathaniel Dell strike of 16 yards.

But on Cincinnati’s next play from scrimmage after going down by three again, Ford bolted 79 yards for a 14-10 lead.

Houston coach Dan Holgorsen said after the game he was impressed with the Bearcats.

“I honestly saw a championship team in Cincinnati,” Holgorsen said. “I’m proud of our kids. We gave it everything we could this week. We were ready to play.

“This is a very determined Cincinnati team that’s about to make history for a Group of Five school.”

Ford ran for 187 yards on 18 carries for Cincinnati and Ridder was 11-for-17 passing for 190 yards.

Tune completed 17 of 26 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns for Houston, but he had one pass intercepted and was sacked eight times.

A 21-16 win by No. 9 Baylor against No. 5 Oklahoma State in the Big 12 championship earlier in the day bodes well for Cincinnati being selected for the CFP. The Bearcats defeated No. 6 Notre Dame 24-13 in October — at Notre Dame, no less.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

Sportsbooks

Rated 5/5

Rated 5/5

Rated 5/5

Rated 5/5

Upcoming Games

Sep 30th, 7:00 PM

Tulane +3.5 -110

Houston -3.5 -110

@

Sep 30th, 7:30 PM

UTSA -6.5 -110

Middle Tennessee +6.5 -110

@

Sep 30th, 8:00 PM

San Diego State +5 -110

Boise State -5 -110

@

Sep 30th, 10:30 PM

Washington (15) -3 -110

UCLA +3 -110

@

Sep 30th, 11:00 PM

New Mexico +15 -110

UNLV -15 -110

@

Oct 1st, 12:00 PM

Kentucky (7) +4 -110

Ole Miss (14) -4 -110

@

Oct 1st, 12:00 PM

Texas Tech +8 -110

Kansas State (25) -8 -110

@

Oct 1st, 12:00 PM

Oklahoma (18) -5 -110

TCU +5 -110

@

Oct 1st, 12:00 PM

Louisville -13.5 -110

Boston College +13.5 -110

@

Oct 1st, 12:00 PM

Michigan (4) -9.5 -110

Iowa +9.5 -110

@

Oct 1st, 12:00 PM

Purdue +10 -110

Minnesota (21) -10 -110

@

Oct 1st, 12:00 PM

Illinois +9 -110

Wisconsin -9 -110

@

Oct 1st, 12:00 PM

Georgia State +7.5 -110

Army -7.5 -110

@

Oct 1st, 12:00 PM

Navy +16 -110

Air Force -16 -110

@

Oct 1st, 12:00 PM

Temple +20 -110

Memphis -20 -110

@

Oct 1st, 1:30 PM

Texas State +19.5 -110

James Madison -19.5 -110

@

Oct 1st, 2:00 PM

Oregon State +11 -110

Utah (12) -11 -110

@

Oct 1st, 2:00 PM

Massachusetts +20 -110

Eastern Michigan -20 -110

@

Oct 1st, 2:00 PM

NIU -3.5 -110

Ball State +3.5 -110

@

Oct 1st, 2:30 PM

East Carolina -8.5 -110

USF +8.5 -110

@

Oct 1st, 3:30 PM

Alabama (2) -14.5 -110

Arkansas (20) +14.5 -110

@

Oct 1st, 3:30 PM

Oklahoma State (9) +1 -110

Baylor (16) -1 -110

@

Oct 1st, 3:30 PM

Iowa State -3 -110

Kansas +3 -110

@

Oct 1st, 3:30 PM

Wake Forest (22) +3 -110

Florida State (23) -3 -110

@

Oct 1st, 3:30 PM

Virginia Tech +9 -110

North Carolina -9 -110

@

Oct 1st, 3:30 PM

Michigan State +6 -110

Maryland -6 -110

@

Oct 1st, 3:30 PM

Rutgers +41 -110

Ohio State (3) -41 -110

@

Oct 1st, 3:30 PM

Northwestern +24.5 -110

Penn State (11) -24.5 -110

@

Oct 1st, 3:30 PM

Fresno State -24.5 -110

UCONN +24.5 -110

@

Oct 1st, 3:30 PM

Central Michigan +7 -110

Toledo -7 -110

@

Oct 1st, 3:30 PM

Bowling Green -6 -110

Akron +6 -110

@

Oct 1st, 3:30 PM

Miami-OH +2.5 -110

Buffalo -2.5 -110

@

Oct 1st, 3:30 PM

Ohio +7 -110

Kent State -7 -110

@

Oct 1st, 3:30 PM

The Citadel +35 -110

Appalachian State -35 -110

@

Oct 1st, 3:30 PM

Gardner-Webb +32 -110

Marshall -32 -110

@

Oct 1st, 4:00 PM

Texas A&M (17) +1 -110

Mississippi State -1 -110

@

Oct 1st, 4:00 PM

Florida Atlantic -4 -110

North Texas +4 -110

@

Oct 1st, 5:00 PM

Wagner +52.5 -110

Syracuse -52.5 -110

@

Oct 1st, 5:00 PM

South Alabama -6 -110

Louisiana-Lafayette +6 -110

@

Oct 1st, 5:30 PM

California +4 -110

Washington State -4 -110

@

Oct 1st, 6:00 PM

Liberty -2.5 -110

Old Dominion +2.5 -110

@

Oct 1st, 6:00 PM

New Hampshire +14.5 -110

Western Michigan -14.5 -110

@

Oct 1st, 6:00 PM

UTEP -3 -110

Charlotte +3 -110

@

Oct 1st, 7:00 PM

LSU -7.5 -110

Auburn +7.5 -110

@

Oct 1st, 7:00 PM

Cincinnati -11.5 -110

Tulsa +11.5 -110

@

Oct 1st, 7:00 PM

Georgia Southern +10 -110

Coastal Carolina -10 -110

@

Oct 1st, 7:00 PM

Louisiana-Monroe +9.5 -110

Arkansas State -9.5 -110

@

Oct 1st, 7:00 PM

Troy +6 -110

WKU -6 -110

@

Oct 1st, 7:30 PM

Georgia (1) -28 -110

Missouri +28 -110

@

Oct 1st, 7:30 PM

West Virginia +10 -110

Texas -10 -110

@

Oct 1st, 7:30 PM

NC State (10) +6.5 -110

Clemson (5) -6.5 -110

@

Oct 1st, 7:30 PM

Virginia +2 -110

Duke -2 -110

@

Oct 1st, 7:30 PM

Indiana +3.5 -110

Nebraska -3.5 -110

@

Oct 1st, 7:30 PM

San Jose State +1 -110

Wyoming -1 -110

@

Oct 1st, 7:30 PM

UAB -10.5 -110

Rice +10.5 -110

@

Oct 1st, 8:00 PM

Georgia Tech +19 -110

Pittsburgh (24) -19 -110

@

Oct 1st, 8:00 PM

Florida International (FIU) +14.5 -110

New Mexico State -14.5 -110

@

Oct 1st, 9:30 PM

Colorado +19 -110

Arizona -19 -110

@

Oct 1st, 10:30 PM

Arizona State +24 -110

USC (6) -24 -110

@

Oct 1st, 11:00 PM

Stanford +15 -110

Oregon (13) -15 -110

@

Oct 2nd, 12:00 PM

Eastern Washington

Florida

@

Oct 5th, 7:00 PM

SMU +4 -110

UCF -4 -110

@

Oct 7th, 7:00 PM

Nebraska

Rutgers

@

Oct 7th, 7:30 PM

Houston

Memphis

@

Oct 7th, 10:30 PM

Colorado State

Nevada

@

Oct 7th, 10:30 PM

UNLV

San Jose State

@