AAC title on line as No. 3 Cincinnati hosts No. 16 Houston

Thu, Dec 2, 2021
NCAAF News (AP)

AAC title on line as No. 3 Cincinnati hosts No. 16 Houston

Houston (11-1, 8-0 American Athletic Conference, No. 21 CFP) at No. 3 (Cincinnati (12-0, 8-0, No. 4), Saturday at 4 p.m. EST (ABC).

Line: Cincinnati by 10 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Houston leads 15-12.

WHAT'S AT STAKE?

The American Athletic Conference championship is on the line for both teams, but the stakes are greater for Cincinnati, which is in position to become the first non-Power Five team to reach the College Football Playoff. The Bearcats are ranked No. 4 in this week's rankings. The final rankings will be announced on Dec. 5.

KEY MATCHUP

The Bearcats need to be wary of Cougars senior Marcus Jones, who has two kickoff return touchdowns and two punt return TDs. On defense, Jones leads the nation with five interceptions, but his big plays on special teams have been game-changers for Houston.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Houston: QB Clayton Tune threw 191 passes without an interception this season. In his past seven games, Tune has passed for 2,029 yards, 19 touchdowns, and two interceptions.

Cincinnati: Junior RB Jerome Ford ranks eighth nationally with 17 rushing touchdowns, but he's been especially effective at home, rushing for 678 yards and 12 TDs in Nippert Stadium.

FACTS & FIGURES

Cincinnati has won 26 straight at Nippert Stadium, which is the second-longest home winning streak in the country behind Clemson (34). ... Houston's 11-game win streak is one shy of the program record and third-longest nationally behind Georgia (16) and Cincinnati (12). ... Houston and Cincinnati are among four FBS teams ranked in the top 10 nationally in both scoring offense and total defense, joining Alabama and Georgia. ... Houston leads the all-time series 15-12, but Cincinnati has won two straight and seven of nine.

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