Houston, Cincinnati clash in conference title game Saturday
#16/16 Houston at #4/3 Cincinnati
Dec. 4, 2021 | 3 p.m. CT | Nippert Stadium | Cincinnati, Ohio
Radio: KPRC 950 AM
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
« Houston and Cincinnati are meeting for the 28th time in the history of the programs. Houston leads the series 15-12. The teams have met six times as members of The American with the Bearcats leading 4-2. The Cougars won 11 of the first 12 matchups in the series (1957-74).
« The Cougars have won 11 conference championships across four leagues (American Athletic, Conference USA, Southwest and Missouri Valley). Houston’s last conference championship came in 2015 when the Cougars defeated Temple, 24-13, in the inaugural American Championship Game.
« As a program, Houston is no stranger to success against top-ranked opponents. The Cougars are 2-1 in their last three contests against Top-5 teams highlighted by wins against No. 3/3 Oklahoma and No. 3/5 Louisville during the 2016 season. The Cougars defeated then-No. 19/16 SMU, 44-37, in their lone matchup against a ranked opponent this season.
« Houston is one of four FBS teams ranked inside the Top 10 nationally for both scoring offense and total defense, joining Alabama, Cincinnati and Georgia. The Cougars are averaging 38.8 points per game (10th) and holding opponents to 288.6 yards per contest (6th).
« The Houston Alumni Association (UHAA) will be hosting a tailgate from 1:30-3:30 p.m. ET at the Tangeman University Center – Great Hall (2600 Clifton Ave.). Tickets are $30 and include food and two drink tickets. To register, click here.
« UHAA will also be hosting a happy hour at 5 p.m. ET Friday from The Pitch Cincy (1430 Central Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45220). The event is free to attend. To RSVP, click here.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
« Houston posted an 8-0 record in American Athletic Conference play, marking just the second undefeated conference season in program history (2021, 2011). Houston is the only FBS program in Texas to post multiple undefeated conference seasons since 2011.
« Houston’s 11-game win streak is its longest since winning as many from Jan. 2-Nov. 14, 2015 and is one shy of the program record (12 – Sept. 3-Nov. 25, 2011; Nov. 4, 1989-Nov. 3, 1990). The streak is the third longest active nationally (Georgia – W16; Cincinnati – W12).
« The Cougars have won 10-plus games following a losing season three times, going from 2-8 in 1975 to 10-2 in 1976; 5-7 in 2010 to 13-1 in 2011 and 3-5 in 2020 to 11-1 in 2021. Houston’s eight-game turnaround in the win column is the second-best nationally from 2020-21, trailing only Michigan (+9).
«Houston checks in at No. 16 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 16 in the AP Top 25. It marks the fifth consecutive week garnering a national ranking in both polls. The No. 16 ranking is Houston’s highest in the AP Top 25 since Oct. 16, 2016 (No. 11).
« Houston has not allowed a first quarter point in eight of 12 games, outscoring opponents 130-38 in the opening frame. Houston is 8-1 when leading after the first quarter in 2021 and 12-4 when leading after the opening period under Head Coach Dana Holgorsen.
« Cincinnati is 21-1 the past two seasons and is attempting to become the first school not in a Power 5 conference to appear in the College Football Playoff.
» Cincinnati running back Jerome Ford is fourth in the nation in rushing touchdowns with 17.
« Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner has had 1,108 career coverage snaps and has yet to allow a touchdown.
« Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder will play his last game at Nippert Stadium and will attempt to cross the 10,000-yard passing mark. Ridder owns multiple Cincinnati passing records including passing touchdowns with 84.
LAST TIME AGAINST CINCINNATI
« Houston running back Kyle Porter ran for 69 yards and Houston’s lone score as the Cougars fell 38-10 at No. 6 Cincinnati on Nov. 7, 2020.
« Houston defensive lineman Derek Parish led all defenders with nine tackles.
« Houston defensive back Hasaan Hypolite recorded his first career interception.
A HOUSTON WIN WOULD …
« Clinch Houston’s 12th conference championship and second American Athletic Conference title (first since 2015).
« Mark Houston’s first conference title game victory on the road. In their lone previous opportunity, the Cougars fell 38-32 at East Carolina on Dec. 5, 2009.
« Be Houston’s 12th consecutive win, matching a program record (Sept. 3-Nov. 25, 2011; Nov. 4, 1989-Nov. 3, 1990).
» Mark the third time Houston has won 12-plus games in a season (2011 – 13; 2015 – 13).
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