The No. 6 Houston Cougars have outscored their opponents 75-23 early on in the college football season. But the Cincinnati Bearcats, who enter their Thursday night matchup with Houston at 2-0, seem to be a worthy opponent.
Here are 3 reasons why Cincinnati may have a shot at an upset:
1. Home-field advantage
The game is at Nippert Stadium, home of the Bearcats. Nippert has a capacity of 40,000. The Bearcats had 28,520 in attendance for their home opener against Tennessee-Martin. So best believe Cincinnati’s fanbase will show up big time against an opponent like Houston.
2. Both teams’ numbers point to a shootout
Houston and Cincinnati average 37 and 33 points per game, respectively. Houston averages 460.5 yards, while Cincinnati is right behind at 456.
Although Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr. is an early Heisman trophy candidate, Cincinnati quarterback Hayden Moore has had slightly better passing numbers through through two games (primarily because Ward missed last week’s game against Lamar due to a shoulder injury). Moore has 510 yards, 189 more yards than Ward. Moore has also thrown five touchdown passes, while Ward has only thrown two.
Houston’s defense is stingy toward opposing rushers, giving up just 42.5 yards on the ground per game. However, Cincinnati averages 201 rushing yards per game. Moore has shown he can do more than pass, scoring two rushing touchdowns in a 38-20 win over Purdue last week . Additionally, Cincinnati has two solid running backs from the state of Florida in Tion Greene and Mike Boone, who have split the carries pretty equally thus far.
3. Mike Tyson
No, not the boxer. He’s a senior safety for Cincinnati. Tyson is currently tied for the most interceptions in the nation (3) with Ohio State safety Malik Hooker. Tyrell Gilbert, another Cincinnati safety, is third in the nation in interception yards (84) and already has two picks. Cincinnati has a few playmakers in the secondary, which could play a major factor on Thursday night.