UC vs. OU - 9/22/18

UC's James Wiggins runs through Ohio tacklers. Sept. 22, 2018.

After a thrilling 34-30 comeback win over Ohio University last Saturday, the University of Cincinnati football team begins American Athletic Conference (AAC) play this week at the University of Connecticut (UConn).

UConn has a 1-3 record, including its 51-21 loss last week to Syracuse University. The Huskies’ defense allowed 636 yards of total offense.

Huskies’ senior quarterback David Pindell has completed 75-of-113 passes for 796 yards and seven touchdowns. Sophomore running back Kevin Mensah leads the rushing attack with 361 yards and two touchdowns.

“[UConn’s] got a dynamic quarterback that can make everybody around him better,” Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell said at a Tuesday news conference. “I’m not saying he’s slinging the ball for 400 yards, but he has averaged over 100 and some yards on both the ground and in the air. He’s building momentum. He’s not the same quarterback that we played last year … I truly believe they’re a lot better than what they’ve shown because of some of the competition they’ve played.”

UConn head coach Randy Edsall is in his second stint at UConn, having previously served as head coach for the Huskies from 1999-2010. He was head coach at the University of Maryland from 2011-2015 before returning to Connecticut in 2017.

The Bearcats are 4-0 for the first time since 2012. Redshirt freshman quarterback Desmond Ridder passed for 274 yards on 19-of-29 completions and two touchdowns against OU last week. Although Ridder has only started three games in his collegiate career, he displays plenty of confidence.

“I’ve earned the respect of a lot of guys on this team,” Ridder said after the win. “I go out there [on the field] and think that I’m the best player, and I go out there with my mentality that no one can stop me. I try to pass that on to others,”

UC sophomore running back Michael Warren II has rushed for 435 yards on 93 carries, an average of 4.7 yards. Warren also has eight rushing touchdowns and is tied for second in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

Junior tight end Josiah Deguara has been one of Ridder’s favorite targets, accumulating 13 catches through four games. Junior wide receiver Rashad Medaris and freshman wide receiver Jayshon Jackson each caught touchdown passes against Ohio. Both have served as solid complements to senior wide receiver Kahlil Lewis.

As for the Bearcats’ defense, senior defensive end Marquise Copeland leads the Bearcats with 21 total tackles. Senior defensive tackle Cortez Broughton has 8.5 tackles for loss, including 3.5 sacks. Sophomore linebacker Jarrell White provided nine tackles against OU.

Cincinnati leads the all-time series 11-3 over UConn. The teams met last year in the season finale at Nippert Stadium. The Bearcats won 22-21, as the Huskies missed an extra point that would have sent the game into overtime.

The Bearcats are currently listed as 17-point favorites.

Kick-off is set for 3:30 p.m. Sept. 29, at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. CBS Sports Network will air the game, and 700 WLW AM will have radio coverage.