Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#339 Tulsa 51 vs.
#340 Cincinnati -16.5
Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 3:30pm EDT
Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati
Written by Sporty Jordy

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#339 University of Tulsa
#340 University of Cincinnati
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When and where: October 19, 2019, Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH, 3:30 PM ET

Life won’t get any easier for the slumping Tulsa Golden Hurricane with a trip to Nippert Stadium on Saturday against the No. 21-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats. After giving SMU everything they could handle and still losing, the deflated Golden Hurricane then went on to get stomped into the ground in a 45-17 loss to Navy.

Meanwhile, the Bearcats are riding a tidal wave of momentum after winning their last four consecutive games, including back-to-back victories over Houston and Central Florida. Their running attack has been downright vicious this season, and now, they’ll turn it in the direction of a Tulsa defense allowing an average of 203.5 rushing yards per game.

Tulsa gives up 40-points in consecutive games

For an offense racking up nearly 400 total yards per game, the Golden Hurricane aren’t scoring many touchdowns. That’s a recipe for disaster when paired with a struggling defense. The Golden Hurricane have given up 40-plus points in back-to-back losses to Navy and SMU. So they could be in a world of trouble heading on the road against a talented offensive team in Cincinnati.

The bulk of that talent comes from the fearsome rushing attack, spearheaded by junior running back Michael Warren II. This game could come down to the ability of Tulsa’s defense to stifle Cincinnati’s leading rusher, who has toted the ball for 463 yards and four touchdowns this season. Great preparation is realizing your own weaknesses and preparing accordingly. The Bearcats are coming into this game knowing Tulsa’s defense is allowing 203.5 rushing yards per game, which means the running game will be emphasized heavily in their offense.

Tulsa may not have enough talent on the defense capable of stopping Cincinnati, but if they seal the edges and stay disciplined in their rush lanes, the defensive front could realistically cause problems. Quarterback Zach Smith isn’t afraid to drop back 50-plus times and compete in a shootout like he did in the three-overtime game against SMU. However, he’ll have to be careful with the Bearcats’ ball-hawking secondary leading the conference with eight interceptions.

Bearcats hold off Houston

The Bearcats scored 17 points in the fourth quarter against Houston to keep from ending up on the losing end of Sunday morning headlines. They were ultimately successful in fending off the Cougars’ valiant effort to knock them off and ensuring their 42-0 shutout loss to Ohio State remains their only loss of the season.

If they want to keep things that way, they’ll have to play smart football and give Tulsa the chance to beat themselves. The Golden Hurricane aren’t a very buttoned-up team when it comes to penalties and bone-headed mistakes. They are actually the most penalized team in the entire conference with 63 total penalties worth 529 yards. Cincinnati is the second-most penalized team, which could make for a long day of yellow flags flying all over the field.

The Golden Hurricane could put extra attention on Tulsa wideout Keylon Stokes if Sam Crawford Jr. misses Saturday’s game with an injury. Crawford is dealing with a head injury and officially listed as questionable for the game. Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder will face a surprisingly decent Tulsa pass defense, forcing the team to focus on its run game in an effort to soften things up. Expect to see Warren in on plenty of the action.

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This is a nightmare matchup stylistically for the Golden Hurricane.

While they’ve been formidable against the pass, they have been getting crushed on the ground by opposing running backs all season. The only team worse than them in stopping the run in the conference is Connecticut, and that isn’t good company to keep. Not even Connecticut has given up as many rushing touchdowns (16) in a year where they’re allowing 4.73 yards per carry from opposing tailbacks.

Ridder is a dual threat quarterback capable of making the Tulsa defense pay with his arm and legs, although the offensive weapon of choice will most likely be the latter. The combination of Ridder and Warren should be able to chew up grass on the ground all afternoon.

Cincinnati is also the second-best team in the conference in controlling time of possession. So you can expect them to run the ball consistently and play keep-away from Smith and the Tulsa offense. Seeing the Golden Hurricane get ramrodded by Navy furthers my confidence in them coming up flat on Saturday. Give me the Bearcats and give the points.

Prediction: Cincinnati Bearcats (-17.5)

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The Bearcats will be able to bully their way down the field against Tulsa’s porous run defense. They don’t boast anywhere near the same rushing efficiency as Navy, but they do have the personnel that can shed a spotlight on Tulsa’s weaknesses. Not to mention the Golden Hurricane are allowing 32.3 points per game to opponents. I’m taking the over betting total here.

Prediction: Over (48)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.