Who: Cincinnati at No. 5 Ohio State
When: 12 p.m., Saturday
Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus
Series history: Ohio State leads 14-2
Last game: Ohio State won 50-28 in September 2014, a game that saw the Buckeyes break the single-game school record by gaining 45 first downs. They also ran a school record-tying 101 plays, and their 710 total yards are fifth-most in school history for a single game.
The Buckeyes have won the last 11 against the Bearcats, a streak that began in 1900.
Coaches: Ohio State’s Ryan Day is 4-0, including a 3-0 mark last season as interim coach of the Buckeyes. Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell is 16-10 in two-plus seasons with the Bearcats and 22-17 overall as a college head coach. That includes a 6-7 mark with Ohio State in 2011 when Fickell took the reins after Jim Tressel was forced to resign in May.
Ohio State notes: Last week against Florida Atlantic, quarterback Justin Fields tied the Ohio State record for touchdowns responsible for in a starting debut with five, matching Dwayne Haskins… Two Ohio State teams are being honored Saturday during the game: The 1974 squad that won the Big Ten under Clifton native Woody Hayes and the ’79 squad that won the Big Ten under Hayes protege Earle Bruce… Ohio State has won 32 consecutive games that started at noon Eastern time. The last time the Buckeyes lost at noon (2011 at Michigan), Fickell was the head coach…. Ohio State last faced an in-state opponent in 2016 when the Buckeyes beat Bowling Green 77-10. The Buckeyes are 183-48-10 all-time against teams from Ohio and last lost to one when Oberlin prevailed 7-6 in 1921.
Cincinnati notes: Fickell is the reigning American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, and quarterback Desmond Ridder is the reigning AAC Rookie fo the Year… The UC defense coordinated by Wayne grad and former Ohio State player Marcus Freeman ranked 11th in the nation last year when it allowed 303.5 yards per game… Six local players appear on the UC depth chart. Ryan Montgomery, a redshirt freshman from Franklin, is the No. 3 running back and No. 1 punt returner. Darius Harper, a junior from Springfield who began his career as a Miami University basketball player, is the No. 2 right tackle… Leonard Taylor, a sophomore from Springfield, is among the backup tight ends…. Cole Smith, a senior from Middletown, is a backup place-kicker… Malik Vann, a sophomore from Fairfield, is a backup defensive end… Cody Lamb, a sophomore from Miamisburg, is a among the reserve offensive guards… Justin Harris, a freshman from Wayne, is among the reserve cornerbacks.
Quoted: Fickell on emphasizing the fact Ohio State is a top five team rather than an in-state rival: “Look at it as, ‘Hey, this is an opportunity.’ Would it be as great of a game if they weren’t ranked? For some people it still would be, but the reality is what is it? It’s an opportunity to test ourselves against the best.”
Next game: The Buckeyes play at Indiana next Saturday at noon. The Bearcats return home to play rival Miami University in a noon game.
Prediction: Ohio State 31, Cincinnati 10