Houston Cougars (2-0) at Cincinnati Bearcats (2-0)
|Date & Time||Thursday September 15, 2016, 7:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Cincinnati Bearcats +7.0 -- Over/Under:
The 6th ranked Houston Cougars will travel to Nippert Stadium to take on the Cincinnati Bearcats this Thursday night in College Football action.
The 6th ranked Houston Cougars (2-0; 0-0 AAC) followed up their impressive 33-23 victory over the 3rd ranked Oklahoma Sooners with an easy 42-0 victory over the Lamar Cardinals this past Saturday. Houston had little trouble taking care of business against Lamar as they had a comfortable 28-0 halftime lead and held the Cardinals to just 73 yards of total offense. Houston was without their top player, QB Greg Ward Jr due to a shoulder injury, but hardly missed a beat with Kyle Postma behind center as the Cougars put up over 500 yards of offense. Houston dominated Lamar on the ground as they racked up 381 rushing yards which mostly came from RB Kevrin Justice (27 carries, 111 yds, 2 TD), Mulbah Car (20 carries, 109 yds, 1 TD), and QB Kyle Postma (7 carries, 106 yds, 2 TD). Offensively, Houston is averaging 37.5 ppg on 460.5 yards per game (225.5 passing, 235.0 rushing). Greg Ward Jr is the leader on the offensive end for the Cougars and his one game played this season completed 23 of 40 passes for 321 yards and 2 TD. Greg Ward Jr. is one the most dangerous duel-threat QB’s in the country as in 2015 he averaged almost 80 yds/game on the ground. RB’s Kevrin Justice (13.5 Att/G, 55.50 yds/G, 2 TD) and Mulbah Car (20 Att/G, 109.00 yds/G, 1 TD) have led the Cougars backfield. Steven Bunbar (4.5 rec/G, 66.0 yds/G) and Linell Bonner (3.5 rec/G; 54.5 yds/G) have led Houston at the WR position. Defensively, Houston is holding their opponents to an average of 11.5 ppg on 233.0 total yards per game (190.5 passing, 42.5 rushing). Leading the way for the Houston defense has been LB Brandon Wilson who is averaging 6.0 tackles per game and has already racked up 3.5 sacks on the season.
The Cincinnati Bearcats (2-0, 0-0 AAC) remained perfect on the season after defeating the Purdue Boilermakers on the road, 38-20, this past Saturday. Cincinnati outgained Purdue by a 512-504 margin and was able to win the game largely due to the fact they won the turnover battle by a 5-0 margin. Leading the way for the Bearcats was DB Mike Tyson who had 3 INT’s for the Bearcats in the victory. On the season, Cincinnati is averaging 33.0 ppg on 456.0 total yards per game (255.0 passing, 201.0 rushing). Offensively, leading the way for the Bearcats has been QB Hayden Moore who is averaging 255.0 Yds/G while throwing for 5 TD & 1 INT. Moore has also chipped in with his legs as he is averaging 35.50 Yds/G and has 2 rushing TD’s. Cincinnati’s backfield is led by the duo of Tion Green (16.0 Att/G, 75.0 yds/G) and Mike Boone (15.0 Att/G, 56.50 Yds/G). WR’s Devin Gray (4.5 Rec/G, 83.5 Yds/G) and Nate Cole (6.0 Rec/G, 72.5 Yds/G, 3 TD’s) are the main targets at the receiver position for Moore. Defensively, Cincinnati is holding their opponents to an average of 13.5 ppg on 413.5 total yards allowed (273.5 passing, 140.0 rushing). Cincinnati has done a great job creating turnovers as they currently have a total of 8 forced turnovers on the season. Leading the way for the defense has been LB Eric Wilson (24 tackles, 2.0 sacks) and DB Tyrell Gilbert (14 tackles, 2 Int).
The Cougars are 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 road games vs. a team with a winning home record and 21-4-1 ATS in their last 26 road games. The Bearcats are 11-3-1 ATS in their last 15 conference games and 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 games following a ATS win.
Houston is going to be one of the top teams in the country by the end of this season as they have an offense led by one of the best QB’s in the country and an outstanding defense that really plays hard-nosed football. Cincinnati is a talented offense team but has yet to play a defense of Houston's caliber and although their defense is creating turnovers, they've shown that they can give up plenty of yards. We’re going to have to monitor the status of Greg Ward Jr. throughout the week, however, as long as Ward Jr. is getting the start and is healthy, I think the Cougars will be able to go on the road and cover this single-digit spread. Take Houston to cover.
Update (9/15/16): Looks as if Greg Ward Jr. is a go for tonight's game and although the Houston/Cinn matchup has be close over the past few years, I still feel that Houston is the far better team in this one and will cover this spread. Take Houston to cover!