I'll say from the outset that this game is really a toss-up.
Three really good teams have beaten Cincinnati this season (Ohio State, Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh). The Bearcats have destroyed two inferior foes (Eastern Kentucky and Miami).
Meanwhile, the Zips have played rather inconsistent football, unable to play two solid halves consecutively.
Most analysts said Akron would be better than Cincinnati this season. Seeing how the Zips knocked off an ACC school, they would likely duplicate that prediction today.
But this is a road game for the Zips, and Akron is coming off a demoralizing defeat. Cincinnati recently rejuvenated itself by beating Miami. The Bearcats have won nine of their last 13 at Nippert Stadium.
Averaging fewer than 300 total yards, Cincinnati's offense has been inept on the whole this season. Sophomore quarterback Dustin Grutza averages about 150 yards per game. He has thrown seven interceptions and four touchdowns, completing 65 percent of his passes.
Featured running back Greg Moore tore apart Miami with 119 yards, including a 55-yard sprint. On the year, however, his stats are just ho-hum. Moore is not much of a receiving threat either. The running problems may be linked to a weakness at offensive line, which CFN said was a concern entering the season.
Brent Celek and Dominick Goodman are the leading pass catchers, and their stats are unimpressive, too. Goodman, however, is ninth in the nation in kick returns. Celek, a tight end, is a nice option and the offense's best player, CFN said.
Indeed, if Cincinnati wins, it will be due to their pass rush (19th in nation in sacks) and run defense (33rd fewest yards allowed). The Bearcats' six interceptions also is tied for 22nd in the country. Senior strong safety Dominic Ross has three himself. Cornerback Mike Mickens is the defense's best player, according to CFN.
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