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Rolling Cincy will try to knock off No. 5 Ohio State

September 5, 2019
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Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields throws a pass against Florida Atlantic during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
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Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields throws a pass against Florida Atlantic during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Cincinnati (1-0) at No. 5 Ohio State (1-0), Saturday at noon EDT (ABC).

Line: Ohio State by 15 1/2.

Series record: Ohio State leads 14-2.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

A loss to the Bearcats would be devastating to Ohio State, which hasn’t lost a game to an in-state rival since dropping a 7-6 contest to Oberlin in 1921. Cincinnati has some momentum after knocking off UCLA in their opener and is looking for a signature win for third-year coach Luke Fickell, who spent 16 years on the Ohio State staff. New Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields accounted for five touchdowns in Buckeyes’ opening win over FAU, but he made some rookie miscues that must be worked out. The Bearcats — especially on defense — have the talent to give Ohio State a game.

KEY MATCHUP

Ohio State offensive line vs. Cincinnati defensive line. The Buckeyes returned just one starter on the O-line, which performed well against FAU. Cincinnati’s overhauled defensive line allowed only 62 yards rushing on 38 carries by UCLA.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Cincinnati: QB Desmond Ridder. The sophomore, in his second year as the starter, was 18 of 26 for 242 yards and a pair of touchdowns against UCLA.

Ohio State: DE Chase Young. One of the best defensive players in the country terrorized FAU and is expected to get even better. He finished with five tackles and 1.5 sacks.

FACTS & FIGURES

Ohio State has a 14-2 advantage in the series, with Cincinnati’s wins coming in 1896 and 1897. The Bearcats nearly pulled off the upset in 2002 at Paul Brown Stadium, losing 23-19. ... Fickell was a four-year starter at nose tackle for the Buckeyes from 1993-96 and coached at OSU for 16 years. ... Ohio State has won 41 consecutive games against in-state schools. ... Ohio State kickers have made 179 straight extra points dating to Oct. 22, 2016. That’s third in the nation. ... Cincinnati has won 12 of its last 14 games dating to last season. ... The Bearcats returned three of their four leading tacklers from 2018.

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