The Syracuse Orange visit the Cincinnati Bearcats Saturday for a Big East East Conference showdown at Nippert Stadium (noon ET on Big East Network). The Orange (4-4, 3-1 Big East) will be looking for their third straight victory while the Bearcats (5-2, 1-1) will try to snap a two-game losing streak.
This could be the final meeting between the two schools for the foreseeable future, as Syracuse will be a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference next season. This will be the 13 all-time meeting between the two programs. Cincinnati leads the series, 7-5.
Last season, the Bearcats easily defeated the Orange, 30-13, at the Carrier Dome. The victory answered an embarrassing 31-7 loss to the Orange the season before. That loss snapped a five-game winning streak over SU.
Cincinnati opened as a 7-point favorite according to oddsmakers. The contest is expected to be a high-scoring affair as the over/under is set at 56 points.
This is not surprising as the Orange boast the No. 1 offense (461.0 yards per game) in the Big East while the Bearcats have the second-ranked offense (451.1).
What separates the two teams is defense. The Bearcats have allowed just 19.3 point per game while the Orange are giving up 25.0 ppg. However, Cincinnati will be without its top defensive lineman Walter Stewart. The 6'5, 249-pound senior has missed the Bearcats' last two games with a back injury and its unclear if he will play the rest of the season.
If SU can pull off a win it would give them three straight Big East wins, a feat it hasn't accomplished since '01. Last Saturday, the Orange pulled off a historic comeback defeating the South Florida Bulls, 37-36. SU trailed 23-3 at halftime, but rallied and completed the programs biggest comeback in its history when senior quarterback Ryan Nassib connected with senior wide receiver Alec Lemon for a game-winning touchdown with three seconds remaining.
The victory followed SU's impressive 40-10 win over the Connecticut Huskies a week before.
Meanwhile, the Bearcats lost to the No. 10-ranked Louisville Cardinals, 34-31, in overtime last Saturday. That loss was the second straight for Cincinnati which was upset, 29-23, by the Toledo Rockets a week before.