Cincinnati vs East Carolina prediction, game preview, how to watch: Friday, November 26
Cincinnati vs East Carolina How To Watch
Date: Friday, November 26
Game Time: 3:30 ET
Venue: Dowdy-Ficken Stadium, Greenville, NC
How To Watch: ABC
Record: Cincinnati (11-0), East Carolina (7-4)
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Cincinnati vs East Carolina Game Preview
Why Cincinnati Will Win
Now that’s the Cincinnati we’ve all been waiting for over the second half of the season.
SMU isn’t all that great, but it had a great record and a strong offense, and Cincinnati ripped it all apart in a dominant 48-14 win that was even better than the final score.
Now the Bearcats are No. 4 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, they’re getting some measure of respect for being one of three unbeaten teams left in college football, and now the possibility of getting into the tournament really does exist.
However, while the Power Five teams in the CFP mix are all playing monster matchups, anything less than amazing will do – and it’s possible if QB Desmond Ridder continues to play like he has over the last few weeks. For all the concerns and mediocrity at times, the O has kicked it all in with way over 1,000 yards over the last two weeks.
On the other side, the Bearcat defense leads the American Athletic Conference in tackles for loss, the secondary has been a rock, and the takeaways have been coming in key spots. Now it goes against an East Carolina offense that struggles in pass protection and gives the ball away too much.
The Pirate offense turned it over two or more times in five straight games before finally cutting off the mistakes in last week’s win at Navy.
Why East Carolina Will Win
East Carolina expects big things at home when people are paying attention.
It hasn’t always been a rock of a home team, but it pulled off a stunner in a 2016 home win over NC State, destroyed North Carolina in 2018, dominated a decent SMU squad last year, and …
This matters, why, in 2021?
It only seems like QB Holton Ahlers has been around for all of them – he did run for two scores, though, against North Carolina.
The longtime Pirate passer is coming off one of his best games in four years – hitting 85% of his throws for over 400 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Navy. He was fantastic in the 2019 shootout loss to Cincinnati, but was totally miserable in last year’s game.
Playing Cincinnati is hardly new for him.
He’s got the pieces around him to make this work. The Pirates have a running game to control the tempo – they keep the ball for close to 33 minutes – and the defense is good enough on third downs to make up for a slew of other issues.
Just keep getting off the field, feed off the energy of the crowd in this, and hope for Ahlers to use his experience to handle what’s coming.
What’s Going To Happen
SMU was never going to be the problem for Cincinnati.
It was an enough-is-enough moment for the Bearcats, it was Senior Day at home, and it was a game ripe for a blowout. This, though, is dangerous.
The bigger issue is against Houston in the American Athletic Conference Championship, but the Pirates have just the right blend of offensive balance, a defense that can hold serve, and the home side of things to make this interesting.
Cincinnati will come through when it has to.
It’ll get off to a hot start thanks to a few ECU mistakes, but slowly the game will get tighter. Just as it seems like the upset is coming, though, two late scoring drives will keep the dream alive.
Once again, Ridder will be fantastic.
Cincinnati vs East Carolina Prediction, Lines
Cincinnati 34, East Carolina 27
Line: Cincinnati -14, o/u: 58
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
Get a 2nd opinion on the Cincinnati vs East Carolina (ECU) game from our friends at Winners and Whiners. Click here for their in-depth analysis and predictions on the side,total, 1st half, and exotics.
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