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Bearcats History Against Ohio State

Cincinnati does not have much positive history against Ohio State and will look to change that on Saturday.

Cincinnati v Ohio State

The two best college football teams in Ohio meet in Columbus on Saturday when the Cincinnati Bearcats play the 5th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.

Ohio State owns Ohio - they are 43-3 against teams who are actively in FBS, including a 41 game winning streak vs Ohio. Their last loss came to Oberlin College in 1921, who is now a Division III school.

Here’s a summary of the history between these two schools on the gridiron:

  • 16 all-time meetings - Ohio State has won 14
  • Cincinnati’s two wins came in 1896 and 1897 (not a typo - they last beat the Buckeyes in the last century
  • 0-5 in the last 20 years (1999, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2015)
  • Prior to 1999, they previously played in 1931 and Ohio State won 67-6
  • Ohio State has played in Cincinnati five times total with the last one being in 1900

Cincinnati points totals (in 16 games)

  • Scored more than 10 points only 4 times
  • Exceeded 20 points only twice
  • Shutout five times
  • High score total was 28 points in most recent game in 2015
  • Grand total of 133 points in 16 games, an average of 8.3 ppg
  • Between 1900-1931, Cincinnati scored 19 total points in 6 games, shutout in 3 games, and allowed 40+ in 3 games


Luke Fickell, Head Coach

Before being hired as Cincinnati’s Head Coach in 2017, Fickell spent his whole life in Columbus. The 46 year old, was born and raised in Columbus and attended DeSales High School. He played football for the Buckeyes from 1993-1996. In 1999, he immediately went into coaching as a Grad Assistant at Ohio State. He coached in Columbus from 2002-2016, where he held various titles - Special Teams Coach, Linebackers Coach, Co-Defensive Coordinator, and most notably interim Head Coach in 2011.

When Jim Tressel, his mentor, was fired in the summer of 2011, Fickell was asked to take over and went just 6-7, before moving back to Defensive Coordinator in 2012 under Urban Meyer.

As a player, Fickell started 50 consecutive games at Defensive Tackle for the Buckeyes, including the 1997 Rose Bowl. He finished his career with 212 total tackles, including 26 tackles for a loss and six sacks.

Marcus Freeman, Defensive Coordinator

Freeman played Linebacker at Ohio State from 2004-2008 and Fickell was his position coach and Defensive Coordinator during that time. Freeman was a 2x Second team All-Big Ten. He started 37 games and appeared in 51 throughout his career recording 6 total sacks, 2 interceptions, 21.5 tackles for a loss, 265 total tackles.

Coming out of high school, Freeman was the 66th ranked player per 247sports and #5 inside linebacker and #4 player in all of Ohio.

He coached at Ohio State for a year in 2010 as a Grad Assistant before coaching linebackers at Kent State, Purdue and now the whole defense at Cincinnati. A defense that was ranked top 15 in most categories in 2018.

Blue Smith, WR

Smith was the 39th ranked player in the 2018 recruiting class according to rivals and the 9th ranked WR and 3rd ranked overall in Ohio. He played at high school for the same school/coach that produced Ohio State legend Braxton Miller.

He recently announced his decision to transfer from OSU to Cincinnati and is cleared to play immediately and will have four years of eligibility.

Garyn Prater, WR

Prater announced his decision to transfer and join his brother, Evan, who is the #5 overall QB in the 2020 class and has committed to Cincinnati. Prater is recovering from off-season back surgery and will not play Saturday and may not play much, if at all, this season.

Joe Schroer, DT

Schroer is a local kid, who played at Elder High School. He redshirted at Ohio State in 2016, his first year and then transferred to Cincinnati in 2017, where he was forced to sit again due to transfer rules. He never got into a game in 2018 and is currently a depth piece entering 2019.

2015 Game Recap

Cincinnati struck first, in the first 90 seconds with QB Gunner Kiel hitting Chris Moore on a 60 yard touchdown pass - one of Moore’s three touchdowns.

From there, it was all down hill as Ohio State scored 23 straight in the first quarter and 30 unanswered altogether. Bearcats made it interesting at halftime thanks to a Kiel touchdown to Johnny Holton and an 83 yard TD to Chris Moore helped cut the lead to 30-21.

Ohio State came out of halftime with a 14 play drive that ultimately resulted in a 25 yard field goal. Two plays later, Chris Moore AGAIN found the endzone, this time on a 78 yard score to cut the lead to 33-28.

Bearcats got the ball back, after an Ohio State touchdown, down by one possession - 36-28. Then, the game finally got a way. On first and ten from their own 40, Kiel found Johnny Holton down the field for a long pass, but it was called back due to offensive pass interference. A couple of plays later, Kiel took a tough shot to the ribs from LB Joey Bosa. Kiel was not himself the rest of the game and reportedly suffered broken ribs. Ohio State scored two more touchdowns and won the game 50-28.

The 28 points represent Cincinnati’s largest output ever against Ohio State.

Ohio State held the ball for nearly 42 minutes and converted 45 first downs, vs 15 for Cincinnati. As a team, they compiled 380 yards rushing, led by Ezekiel Elliott’s 182 yards. QB JT Barrett ran for 79 plus threw for 330 and 4 TDs.

For Cincinnati, Gunner Kiel did not turn the ball over, he threw for 352 yards and 4 TDs. Moore finished the game with only those 3 touchdown catches for 221 yards total.

2006 Game Recap

Buckeyes were ranked #1 in this game. Cincinnati was coming off of a loss to #11 Virginia Tech the week prior.

After an early field goal, Cincinnati struck first as QB Dustin Grutza found Jared Martin for a 23 yard touchdown. Cincinnati led 7-3 after the first quarter. Ohio State would score 10 in the second (nothing for the Bearcats). Buckeyes scored on a Ted Ginn TD catch from QB Troy Smith.

Leading 13-7 at halftime, Ohio State would go on to outscore Cincinnati 24-0 in the second half and win 37-7.

Many of the Bearcats previous issues against big time opponents plagued them as they could not run the ball (22 carries, -4 yards - which includes a number of sacks by OSU defense).

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