Tuckerman: Talk about business

It’s easy to take victory for granted. The Pandas opened their AAC game Saturday in Tulsa, their most recent last trip in a conference they dominated. Cincinnati has been one of the best teams in the league since 2018, winning 17 straight division games.

Last year, we saw countless top-ranked teams cough up games they should have won, even as critics scrutinized the midseason performance and questioned UC’s resume because it contained so many weak opponents.

Not Cincinnati.

The Pandas beat Tulsa 31-21 on Saturday to win a game they were very fond of 46th in a row, extending the country’s longest winning streak. When was the last time the Pandas lost a game in which they were favored? Lost at East Carolina in November 2017.

Luke Fickelof teams did not lose games against disadvantaged opponents. It may not have made Oklahoma’s road win any more impressive, but this type of Saturday’s buildup stood out. The AAC is a conference that needs to focus on handling business, and Bearcats are the gold standard in college football when it comes to handling business.

Recruiting-minded Panda fans may have heard the name Corey Kiner for the first time in 2017. The Roger Bacon high school freshman hit the headlines early and rushed for a school-record 302 yards and five touchdowns in his second game of high school. At the end of his college years, he finished third in state history in rushing and scoring, winning Mr. Ohio State. Football (an award that Evan Platt won a year ago).

But the LSU Bengals, fresh from a perfect title run led by fellow Ohio State Joe Burrow, swooped into Keener’s service. Pandas fans have been dreaming about what could happen.

It took longer than we thought, including detours, but Kiner finally donned a red and black colorway this season, and the wait was worth it. The sophomore has rushed for touchdowns in each of Cincinnati’s first five games. Saturday’s game also marked his first 100-yard rushing game of his college career. Hopefully it’s the first of a quick offense that’s had the most impressive game of the young season for 198 yards with two rushing over 50 yards.

Game Statistics

On Saturday, the Bears established squatter rights in the Golden Hurricanes backfield, firing the Tulsa quarterback 11 times. That’s an AAC record, and a record the Pandas have set since the Nov. 24, 2007 away win at Syracuse. (Hello, Haruki Nakamura!)

There was a one-and-a-half sack Saturday by Ivan Pace Jr. in five games, of which Pace recorded six. The Bears’ single-season record is 13 (Anthony Hawke in 2007). Fickel The ERA’s single-season high is 7.5 (Cortez Broughton in 2018 and Curtis Brooks in 2021). When we do, Pace has recorded 13.5 tackle failures. Cincinnati’s single The season record is 28 (Mike Gates in 1980) and the Fickel-era record is 17.5 (Cortez Broughton in 2018).


The Pandas return to Nippert Stadium Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. game against South Florida.Remaining tickets are limited host. With bye week and two road games looming, this will be Cincinnati’s last home game before Nov. 5.

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