No. 22 Rutgers (8-1, 4-0 Big East) at Cincinnati (7-2, 3-1), noon (Big East Network)

Line: Cincinnati by 6

Series Record: Tied 8-8-1.


It's essentially an elimination game for the Bearcats in the Big East race. Rutgers is in first and No. 22 Louisville is 4-1. Rutgers finishes the season at home against Louisville. The Bearcats have already lost at Louisville, so they have to win on Saturday to have a hope of winning the league.


Cincinnati QB Brendon Kay against the Big East's stingiest defense. Kay replaced struggling Munchie Legaux in the second half against Syracuse two weeks ago and led the Bearcats to a 35-24 win. The senior made his first career start at Temple last week and went 13 of 21 for 244 yards and a pair of TDs in a 34-10 win. How Kay handles a much better defense will have a lot to do with the outcome.


Rutgers: LB Khaseem Greene. The senior had 22 tackles in a 28-7 win over Army, the fifth-highest total in league history. Greene, the Big East's 2011 defensive player of the year, leads a unit allowing 13.4 points per game, fifth nationally. Cincinnati will try to run the ball between the tackles with George Winn, who lead the Big East with 108.9 yards rushing per game.

Cincinnati: Ralph David Abernathy IV. Cincinnati has moved the 5-foot-7 running back to different spots on the field the last two games to get him more involved in the offense. He has 12 runs for 57 yards and six catches for 32 yards in those two games. The Bearcats want to get their best playmaker more involved. He's third in the conference with 130.9 all-purpose yards per game.


Rutgers is off to its best start through nine games since the 2006 season and is trying for its first 5-0 start in the Big East. ... The Scarlet Knights have blocked eight kicks, most in the nation. ... Kyle Flood is the third Rutgers coach and the first since John Bateman in 1960 to win eight games in his first season. . Rutgers ranks fifth nationally in scoring defense (13.4 points per game) and 14th in total defense (309.4 yards). ... Cincinnati has run for a TD in every game this season. ... The Bearcats have had at least 425 yards on offense in eight of their nine games. ... Bearcats coach Butch Jones spent the week trying to drum up fan support for the game at 35,000-seat Nippert Stadium, which has been full only once this season. At halftime of a UC basketball game on Tuesday, he told the crowd that after the Rutgers game, the Bearcats would be the nationally ranked team.