Fickell, No. 13 Cincinnati open vs Austin Peay without fans

Austin Peay (0-2) at No. 13 Cincinnati (0-0), Saturday at noon ET (ESPN+).

Line: Cincinnati by 34 1/2.

Series record: Cincinnati 6-0.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

The Bearcats finally get their season going in Nippert Stadium without fans. The teams were scheduled to play Sept. 3 but the game was pushed back because of pandemic concerns. Cincinnati had games against Nebraska, Miami (Ohio) and Western Michigan called off because of COVID-19. Austin Peay wraps up its three-game fall schedule. The Ohio Valley Conference hopes to play conference games in the spring. Austin Peay is the defending conference champion with 14 returning starters.

KEY MATCHUP

Cincinnati’s defense returns seven starters from a unit that was among the American Athletic’s best. Austin Peay is coming off a 55-0 shutout at Pittsburgh.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Austin Peay: Junior QB Jeremiah Oatsvall is 21 of 49 for 277 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions in two games. Junior backup Kam Williams got into the loss at Pittsburgh last week and was 9 of 15 for 40 yards with an interception.

Cincinnati: RB Gerrid Doaks moves into a bigger role with Michael Warren II gone. Doaks carried 100 times for 528 yards and five TDs last season. QB Desmond Ridder also is a running threat.

FACTS & FIGURES

Luke Fickell enters his fourth season as the Bearcats head coach. He turned down Michigan State’s job in February. … The last time the teams played was 2017 in Fickell’s first game at Cincinnati. The Bearcats won 24-17. … Cincinnati has added a home game against Army on Sept. 26 to fill a gap in its nonconference schedule. The Bearcats then open American Athletic play by hosting South Florida on Oct. 3. … Austin Peay’s only win over an FBS program was a 1987 victory at Kansas State.

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