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After an exodus of its stars, No 23 Cincinnati tries to reload

Cincinnati had a bad season last year and Luke Fickell has some new players to work with. He’s tasked with following up on a historic 2021 season where the Bearcats became the first team outside of a

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Corey Kiner, the 2020 Ohio Mr. Football winner who spent last year at LSU and finished as the Tigers’ second-leading rusher with 324 yards, is a wild card who has transferred to Cincinnati.

SAFE AND SECURE O-LINE

With five returning starters from last season’s starting offensive line, Cincinnati is in a very strong position. The Bearcats’ 37 point season average can be attributed in large part to their strong defensive front. Forward Jake Renfro, defensive tackle Lorenz Metz, and defensive end Dylan O’Quinn were all named to the 2021 first team All-AAC.

THE REVERSE

When Gardner and Coby Bryant left for the NFL, Cincinnati lost the best cornerback duo in the country. The Bearcats secondary should still be formidable with senior Arquon Bush starting at cornerback and senior safety Ja’Von Hicks returning to his starting role.

“We’ve got plenty of guys who are hungry. Bearcats defensive line leader Jabari Taylor, who is a senior, put it as simply as that. To paraphrase, “You got all these guys, we’re reloading, they’re just as ready as anyone who was here before and is up next.”

INTERVALS AND TIMES

Cincinnati will open their home schedule against FCS Kennesaw State after opening on the road against Arkansas. In non-conference play, they will also host Indiana. And then there’s the final slog through an AAC schedule. No. 24 Houston, picked to finish ahead of the Bearcats in the conference in a preseason media poll, is not scheduled to play against Cincinnati during the regular season.

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