Cincinnati Bearcats seniors take center stage in AAC title game

The No. 13 is lucky after all.

The University of Cincinnati football team put its foot on the gas at the start of the second half and never let up, defeating Houston 35-20 in the AAC championship game Saturday at Nippert Stadium.

More:Cincinnati Bearcats win second straight AAC title, now look to CFP selection tomorrow

Cincinnati claimed its second straight AAC crown and stood on its home field as the only remaining undefeated team in the FBS. The Bearcats became the first 13-0 team in program history.

The only question that remains is who will they play next?

"We just want to play football," said Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder, who will end his career with a 26-0 record as a starter at home. "That's all we care about. We don't care who, where or when. Just put the ball down and let us play."

Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) kisses the American Athletic Conference Championship trophy during a ceremony after the American Athletic Conference Championship football game between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Houston Cougars at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. The Bearcats remained unbeaten as they won the AAC Championship with a 35-20.

Cincinnati, which entered the day at No. 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings, will find out its fate Sunday at noon when the CFP selection committee releases its final Top 25 rankings.

The Bearcats are looking to be the first non-Power Five team to crack the committee's final top four and compete for a national championship.

"If it's meant to be, it will be," Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell said. "I don't think these guys can be denied. Just the way they've answered the bell and everything that they've done all year. It would be a shame for them to be denied."

What we learned from Saturday's win:

Seniors again lead the way for UC

The decisive stretch for the Bearcats was full of plays made by seniors.

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