Sports

High-scoring Cincinnati has to fix defense as it starts American Athletic play

  • Ohio State running back Rod Smith dives across the goal line for a touchdown against Cincinnati during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

    Ohio State running back Rod Smith dives across the goal line for a touchdown against Cincinnati during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)  (The Associated Press)

  • Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville shouts at a referee during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Ohio State Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Cincinnati 50-28. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

    Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville shouts at a referee during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Ohio State Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Cincinnati 50-28. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)  (The Associated Press)

  • Ohio State running back Rod Smith, left, celebrates his touchdown against Cincinnati with teammate offensive lineman Taylor Decker during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

    Ohio State running back Rod Smith, left, celebrates his touchdown against Cincinnati with teammate offensive lineman Taylor Decker during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)  (The Associated Press)

In their biggest game of the season, the Cincinnati Bearcats' defense was exposed.

The Bearcats gave up an NCAA-record 45 first downs and 710 yards during a 50-28 loss at Ohio State on Saturday. They couldn't stop the run or the pass.

Cincinnati (2-1) needs to fix that porous defense — and quickly — as it opens play in the American Athletic Conference. The Bearcats host Memphis (2-2) on Saturday night at Paul Brown Stadium.

The Bearcats were picked to win the league title because of their high-powered offense led by Gunner Kiel, who has thrown 14 touchdown passes already. But the defense is dragging them down and could decide whether they're good enough to compete for the title.

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