Ohio State is undefeated against Ohio foes in Ohio Stadium, and they'll try to keep it that way against one of the most threatening in-state squads ever to visit the 'Shoe.
Luke Fickell's Cincinnati Bearcats enter Saturday's matchup with wins in 12 of their last 14 games – including a 3-0 record against Power Five opponents – and a roster loaded with 78 Ohioans, many of whom Ryan Day acknowledges grew up rooting for the Buckeyes.
"We understand, they're right down the street," Day said on his Thursday radio show appearance. "They're coming in here hungry."
The Bearcats won't just be fighting to end Ohio State's 95-year streak against in-state foes, but an even longer winless streak of their own against the Buckeyes as Cincinnati has not beaten Ohio State since 1897 – nearly two decades before the forward pass.
“They're Coming in Here Hungry”– Ryan Day on Cincinnati
There's no question what it would mean to the Bearcats to pull the upset, and there's nobody it would mean more to than their former Buckeye lineman at head coach, who likened Saturday's matchup to competing with a brother.
“There’s nobody I would be more fired up to play,” Fickell told the Columbus Dispatch. “I look at it like that. But what I can’t do is allow my emotions to (take over). We have to focus on the things we need to do to be successful.”
The pregame emotion is there and undeniable, but once the ball is kicked, Day knows it just comes down to fundamentals and executing the game plan, like any other game.
"I don't think anybody on either side will play harder," Day said. "You can't play any harder than your best. Once the emotion of pregame is overwith, it's just about execution, fundamentals and playing the game."