The No. 4 Cincinnati Bearcats likely secured their place in history with a 35-20 win against visiting No. 21 Houston in the American Athletic Conference championship game on Saturday.
Cincinnati (13-0) will learn Sunday if it is the first school outside a Power Five conference (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12 and SEC) to be selected for the College Football Playoff since its inception in 2014.
Desmond Ridder, who finished his career 26-0 at home as a starter, threw three touchdowns and Jerome Ford had scoring runs of 79 and 42 yards.
Leading 14-13 at the half, the Bearcats scored 21 unanswered points in a 4:24 stretch of the third quarter against the Cougars (11-2). The spree started with scores 58 seconds apart to make it 28-13.
First, Ridder had an 8-yard TD to Leonard Taylor. The Bearcats got the ball back on Houston's first snap when Joel Dublanko intercepted Clayton Thune and returned it nine yards to the Cougars' 23.
One play later, Alec Pierce caught a 21-yard TD. Ford rushed for a 42-yard score to make it 35-13 at the 7:38 mark.
The game started well for Houston with a field goal on its first drive.
Ridder then threw a 25-yard TD to Tyler Scott to complete an 82-yard drive. The Cougars went 74 yards and assumed a 10-7 lead on a Tune to Nathaniel Dell strike of 16 yards.
On Cincinnati's next play from scrimmage, Ford bolted 79 yards for a 14-10 lead.
Ford ran for 187 yards on 18 carries. Ridder was 11 for 17 for 190 yards. Tune was 17 for 26 for 250 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, but was sacked eight times.
A 21-16 win by No. 9 Baylor against No. 5 Oklahoma State in the Big 12 championship earlier in the day almost assured Cincinnati of being selected for the CFP with a win because the Bearcats defeated No. 6 Notre Dame 24-13 earlier this season to avoid being jumped by the Fighting Irish.
--Field Level Media