2021 American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game

The 2021 American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game was a college football game played on December 4, 2021, at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was the seventh American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game and determined the champion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC) for the 2021 season. The game began at 4:00 p.m. EST and aired on ABC. The game featured the regular season champions, the Cincinnati Bearcats, and the regular season runners-up, the Houston Cougars. Sponsored by RoofClaim.com, a roofing services company, the game was officially known as the 2021 American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game presented by RoofClaim.com.[2]

Annual NCAA football game

2021 American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game
7th AAC Championship Game
Houston Cougars Cincinnati Bearcats
(11–1) (12–0)
20 35
Head coach: 
Dana Holgorsen
Head coach: 
Luke Fickell
AP Coaches CFP
16 16 21
AP Coaches CFP
3 4 4
1 2 3 4 Total
Houston 10 3 0 7 20
Cincinnati 14 0 21 0 35
Date December 4, 2021
Season 2021
Stadium Nippert Stadium
Location Cincinnati, Ohio
MVP Jerome Ford, RB, Cincinnati
Favorite Cincinnati by 10.5
Referee Hank Johns[1]
Attendance 37,978
United States TV coverage
Network ABC
Announcers Joe Tessitore (play-by-play), Greg McElroy (analyst), and Katie George (sideline)
American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game
  2020  2022> 

2021 American Athletic Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
No. 4 Cincinnati y$^   8 0     13 0  
No. 20 Houston y   8 0     11 2  
UCF   5 3     8 4  
East Carolina   5 3     7 5  
Tulsa   5 3     6 6  
SMU   4 4     8 4  
Memphis   3 5     6 6  
Navy   3 5     3 8  
Tulane   1 7     2 10  
South Florida   1 7     2 10  
Temple   1 7     3 9  
Championship: Cincinnati 35, Houston 20
  • ^ College Football Playoff participant
  • $ Conference champion
  • y Championship game participant

As of December 10, 2021; Rankings from CFP Rankings

. . . 2021 American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game . . .

This was the second year of the current division-less format of the game; instead of representatives from two divisions, the two teams with the best conference records earned a spot in the game.[3]

Houston clinched a berth in the championship game following its win over Temple on November 13.[4] This was the Cougars’ second appearance in the American Championship Game, having won the inaugural contest 24–13 over Temple in 2015.

Cincinnati clinched a berth in the championship game following its win over SMU on November 20.[5] The Bearcats secured home-field advantage for the championship game on November 26, defeating East Carolina 35–13 to complete an undefeated regular season.[6] This was the Bearcats’ third straight championship game appearance, having lost to Memphis 29–24 in 2019 and defeating Tulsa 27–24 in 2020. Entering the game, the fourth-ranked Bearcats held the highest College Football Playoff ranking of any team to play in the American Championship Game.

2021 American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game
1 2 3 4 Total
No. 21 Houston 10 3 0 7 20
No. 4 Cincinnati 14 0 21 0 35

at Nippert StadiumCincinnati, OH

  • Date: December 4, 2021
  • Game time: 4:08 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: 52 °F (11 °C) • Sunny • Wind: 6 mph (9.7 km/h) north
  • Game attendance: 37,978
  • Referee: Hank Johns
  • TV announcers (ABC): Joe Tessitore (play-by-play), Greg McElroy (analyst), and Katie George (sideline)
  • Box score

Scoring summary
Quarter Time Drive Team Scoring information Score
Plays Yards TOP Houston Cincinnati
1 11:55 7 50 2:57 Houston 37-yard field goal by Dalton Witherspoon 3 0
1 9:38 5 82 2:11 Cincinnati Tyler Scott 25-yard touchdown reception from Desmond Ridder, Christian Lowery kick good 3 7
1 4:23 10 74 5:07 Houston Nathaniel Dell 16-yard touchdown reception from Clayton Tune, Dalton Witherspoon kick good 10 7
1 4:06 1 79 0:11 Cincinnati Jerome Ford 79-yard touchdown run, Christian Lowery kick good 10 14
2 11:40 13 44 7:21 Houston 46-yard field goal by Dalton Witherspoon 13 14
3 12:02 6 75 2:58 Cincinnati Leonard Taylor 8-yard touchdown reception from Desmond Ridder, Christian Lowery kick good 13 21
3 11:04 2 23 0:41 Cincinnati Alec Pierce 21-yard touchdown reception from Desmond Ridder, Christian Lowery kick good 13 28
3 7:38 3 62 1:18 Cincinnati Jerome Ford 42-yard touchdown run, Christian Lowery kick good 13 35
4 6:06 13 90 7:28 Houston Jake Herslow 7-yard touchdown reception from Clayton Tune, Dalton Witherspoon kick good 20 35
“TOP” = time of possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football.

. . . 2021 American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game . . .

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. . . 2021 American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game . . .

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