CINCINNATI, Oh -- With a steady rain and intermittent gusting wind pelting Paul Brown Stadium, it was a night when two things were especially important – being able to run the ball and avoiding turnovers.
Cincinnati had the advantage in both of those areas Saturday, resulting in a 21-0 win over the rival Miami RedHawks.
The Bearcats 13th consecutive win over MU continued Cincinnati’s recent dominance. The RedHawks seemed to have 2017’s meeting in hand, but stumbled in the final minutes. This year’s meeting was more of a slow burn, with just one touchdown being scored through three quarters.
Freshman quarterback Desmond Ritter provided possibly the game’s key play with a 39-yard burst on Cincinnati’s second possession. That play gave UC a first down at MU’s nine-yard line. Three plays and two timeouts later, Michael Warren II carried the ball in from two yards out. Cole Smith added the PAT for a 7-0 lead that eventually looked like it could be a final score.
Cincinnati managed just 45 yards through the air, with Ridder completing 6 of 11 passes.
Miami, meanwhile, found it tough going against a Bearcat defense that allowed Chip Kelly’s UCLA team just seven points over the final three quarters last week. Cincinnati surrendered just 45 rushing yards to Miami on the night.
Maurice Thomas had four carries providing a team-high 21 rushing yards. Senior Kenny Young, always a key cog in MU’s offense, had two carries for 10 yards. Other attempts to get him the ball in space resulted in Young catching a team-high nine passes. That, however, yielded just 27 yards and he took several hard hits along the way.
Miami’s defense, led by seniors De’Andre Montgomery and Junior McMullen with 10 tackles each, stiffened after UC’s early score. However, the Bearcats picked up another seven points early in the final period.
Cincinnati punted to the Miami six and Ragland went back to pass on first down. His throw ricocheted into the hands of Darrick Forrest, who returned it to the MU one-yard line. Warren bulled in on the next play, further dampening RedHawk comeback hopes.
Miami (0-2) continues its challenging non-conference schedule next week when it travels to Minnesota (2-0) The Gophers are coached by former Western Michigan head coach P.J. Fleck.