The Cincinnati Bearcats (8-1, 4-1 AAC) efficiently dismantled overmatched Navy (2-7, 1-4 AAC) by a score of 42-0 Saturday afternoon. The Bearcats’ defense held Navy to 171 yards on offense, while the offense averaged 7.4 yards per play, moving the ball up and down the field at will.
Bearcats on Offense: Nearly Unstoppable
The Bearcats scored touchdowns on their first five possessions. Their first punt of the day came with a little more than five minutes left in the third quarter.
Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder completed 13 passes on 17 attempts for 178 yards and 1 touchdown. The quarterback also rushed for 66 yards on 7 attempts for 1 TD on the day. Michael Warren also had a good day rushing, collecting 70 yards on 15 attempts for 2 touchdowns. Charles McClelland added 85 yards on 6 carries for 1 touchdown, most of which came on mop up duty toward the end of the game.
Navy’s defense has ranked near the bottom of the NCAA FBS (120th coming into Saturday). The Midshipmen had no answer for UC’s balanced attack. The Bearcats began the day with drives of 60, 89, and 75 yards, all for touchdowns. The Bearcats ended the day with 262 yards rushing and 189 yards passing.
After appearing to suffer a knee injury on a play in the second quarter, UC marched down the field to complete the drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Hayden Moore to Josiah Deguara. Ridder returned after halftime, adding a 55-yard touchdown to Rashad Medaris. Moore replaced Ridder with 7:13 left in the third quarter and played the rest of the game.
Bearcats on Defense: Dominant
Navy’s drive chart for the game: punt, punt, punt, downs, half, downs, downs, fumble, punt, punt.
Cincinnati’s suffocating defense held Navy to 57 yards on 26 plays in the 1st half. Navy ended the day with 171 yards on 56 plays, with most of the offense coming after the game was out of reach.
Navy quarterback Zach Abey attempted three passes in the first half. The Bearcats recorded sacks on all three attempts (1.5 for Kimoni Fitz, 1 for Michael Pitts, and 0.5 for Cortez Broughton). Navy only crossed midfield once in the first half, getting the ball to the UC 49 early in the first quarter before punting. Malik Clements added a sack-fumble later in the fourth quarter, which led to a one-play touchdown drive on a rush by McClelland. On the day, Cincinnati recorded 5 sacks total.
What It Means for Cincinnati
While Navy is not as strong a team as in the past, the Bearcats look primed for a stretch run where if they win out they can earn a spot in the AAC Championship game. The Bearcats should beat USF and ECU. They certainly have what it takes to defeat UCF, even on the road.