The second play from scrimmage in Saturday’s Battle for the Victory Bell between Miami and Cincinnati showed exactly how the rest of the afternoon would play out.
Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati’s star quarterback, dropped back to pass and found a wide open Tyler Scott past midfield. The sophomore wide receiver did the rest, running to the end zone for an early touchdown.
With the extra point, the Bearcats were already up 7-0 after just 45 seconds had elapsed from the clock.
It was the first touchdown in a 49-14 route, as No. 8 Cincinnati showed exactly why it deserves to be ranked in the top ten.
Surprisingly, Junior AJ Mayer started the game at quarterback instead of Brett Gabbert. Mayer quickly completed a deep ball to fourth-year junior wide receiver Mac Hippenhammer, who was tackled at Cincinnati’s 38-yard line.
For a brief moment, it looked like the RedHawks could trade blows with a top ten team in the country.
The drive stalled, though, and Miami was forced to punt. Punter Dom Djobian pinned the Bearcats inside the team’s own five-yard line, but it didn’t matter.
Running back Jerome Ford gashed the defense for a 50-yard run. A few plays later, Ridder found Cincinnati’s other running back, Ryan Montgomery, for an eight-yard touchdown pass.
The Bearcats forced a three-and-out to get the ball back, then went on yet another methodical touchdown drive. This time, Ridder hooked up with junior tight end Josh Whyle for the 23-yard score.
Just like that, Cincinnati was up 21-0, and it was still the first quarter.
After the teams traded possessions a few times, Ridder found sophomore wide receiver Jadon Thompson on another deep pass for a 47-yard gain. A few plays later, Ford ran basically untouched right up the middle for another Bearcat touchdown.
On Cincinnati’s next drive, Ridder made an impressive move to escape the pocket and ran around the corner for a 25-yard touchdown. Ridder was an impressive 20-for-25 with 295 yards and four touchdowns and added 31 yards on the ground.
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The game was basically over at the end of the first half. Miami’s defense got on the board with an acrobatic interception by redshirt junior safety Sterling Weatherford, but the RedHawks couldn’t capitalize.
After a rushing touchdown by Miami’s Kenny Tracey, freshman defensive back John Saunders intercepted Cincinnati backup quarterback Evan Prater’s pass and ran it in for another score with two minutes left in the game.
It was too little, too late. Prater added a rushing touchdown to cap off the Miami loss, 49-14.
Mayer played the whole game and was 9-for-28 with 109 yards. Hippenhammer was the team’s leading receiver with three catches for 64 yards.
Keyon Mozee, a transfer from Kansas State, was the team’s most consistent running back, with 15 carries for 80 yards.
On defense, senior defensive back Mike Brown and junior defensive end Lonnie Phelps each recorded a sack.
After a rough start to the season, Miami plays the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Minnesota this Saturday, Sept. 11 at noon. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.