Desmond Ridder was 20 of 25 for 295 yards and four touchdowns and No. 8 Cincinnati beat Miami of Ohio 49-14 on Saturday in the opener for both teams.
The Bearcats tied the series that began in 1888 at 59-59-7.
Ridder threw an 81-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Scott on the second play from scrimmage. It was the longest TD toss of his career.
“I saw them go into a two high like they did on film,” Ridder said. “There was a smile on my face when they did. I just threw the ball up for Todd to go get. I was able to see things a lot better. I think a lot of guys saw things a lot better.”
Ridder also ran six times for 31 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown carry. The fifth-year senior had one interception.
“Desmond was really poised,” Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell said. “He was ready. It isn’t only he has improved as a player but he’s improved as a leader. “
Jerome Ford added 121 yards rushing yards on 12 carries, scoring on a 21-yard run in the second quarter.
“They were very well-prepared,” Miami coach Chuck Martin said about Cincinnati. “They executed on both sides of the ball.”
Backup quarterback AJ Mayer started for the Redhawks. Mayer played in place of Brett Gabbert, who injured a knee in the preseason. Gabbert returned only to suffer an injury to his thumb that prevented his participation.
“When you’re less talented and you don’t execute, you’re looking at 35-0 by halftime,” Martin said.
Miami scored on its 11th possession with 3:20 left in the game on a 19-yard run by Kenny Tracy. Prior to breaking the shutout, the Redhawks had 10 possessions, six ended in punts. Four possession ended on downs, with two of them inside the Cincinnati 20. Miami head coach Chuck Martin passed up field goal opportunities.
John Saunders picked off Cincinnati backup quarterback Evan Prater’s pass and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown.
Mayer was 9 of 29 attempts for 109 yards. Keyon Mozee rushed 15 times for 80 yards for the Redhawks.
Cincinnati scored five touchdowns in the first half. Miami got no closer than the Cincinnati 32 on six possessions.
FIT TO BE TIED
Miami tied or led the series since 1916. The last time it was tied was 1953. The series has been played every year since 1945 when Covid limited Miami to three games in 2020. The teams did not meet in 1943 or 1944 but played every year from 1909 – 1942. The initial meeting on Dec. 8, 1888, was a 0-0 tie.
Miami: At Minnesota on Saturday.
Cincinnati: Hosts Murray State on Saturday.