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Grading the Offense: Week Five

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Another week of passing with flying colors. Those colors are red and black, of course.

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

On seven of their first nine possessions, the Cincinnati Bearcats found the end zone. That’s how they were able to run away with a 49-7 victory over the UConn Huskies on Saturday. It was an exceptional offensive performance for a team that has continued to improve on that side of the ball as the year has gone on.

The effort against the Huskies was much more a continuation of what the Bearcats did in the second half against Ohio the week before, and there was no latency in getting there. With this in mind, let’s break it down even more.

Quarterbacks

The Good: Imagine not having Desmond Ridder at quarterback for the foreseeable future. That would be a scary proposition for the Bearcats. Luckily, they do not need to worry. Ridder has gotten better and better every week, and his best was on display against the Huskies. He completed 20-of-26 passes for 270 yards and rushed for an additional 47 yards and one touchdown. Ridder is now third in the American Athletic Conference in passer rating (165.99) and is well on his way to a league Rookie of the Year nod, assuming he gets the Ben Simmons treatment.

In the blowout win, Hayden Moore got a chance to play as well. The former starter completed all three of his throws, accumulating 69 yards in the process. He also rushed for 32 yards and the final score of the game.

The Bad: Nothing to report.

Final Grade: A

Running Backs

The Good: If you don’t figure out how to stop the UC rushing attack, you’ve already lost. That’s what happened to UConn, as it surrendered 320 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. UC running backs accounted for 241 of those yards and three of the scores. Michael Warren was the most productive back (106 yards, 2 TDs, 8.2 YPC), which should be a surprise to nobody. Taylor Boose (66 yards) accumulated his first stats of the season as the second-leading rusher, while Tavion Thomas (56 yards, TD) and Charles McClelland both got playing time as well.

The Bad: Not this time.

Final Grade: A

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

The Good: It was only a matter of time before a Mike Denbrock offense got the tight end position more involved. Denbrock had such pupils as Tyler Eifert and Kyle Rudolph at Notre Dame and Josiah Deguara is his first standout student at UC. Deguara caught five passes for 112 yards and a touchdown against UConn. He is well on his way to the best tight end season at UC since 2012 when Travis Kelce was on the roster.

As for the wide receivers, this was not an audacious performance by any means, but it didn’t need to be. Malick Mbodj caught a 51-yard pass and Thomas Geddis tied with Deguara for a team-high with five receptions.

The Bad: Next.

Final Grade: A

Offensive Line

The Good: You just read about all those rushing yards. Who do you think was opening the gaps and sealing the outside so Warren and company could average six yards per carry?

The Bad: This is a tiny issue, but Ridder was sacked twice. A clean sheet would have been preferable, but obviously it didn’t make much of a difference.

Final Grade: A-

Overall

Somehow, the 659 yards of total offense the Bearcats racked up was not a season-high. That’s only because they had 741 against Alabama A&M. Still, more than 600 yards of total offense is something to celebrate. The Bearcats also finished with 31 first downs, converted 7-of-14 third down tries and 3-of-4 fourth down chances. They scored six times on seven red zone trips, losing a fumble on their third of the game. While that ended their perfect mark in that category up to this point, it didn’t really make the day any less dominant for the UC offense.

Final Grade: A