Defeating a team like the USF Bulls was supposed to be difficult. For 30 minutes on Saturday, that appeared to be the case. Then the Cincinnati Bearcats put forth a third quarter of immense offensive power and coasted to a double-digit victory.
The ease with which the Bearcats closed out yesterday’s win was a refreshing reminder that they are a real challenger in the American Athletic Conference and not just a squad beating up on the bottom of the league. It also reminded us of how many star-caliber players are on the roster. Here are the three best this week.
Honorable Mention: Wins like these have a way of making for generous actions, so we’ll be giving some shout outs to a few more than three players this week. Desmond Ridder recovered from an unproductive first half of passing to throw for 194 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 60 yards. Jarell White led the team with 10 tackles, including 1.0 for loss. Lastly, James Smith punted five times, averaged 49.2 yards per kick, including a long of 64 yards and three inside the Bulls’ 20-yard line.
One Star - Kimoni Fitz, DE
The Bearcats’ win might have been born from the 21-point third quarter they put together, but the defense was the constant through line. Fitz and the rest of the guys on the defensive line did their part, allowing only 81 yards rushing to the Bulls and making life extremely difficult for the backfield overall. Fitz managed 1.5 tackles for loss, including one of four sacks for UC on the night. He also came in second on the team with seven total tackles, while making his side of the line a place no USF player wanted to be.
Two Stars - Michael Pitts, JACK/DE
Pitts plays a hybrid position on defense and on Saturday he played it better than he has all season. If there was a play to be made, Pitts was usually the one doing it. He may have only had three tackles, but most of them were pretty devastating for the Bulls. With 1.5 sacks, Pitts accounted for nearly half of UC’s output. He didn’t affect the passing game by just pressuring the quarterbacks either. He also had two pass breakups. The cherry on top of this defensive sundae was a blocked extra point in the first quarter.
Three Stars - Michael Warren, RB
What a surprise. Michael Warren is back on the three stars line. While it might feel like a repeat of so many weeks, this was perhaps Warren’s best all around game of the season. He kept the offense afloat during a slower first half and then pounded the Bulls into submission in the second. He scored four touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving) and recorded 178 all-purpose yards. A season-high 151 of those yards came on the ground, pushing Warren to 1,082 for the year and making him the first UC running back since George Winn to put together a 1,000-yard rushing season.
Who was the MVP of Cincinnati’s win against USF?
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