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Grading the Offense: Week 13

Or how the Bearcats poured on 56 points and 641 total yards.

East Carolina v Cincinnati Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Winning by 50 points isn’t a common occurrence. The Cincinnati Bearcats have somehow done it twice this season, including a 56-6 demolition of the East Carolina Pirates on Friday. Prior to this year, the last time the Bearcats outscored an opponent by 50 or more was in 2013 when they routed Northwestern State 66-9. All this is to say the Bearcats put on an offensive show that cannot be rivaled by many in its history on Friday. Let’s grade that show.


The Good: Desmond Ridder could do no wrong. He completed 20-of-29 passes for 335 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. This marked his second career game of 300 or more passing yards and his third of at least 20 completions. We already knew Ridder was the quarterback of the present and future, but Friday could be a very nice launching pad for his second year.

Ridder didn’t even play past the first series of the second half, which gave senior Hayden Moore a chance to finish his career on the field. He threw for 59 yards and a touchdown on five completions and also broke off a 20-yard run.

The Bad: Ridder didn’t rush much, but that was due to a lack of necessity and not a failure on his part. Moore only completed 45.4 pecent of his throws, but now we’re getting to granular.

Final Grade: A

Running Backs

The Good: In his first time as a starter, Tavion Thomas was great, rushing for 106 yards and a touchdown on a workman-like 26 carries. Thomas has become a real asset in the running game, accumulating 185 yards and two scores combined the last two weeks. Fellow freshman runner Charles McClelland may not have started, but he didn’t need much work to dominate, turning only eight carries into 114 yards and a touchdown. Both players are hovering right below 500 rushing yards on the season, which are a pretty great totals for the No. 2 and No. 3 backs on the roster.

The Bad: Michael Warren was held out with a shoulder injury. Hopefully its more of a precautionary measure since the Bearcats will need him in their bowl game, even if they didn’t really need him on Friday.

Final Grade: A

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

The Good: Kahlil Lewis had a devastatingly slow start to the season, but he sure had a plan for how to finish it. On Friday, the senior wideout played one of the best games of his career, putting up a personal best of 203 yards on nine receptions. He also caught three touchdown throws for the second time in his career. Lewis has already set career-highs in receiving yards (768) and touchdowns (nine) and there’s still a game to be played.

Tight end Josiah Deguara and wide receiver Jayshon Jackson were great as alternative targets in the passing game. Deguara caught five balls for 64 yards and a touchdown and Jackson had a touchdown and 42 yards on three grabs.

The Bad: There were a handful of penalties called against this group, but its tough to get upset about that.

Final Grade: A

Offensive Line

The Good: The line definitely did its job in terms of pass protection and run blocking. Neither Ridder or Moore was sacked all game and the Bearcats rushed for 247 yards on a 6.5-yards per carry average. The Bearcats also held the ball for nearly 36 minutes, so it was a long day on the field, but the line never broke.

The Bad: There was a penalty or missed block here or there, but you’re really digging if you want something to say here.

Final Grade: A


The 641 total yards the Bearcats amassed on Friday was the second-most in a game this year, but it was still spectacular. The offense was clicking on all cylinders, as the Bearcats rushed for 248 yards, threw for 394 and averaged 8.2 per play. They also scored on all four of their red zone trips and went 10-for-16 on third down. Flawless.

Final Grade: A