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Grading the Offense: Week 10

The Bearcats did whatever they wanted on offense in a 42-0 rout of Navy.

Navy v Cincinnati Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Baseball has the perfect game. A pitcher faces 27 batters and gets them all out. No hits, no walks and certainly no runs.

The perfect game in football is much less well defined. No matter what happens, you’re opponent is probably going to make some progress in terms of yardage. Even holding them scoreless does not mean you played the perfect game. Then you have to consider what you do on your side offensively. How many points is enough to prove your absolute dominance?

The Cincinnati Bearcats played as pretty close to a perfect game, both offensively and defensively, on Saturday. With a 42-0 triumph over the Navy, the Bearcats recorded their second shutout and eighth win of the season. While the defense’s absolute stinginess carried the day, the offense hummed along itself. Just how in tune was that humming? Let’s find out.

Quarterbacks

The Good: When Hayden Moore is getting a large chunk of playing time, it means something has either gone terribly right or terribly wrong. In this case, it was the former.

Desmond Ridder orchestrated some beautiful offensive drives from under center, even if he didn’t play the entire game. He connected on his only pass of UC’s first drive and also ripped off a 28-yard run. The Bearcats finished that possession off with a rushing touchdown from Michael Warren. It set the tone for clinical performance. Ridder accounted for a pair of touchdowns, running for one and throwing a 55-yarder to Rashad Medaris early in the third quarter. He got the rest of the day off, with Moore taking over.

Ridder finished the day completing 13-of-17 attempts for 178 yards while running for 66 yards. Moore only threw the ball three times, but managed to connect with Josiah Deguara for an 11-yard touchdown pass, his first of the season.

The Bad: Since the game was out of hand before halftime, we were robbed of seeing more spectacular quarterback play.

Final Grade: A

Running Backs

The Good: Warren punched his way into the end zone twice, and now has 14 rushing scores this year. The sophomore running back also averaged a healthy 4.5 yards per carry and finished with 68 yards. While that was his second-lowest total of the year, it was mainly because he was pulled out once the game was well in hand.

In Warren’s place, Charles McClelland and Tavion Thomas both produced. McClelland had a 40-yard touchdown run and finished with a team-high 85 yards while Thomas managed 46 on 11 carries.

The Bad: Warren went his second-straight week without reaching 100 yards? He would have gotten there easily if he played the whole game, though, so this isn’t really much of a complaint.

Final Grade: A

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

The Good: After sprinting their way to a 28-0 lead at halftime, the Bearcats were more interested in chewing up clock on the ground in the final 30 minutes. That meant there were far fewer pass plays called than usual. Medaris’ 55-yard touchdown reception was the highlight of the passing game and he managed to finish with 82 yards on four catches. Kahlil Lewis had a nice PPR day, with five catches, but he only had 39 yards. Again, those numbers would have grown if the Bearcats needed to throw at any point after the first few minutes of the third quarter.

The Bad: It’s tough to criticize a group that only got 20 targets while the team won by 42 points.

Final Grade: A

Offensive Line

The Good: Ridder was not sacked once. UC rushers averaged 6.4 yards per carry. Navy had a total of two tackles for loss. The line also did not commit one penalty all game. I’d say it did its job well.

The Bad: Moore was sacked once, if you want to get technical.

Final Grade: A

Overall

UC’s offense had itself a perfect game going during the first half. On four possessions, the Bearcats got four touchdowns. They punted three times in the second half, but still got two more touchdowns on the board. Plus, there was not nearly as much urgency felt as the second and third-team guys manned the offensive posts near the end.

Despite all that coasting in the second half, the Bearcats tallied 451 total yards, averaging 7.4 yards per play while converting on 6-of-10 third down tries. That’s right. They were only backed into a third-down corner 10 times. They also scored touchdowns on all four of their red zone trips. That’s pretty close to perfect.

Final Grade: A