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Grading the Offense: Week Three

The Bearcats racked up 741 yards of total offense. They also scored 63 points. That is some A material.

Alabama A&M v Cincinnati Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bearcats did not take long to assert their dominance over the Alabama A&M Bulldogs on Saturday. After they struggled the last two seasons against FCS foes, the Bearcats came out right away and put point after point after point on the board. The offense clicked from start to finish, no matter who was playing and which plays were called. With 741 yards of total offense, the Bearcats nearly broke a program record for offensive output. The 63 points they scored were the most they’ve had in a game since 2013. This was an offensive masterpiece. Even if its not sustainable once the degree of difficulty kicks back up, this was a fun one for Bearcat fans. Now to the grades.

Quarterbacks

The Good: Normally, quarterback is singular in the header for this section, but not today. Desmond Ridder started once again and was exceptional, completing deep passes, with ease. He connected on all but one of his 10 pass attempts and racked up 199 yards and three touchdowns. That equates to an average of more than 22 yards per completion. Ridder also flashed his speed, scoring a rushing touchdown before being pulled at the end of the first quarter.

Ridder wasn’t taken out because of bad play, but because UC was leading 28-0 when the first quarter came to a close. That opened up some playing time for former starter Hayden Moore, freshman Ben Bryant and Jake Sopko.

The Bad: We’re splitting hairs here, but Bryant was intercepted once and Moore only had 58 yards on six completions. But both players completed a healthy number of passes, connecting on 12-of-15 combined.

Final Grade: A

Running Backs

The Good: For starters, Michael Warren didn’t have to do everything. He still played very well, but he only had six carries (yielding 78 yards and a touchdown) before giving way to the guys behind him. Warren had 64 rushes in the first two weeks, so this provided some needed rest. It was even easier to let Warren sit because of how well his replacements played. Tavion Thomas rushes for 141 yards and two touchdowns and Charles McClelland added 121 yards and a score of his own. All told, UC rushers tallied 409 yards on the ground, marking the first time since 1996 the Bearcats have reached the 400-yard rushing mark.

The Bad: We still haven’t seen Gerrid Doaks on the field, but clearly the Bearcats were fine without him. It makes sense to keep resting him so he is healthy for more critical games down the road.

Final Grade: A

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

The Good: The first two weeks were pretty empty for UC wide receivers, but that changed this week. Kahlil Lewis led the way with 92 yards and a score on four receptions, but Jayshon Jackson actually caught the most passes (six receptions, 80 yards). Perhaps the most impressive feat by a UC wideout was Thomas Geddis’ touchdown catch on the first drive.

That was Geddis’ lone catch of the evening, but it was a great one. In total, 11 Bearcats caught at least one pass, and nine of those players were wideouts or tight ends.

The Bad: Umm.

Final Grade: A

Offensive Line

The Good: Those 409 rushing yards don’t happen without the guys up front. UC averaged 7.4 yards per carry as a team, and the line deserves credit for that as well. The line also allowed only two sacks and was hit for three penalties.

The Bad: Those three penalties did cost the Bearcats 35 yards.

Final Grade: A

Overall

A record-setting offensive performance, mixed with excellent work in the red zone (6-for-6, six touchdowns) and on third down (7-for-9) provided an easy win and a stunning look at the talents of just about very offensive player on the roster.

Final Grade: A