Cincinnati Bearcats (2-1) beat Miami RedHawks (1-2) for the 14th consecutive season, keeping the Victory Bell where it belongs. Cincinnati started out slow, but ultimately put their foot on the gas scoring five touchdowns between the second and third quarters to win 35-13.
Desmond Ridder is still a work-in-progress
Ridder is in his third year at the University of Cincinnati and on Saturday started the 15th game of his career. Naturally, a redshirt sophomore quarterback, would still be a work-in-progress. After a terrific breakout season in 2018, I think the bar was set a little too high as far as expectations for Ridder. But regardless of what the expectations are, it’s clear he has a lot of improving to do.
On multiple occasions on Saturday, Ridder stared down his receiver, allowing the defender to read the play. He made several poor reads, missing a wide open receiver on a few occasions and forcing to someone in coverage.
Ridder will continue to take every meaningful snap at QB for Cincinnati and will have to play through and learn from his mistakes. Ridder needs to take full advantage of this upcoming off week. He was beat up against Ohio State and played, no doubt, the worst football game of his life in week 2 and sandwiching that game were two uneven games, where he made enough plays to lead his team to victory.
Offensive line problems need to be fixed
They swapped the tackles. At halftime they replaced the right tackle. And they have continuously shuffled and rotated guys in and out. And nothing has work through three weeks. It was understandable by Cincinnati’s front was getting pushed around by a bigger, more talented Ohio State front seven. But these guys should be bigger and better than Miami’s front, who pretty much had their way with Cincinnati for much of the game.
The lack of blocking gives Ridder very little time to make decisions (which could be contributing to him making the wrong ones) and has impacted the running game. Yes, Michael Warren broke a big one, but beyond that was nothing overly special on the ground.
Defense continues to be the team’s strength
After a rough first quarter for the defense where they allowed 10 points, they completely tighten up. Here is Miami’s possession chart after the first quarter
- End of Half
- Turnover on downs
- Field goal
Excluding week 2’s game against Ohio State, Cincinnati has allowed 27 points to UCLA and Miami and 10 total in both second halves. Coordinator Marcus Freeman has done an awesome job making in-game adjustments and plugging in the right players. Bearcats continue to rotate guys in and out and have legit playmakers like Darrick Forrest, Bryan Wright, Michael Pitts, and others. Cincinnati is getting contributions from everyone, despite continuously getting bit by injuries.
No confidence in kicking
In an otherwise perfect second half, Luke Fickell made an odd decision late in the fourth quarter. On 4th down and goal to go, from about the 15 yard line, Cincinnati opted to go for it as opposed to kicking a field goal. Sam Crosa is 1-3, with a missed 31 yarder in week 1 and a blocked kick in week 2. At some point in conference play, Cincinnati is going to need to kick field goals and this would have been the perfect time to boost confidence of his kicker.
What did you learn about the Bearcats during week 3? Comment and let us know below.