NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA — Desmond Ridder threw three touchdown passes, Josh Whyle scored twice and the Cincinnati Bearcats (8-0, 4-0 American Athletic Conference) stretched their way to victory over Tulane.
Capping off the Bearcats first offensive possession was Ridder to Whyle on a 26-yard lob to the endzone. The 6’ 6”, 245 pound senior tight end from the Queen City recorded his second game with multiple TD’s, reeling in four passes for 79 yards.
Cincinnati continued their momentum on defense, but a subsequent eight-yard sack from inside the ten gave Tulane their first points of the game on a safety. With the ball back in their hands and in preferred field position, halfback Tyjae Spears took a fly sweep to the right for a gain of 47 and a touchdown. Spears — the leading rusher on the day, outdueled Jerome Ford in the stat category for 106 yards on 19 carries. His overall total qualified as a career high following a season-ending knee injury from the 2020 season.
The division-one leading Ford answered on Cincinnati’s next drive to bulldoze his way for a 14th touchdown. Cincinnati retook the lead, and Desmond Ridder and the offense never trailed from there on out.
Sporting their advantage, Cincinnati expanded the lead to nine after Ridder and Whyle connected for their second big score of the day — this time from inside the ten.
Tulane attempted to initiate a comeback bid towards the waning stages of game with third stringer and freshman Kai Horton at the helm of things. Horton took over for operations last week, filling in for starter Michael Pratt after he suffered a concussion to SMU. The young buck finished the day with 16 passes for 79 yards, feeling the wrath a top-appreciated Bearcat defense that recorded four sacks and two interceptions throughout the day’s course.
At 8-0, Cincinnati remains a pair of games separated from their highly anticipated in-conference showdown against SMU. The Bearcats host Tulsa next week, followed by an away bid in South Florida on Friday, November 12th. The Mustangs and East Carolina will accompany UC to wrap up the regular season slate.
SMU (7-0, 3-0 American Athletic Conference) receives its first crack at a top tier opponent tonight against the Houston Cougars. Tanner Mordecai and the nation’s fifth ranked offense lead the country in passing touchdowns (29) and have averages 331 yards through the air per game.
“Our goal is to end the year in the Top 25, which we haven’t done,” Mustangs head coach Sonny Dykes said. “We’ve lost games late, and we can’t afford to do that this year. Our goal is to continue to move up in the rankings, but most importantly finish the season ranked.”
Both top tier AAC programs are a few days removed from receiving their first rating in the inaugural 2021 College Football Playoff Rankings. The first of the six selection shows will release at at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, November 2nd.
Cincinnati Key Stat Leaders
Passing: QB Desmond Ridder, 17-27, 227 yards and three touchdowns
Rushing: RB Jerome Ford, 18 carries, 65 yards and one touchdown
Receiving: TE Josh Whyle, four receptions, 79 yards and two touchdowns
Tackling: LB Joel Dublanko, 15 total tackles, nine solo tackles
Tulane Key Stat Leaders
Passing: QB Kai Horton, 7-16, 79 yards and zero touchdowns
Rushing: RB Tyjae Spears, 19 carries, 106 yards and one touchdown
Receiving: WR Jha’Quan Jackson, three receptions, 34 yards and zero touchdowns
Tackling: CB Jamal Glenn, 11 total tackles, five solo tackles
Full Remaining Cincinnati Schedule:
Tulsa Golden Hurricane, Saturday, November 6
@ USF Bulls, Friday, November 12
SMU Mustangs, Saturday, November 20
@ East Carolina Pirates, Saturday, November 27