No. 9 Cincinnati crushes No. 16 SMU behind Ridder’s 4 TDs

Quarterback Desmond Ridder posted a 91-yard scoring run as one of his three rushing touchdowns and passed for a score Saturday night as No. 9 Cincinnati pulled away for a 42-13 victory over No. 16 SMU in an American Athletic Conference clash of undefeated teams in Dallas.

Ridder rushed for a career-best 179 yards on just eight carries and completed 13 of 21 passes for 126 yards for the Bearcats (4-0, 2-0 AAC). Gerrid Doaks rushed for 105 yards and two scores, Josh Whyle caught a touchdown pass, and Jarell White recorded 13 tackles and a sack for Cincinnati.

Shane Buechele was 23-of-44 passing for 216 yards, one touchdown and one interception for SMU (5-1, 2-1). Rashee Rice caught a touchdown pass but the Mustangs totaled just 290 yards after entering the contest ranked fourth nationally at 563.2 per game.

Cincinnati was playing for the first time in three weeks after it postponed last week's game against Tulsa due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the program. The Bearcats gained 439 yards against SMU and overcame 12 penalties for 126 yards.

The Bearcats scored touchdowns on their first two possessions to take an early 14-point lead, getting a 7-yard pass from Ridder to Whyte for one score, and Ridder's 15-yard end run for another.

But SMU got back into the game as the Mustangs held Cincinnati to 7 total yards in the second quarter. They got on the board when Buechele threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Rice, completing a 17-play, 83-yard drive, and Naggar booted a 26-yard field goal on the final play of the half to make it a four-point margin.

Cincinnati, however, took control with two touchdowns in the third quarter ... and then two more in the fourth.

After the Bearcats drove 69 yards in 10 plays, Doaks finished the drive by scoring on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line to give Cincinnati a 21-10 lead. A short time later, Ridder broke loose on a 32-yard scoring run to boost the lead to 18 points with 3:22 remaining in the third quarter.

SMU put together a strong 11-play, 82-yard drive, but it stalled and Chris Nagger was summoned to boot a 22-yard field to pull the Mustangs within 28-13 with 11:57 left in the contest.

On the next snap, Ridder eliminated any chance of a comeback by racing down the left sideline on his 91-yard touchdown run with 4:39 remaining. The school said the run matches the longest in program history.

Doaks tacked on a 35-yard scoring run with 2:03 left.

Cincinnati takes its perfect record to Memphis next week, while SMU takes on Navy.

--Field Level Media

10/25/2020 5:32

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