Cincinnati beat USF in their conference opener despite nine turnovers between both teams.
USF cycled through three quarterbacks and coughed up the ball five times. Cincinnati gave up another four. This is indicative of the atmosphere of the game. For the most part, both teams were slow and sloppy for most of the game.
On paper, Cincinnati looked like they would have won this game by a wide margin. But in reality, the game was much closer. Despite a 21-point win, the score was tighter than it should have been for most of the game.
But a win is a win, and a conference one at that. Cincinnati goes to 1-0 in the American Athletic Conference. The Bearcats have a few more games before they get to the meat of their schedule. But for now, they can rest easy as an undefeated team.
Cincinnati Beats USF 28-7
Cincinnati wasn’t running on all cylinders, but it was running on most of them. There are still plenty of positives for Bearcats fans to take away.
The defense looked as good as it has all season, and the offense still gained 332 yards. A 21-point win against a conference opponent is nothing to scoff at.
That said, a performance like this won’t help the Bearcats win a conference championship.
The passing game for both teams was shaky.
Going into this game, the USF pass attack hadn’t shown much to write home about. The trend continued this week.
Katravis Marsh started the game and played most of the first half. Cade Fortin also shuffled in, but didn’t do much. In the first half, USF quarterbacks went 8 for 18 with 39 yards, no touchdowns, and three interceptions.
Jordan McCloud came into the second half and provided a jot for the stagnant Bulls offense. McCloud was better, but still not great. He went 12 for 21 with 137 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions.
Desmond Ridder was far and away the best quarterback in the game. But even he didn’t perform up to his standards. Ridder completed 16 of 26 passes for 147 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions.
The interceptions from the USF and Cincinnati quarterbacks accounted for eight of the nine turnovers in the game.
Ridder simply hasn’t looked like the player who won the AAC Rookie of the Year award. He lacked energy and played down to USF. For a team that looked pretty good in most aspects, Ridder held Cincinnati back from a truly decisive victory.
Cincinnati running back Gerrid Doaks was one of the few positives on offense. He rushed 22 times for 108 yards and a touchdown. Doaks did lose one fumble, which was the only turnover aside from the interceptions.
In a game where the quarterback was holding the team back, Doaks carried the offense. This was by far the best game of the season for the senior.
Any defense that gets five interceptions in a game is doing a fantastic job.
The Bearcats only gave up 291 yards to USF. The ground game is the strenght of the USF offense, but they only gained 83 yards.
The only time USF looked threatening was during their touchdown drive. Even then, it still took a trick play on a fourth-and-long conversion to extend the drive.
Marcus Freeman had the blitz working really well. A big reason why the Bulls’ quarterbacks did so poorly was because they were constantly escaping Bearcats blitzes.
The defense can all pat themselves on the back for their performance. They’re not only one of the best defenses in the conference, but in the country.
Today was not a good day for kickers.
Both teams attempted one field goal and missed. Cole Smith missed on a 37-yard field goal early in the second half. This is alarming due to Smith’s wild inconsistency in the past.
Both kickers made all of the extra points they attempted. But both teams might consider going for it on fourth down more this season.