Bearcats’ offense explodes in blistering start to conference slate

UC doubled up Temple in total yards and capitalized on three turnovers to dominate their first AAC opponent.
Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 10:14 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The University of Cincinnati Bearcats rolled on Friday night against the Temple Owls before a sellout crowd at historic Nippert Stadium.

The Bearcats, ranked fifth in the AP poll, were 29.5-point favorites coming into Friday’s matchup. They won by 49.

Final score: 52-3.

UC has now won 23 consecutive home games and 31 consecutive games against unranked opponents.

Desmond Ridder had to shake off some early rust following a program-defining win against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish the week before, but he finished 22 of 30 for 259 yards with three touchdowns and grew more efficient as the game went on.

Still, it was the rushing attack that stole the show.

UC came into the game averaging just 3.74 yards per rushing attempt in its past three games.

The team more than doubled that average on Friday. The offensive line bullied Temple’s outmatched defensive front, and frequent misdirection plays from offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock had Temple’s linebackers swimming rather than scraping.

A standout performance from Alabama transfer Jerome Ford helped UC to a season-high 263 rushing yards.

That Desmon Ridder, whose legs were key to last year’s offensive attack, accounted for just six of those yards made Friday’s performance all the more impressive.

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On the other side of the ball, UC’s eighth-ranked defense was suffocating.

The Bearcats’ speedy secondary took a lap around Temple’s skill talent. They eliminated the dump-offs and the crossing routes, and the defensive line gave quarterback D’Wan Mathis little time to look downfield.

Temple’s leading rusher had 29 yards. The team averaged just 2.8 yards per carry.

Mathis, a one-time Georgia Bulldog, was coming off a strong performance in a comeback win against Memphis, amassing three touchdowns and 322 passing yards.

It wasn’t his night on Friday. Mathis was hurried, flushed out and intercepted, and Temple’s offense never threatened with him at the helm.

He finished 16 for 27 for 120 yards and one interception.

Next up for the Bearcats is an anticipated night game on Oct. 16 against UCF.

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