CINCINNATI (AP) — Desmond Ridder threw three touchdowns and the Cincinnati Bearcats scored on their first six possessions to topple Alabama A&M 63-7 on Saturday.
Ridder completed nine of 10 passes for 199 yards for the Bearcats (3-0). He added a 22-yard run for his first career touchdown. He was finished for the game after the first quarter.
Ridder attempted 11 passes in a rain-soaked game against Miami of Ohio last week but came out throwing against the Bulldogs.
“The first two games it was tough to throw,” Ridder said. “UCLA put a lot of pressure on us and the weather was bad last week. Tonight we knew we were going to throw. The weather was perfect.”
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Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell thought the game would be lopsided but wasn’t taking it for granted.
“I’ve been in a lot of situations where a game is supposed to be like this but it isn’t,” Fickell said. “We took a step tonight because we came out fast. We were aggressive. We respected our opponent.”
Although his new quarterback didn’t show his passing aptitude in the first two games, Fickell knew the ability was there.
“Desmond has a lot of confidence in himself,” Fickell said. “We love to have balance.”
Khalill Lewis, Josiah Deguara and Thomas Geddis caught touchdown passes from Ridder of 61, 22 and 29 yards, respectively. Tavion Thomas was the leading rusher for the Bearcats with 141 yards. Fellow freshman, Charles McClelland, had the first 16 carries of his career for 121 yards, including a one-yard touchdown.
Hayden Moore took over at quarterback in the second quarter and led the Bearcats to their fifth touchdown, completing six of seven passes for 51 yards to set up a 6-yard touchdown run by Michael Warren II. Thomas added an 11-yard touchdown run, the first of his career, and the Bearcats led 42-0 at halftime.
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Alabama A&M accumulated 182 yards of offense in trying to earn a win over a FBS opponent for the first time in six tries. Aqeel Glass completed 11 of 27 passes for 110 yards. Teon Dollard led the team with 28 rushing yards.
“It happens like this in these money games sometimes, when they take you to the woodshed and spank you,” first year Bulldog coach Connell Maynor said. “Cincinnati is a much-improved team. Coach has his guys headed in the right direction. They are having a great season. We ran into a buzzsaw. We were in position to make tackles and we couldn’t make the tackle. They were bigger, faster and stronger than our guys and we were sliding off. Offensively, we kind of shot ourselves in the foot, but they put pressure on the quarterback and covered us and stopped us in the running game. We were just out-matched. I’m proud of my guys for not quitting.”
The Bulldogs (1-2) defense was ranked ninth in the FCS by allowing 215 yards per game. Cincinnati had 529 by halftime and finished with a school record 743 yards. The Bearcats gained 711 yards against UConn in 2009.
The Bearcats had a streak of seven-straight scoreless quarters before Glass completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Zabrian Moore with 3:57 left in the third quarter.
Alabama A&M: The Bulldogs allowed an average of 215 yards of offense in its first two games. The allowed just 93.8 yards passing. Cincinnati exceeded both in the first quarter.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats roster is 69 percent true freshmen (35), redshirt freshmen (17) and sophomores (29). The Bearcats carry 16 juniors and 15 seniors on its 112-man roster. Running back Charles McClelland had his first varsity carries. Quarterback Ben Bryant threw his first varsity pass.
Alabama A&M: The Bulldogs open Southwest Collegiate Athletic Conference play with home game against Southern University. Technically a home game the contest will be played at Ladd Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama on September 22.
Cincinnati: Will host Ohio University at Nippert Stadium at noon on September 22. It is the second Mid-American Conference opponent on their schedule.
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