The University of Cincinnati has improved to 5-0 (3-0 AAC) against the University of Memphis (3-2, 2-2 AAC) in a special 2020 Halloween gameday at Nippert Stadium.
Although the attendance of the game was still restricted due to COVID-19 protocols, the number of fans was higher than normal this season as fellow student athletes, the full allotment of the UC band and two family members for each spirit squad member were permitted into the stadium.
Memphis, who was responsible for two of Cincinnati’s three losses in 2019, was unable to get their usually highly effective offense going for much of the game. A 92-yard wide receiver screen to Tahj Washington in the first quarter proved to be their only touchdown of the game.
The Cincinnati defense limited the Tigers to 321 yards on the game, only 5 of which came from their ground game. The total is a whole 227 yards short of their game average this season.
The “Blackcats” prevented Memphis from converting all three of their attempted 4th down conversions, and moreover allowed the Tigers to convert only 4 out of their 15 total third downs.
Defensive end Myjai Sanders led the way in pressuring Memphis quarterback Brady White, contributing 1.5 sacks to the Bearcats total of 6, their best single game mark on the season.
“There’s a balance there,” said head coach Luke Fickell postgame. “On third down we did a pretty darn good job at creating some havoc. Mixing in three d-linemen, four d-lineman and a lot of different things that we do.”
On the offensive side of the ball for Cincinnati, quarterback Desmond Ridder continued to prove he’s the man for the job, building on his impressive performance from last week against Southern Methodist University.
“The game has slowed down,” Ridder said. “I’m just going out there an being me. Playing football, enjoying the game and just really having fun with it. From the offensive line, to the wide recievers and to the DB’s. All people on the field, we’re just out there having fun.”
Ridder was relied upon to throw the ball much more than usual in this week’s affair. To close out the first half, he completed 14 out of his last 16 pass attempts.
Ridder’s decision making with the ball in his hands has appeared to improve greatly over the past two weeks after making many questionable decisions through the first three games of the season.
Another criticism of Ridder’s has been his consistency in hitting receivers down field. Against Memphis, he completed two 40+ yard receptions; one to Alec Pierce for the opening touchdown of the game and one to Jayshon Jackson in order to set himself up for a 9-yard rushing touchdown in the redzone.
Ridder finished his day 21-26 with 271 passing yards and 2 touchdowns and one interception through the air, as well as 41 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground.
UC takes on the University of Houston next week on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 3:30 p.m. at Nippert Stadium. The game will be aired either ESPN or ESPN 2.