The No. 5 Cincinnati Bearcats needed to display a show of force in Friday night’s matchup against the Temple Owls.
And that’s exactly what they did, coasting through all four quarters for the first time this season to a 52-3 final. The Bearcats defense were seemingly impenetrable the whole outing while quarterback Desmond Ridder found nine different receivers on the night.
The last time the Owls and Bearcats met, Cincinnati was ranked No. 19 and barely escaped the outing 25-13. That was not the case this time around.
“Temple has been a thorn in our side since I got here,” Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell said ahead of the Friday night matchup.
It didn’t take long for the ‘Nipp at Night’ effect to be heard. Myjai Sanders aggressively ended the Owls opening drive with a stuff in the backfield, causing an eruption among the 37,978 fans that packed the stadium.
Sanders forced punt granted Cincinnati field position to put up the first points of the night; a redeeming 30-yard field goal for Cole Smith.
The Bearcats found the endzone for the first time off the efforts of their special teams, who recovered a muffed Temple punt, which set up quarterback Desmond Ridder who found Alec Pierce in coverage to reel in a nine-yard touchdown.
Despite being No. 5 in Associated Press rankings, Cincinnati is trailing the all-time series with Temple, who led 13-8-1 coming into the night. The Bearcats defense, led by first-year defensive coordinator, Mike Tressel, held the Owls to just 35 total yards of offense in the first quarter.
Cincinnati running back Jerome Ford found the endzone for his seventh time on the season when he extended the Bearcats’ lead to 17-0 early in the second quarter.
After finding only 29 yards on a nine-play drive, the Owls found their first and only points of the night off a 55-yard field goal from freshman Rory Bell – a career-high.
Although 4-2 on the season, the Owls came into the night riding a two-game win streak, however, the Bearcats defense had other plans.
Temple’s all-freshman backfields had a troublesome first half, with only 81-total yards of offense, four sacks, and six plays for a loss. Cincinnati’s defense, the Blackcats, showed up throughout the game, holding the Owls to 226 total-yards of offense.
Although not lighting up the board in the first half, Ridder, Cincinnati’s Davey O’Brien National Quarterback of the Week, did enough going 14/20 for 121 yards. Ridder, like the rest of the Bearcats offense, missed a lot of opportunities in the first half but were continuously backed up by Tressel’s defense.
Considering Temple’s 81 yards of total offense in the first half, there should have been a larger point separation than the 14 that existed at halftime. Cincinnati’s veteran-led defense proved to be too much for Temple’s freshman quarterback, D’wan Mathis, who threw for 120 yards.
Cincinnati’s Smith, a senior, missed a 44-yard field goal late in the first half, re-exposing his struggles from Notre Dame.
Although without captain Vincent McConnel, again, Cincinnati’s offensive-line got it done up front and created a lane resulting in a 75-yard touchdown run by Ford, his eighth on the season. Ford’s second touchdown of the game gave Cincinnati a 24-3 lead.
Ridder and Cincinnati’s offense came out from halftime touchdown hungry, producing a 28-point third quarter, leaving the stunned Temple defense in the dust. Ridder went on to throw for 259 yards and three touchdowns with only eight incompletions.
With this win, the Bearcats extended their home winning streak to 23 games, maintaining their position as the second-longest active streak, behind only Clemson.
Coming into Friday night lights, the Bearcat’s outscored opponent 153-58, through only four games. Temple was merely a steppingstone in increasing that gap to 205–61.
The Bearcats could see a change in their rankings following the routing, with the AP Poll releasing Sunday at 2 pm EST.
The Bearcats stay in Cincinnati for another noon battle against University of Central Florida on Sat. Oct 16.