GAMEDAY College Football

Cincinnati 42, Murray State 7

(AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

By JEFF WALLNER
Associated Press

CINCINNATI - Jerome Ford rushed for 113 yards and three touchdowns, Desmond Ridder passed for 243 yards and two TDs, and No. 7 Cincinnati beat Murray State 42-7.

The Bearcats were heavy favorites coming in, but the Racers outgained them 190-83 in the first half and led 7-0 in the second quarter.

"The only way to grow up is to have some adversity," said Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell. "We kind of saw what we're made of. We found out a lot about each other in the second half."

The score was tied at halftime before the Bearcats (2-0) scored touchdowns on four of their first five possessions in the second half.

Fickell was concerned about his team's focus this week with an invitation to join the Big 12 and trips to Indiana and No. 8 Notre Dame looming.

"I don't want to put my head in the sand," Fickell said. "It is hard to deal with 18- and 22-year-olds and their ability to stay locked-in and focus when we're going to get everyone's best shot."

Murray State's game plan to control the clock and keep the Bearcats' high-powered offense on the sidelines worked well in the first half. Murray State (1-1) held the ball for all but 1:30 of a scoreless first quarter, outgaining the Bearcats 128-7.

"They came out and monotonously were moving the ball," Fickell said. "It frustrated us as much as anything. I give them an incredible amount of credit for their scheme."

Racers QB Preston Rice completed his first five passes but was intercepted in the end zone by Ja'Von Hicks on his sixth attempt. Rice scored on a sneak early in the second quarter to put the Racers ahead 7-0.

"We played really good in the first half," Racers head coach Dean Hood said. "We really should have been ahead six or at least three points. We left points out there. When you play a top-10 team, it's really going to get ugly, and that's what happened."

Rice threw two more interceptions in the opening half. The second, by Ahmad Gardner, led to a 2-yard TD catch by Josh Whyle on fourth-and-goal to tie the score.

Ridder's impassioned halftime speech got the Bearcats' attention.

"It fired all of us up," Ford said. "He said, `We get the ball right now. Let's go right down and score.'"

The Bearcats received the opening kickoff of the second half and drove 75 yards on 10 plays, capped by Ford's 13-yard TD run to give them a 14-7 lead.

Ford added an 8-yard scoring run later in the third quarter, and Ridder's 23-yard TD pass to Tyler Scott put the game away in the fourth. Scott had four catches for 74 yards.

It was the first meeting between the schools. Murray State which is picked to win the Ohio Valley Conference for the first time since 1996, has faced three top-10 opponents since 2012.


Scoring Summary
Second Quarter MurrayCin
Murray TD 13:41 Preston Rice 1 yd run (Aaron Baum kick) 7 0
Cin TD 9:41 Noah Davis 2 yd pass from Desmond Ridder (Cole Smith kick) 7 7
Third Quarter MurrayCin
Cin TD 10:05 Jerome Ford 13 yd run (Cole Smith kick) 7 14
Cin TD 4:58 Jerome Ford 8 yd run (Cole Smith kick) 7 21
Fourth Quarter MurrayCin
Cin TD 14:13 Tyler Scott 23 yd pass from Desmond Ridder (Cole Smith kick) 7 28
Cin TD 10:50 Jerome Ford 3 yd run (Cole Smith kick) 7 35
Cin TD 1:08 Payten Singletary 18 yd pass from Evan Prater (Cole Smith kick) 7 42
Team Stats
  Murray State Cincinnati
First downs 15 17
  Rushing 5 6
  Passing 9 11
  Penalty 1 0
3rd Down Efficiency 7-15, 47% 4-10, 40%
4th down efficiency 1-1, 100% 1-1, 100%
Rushes-Yards 37-93 32-130
Passing Yards 149 261
Return Yards 35 64
Completions-Attempts-Int 17-29-3 15-25-0
Sacks-Yards Lost 1--3 2--9
Punts 5 4
Punts-Average 37.4 45.3
Fumbles Lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties - Yards 11-60 5-40
Time of Possession 34:48 25:12
Murray State Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
P. Rice 17 29 149 0 3
Cincinnati Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
D. Ridder 14 22 243 2 0
E. Prater 1 3 18 1 0
Murray State Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
D. Witherspoon 16 52 3.3 0
P. Rice 7 21 3.0 1
R. Castille 8 14 1.8 0
L. Brooks 2 4 2.0 0
C. Jones 2 2 1.0 0
D. Williams 1 1 1.0 0
Cincinnati Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
J. Ford 18 113 6.3 3
E. Prater 3 14 4.7 0
R. Montgomery 4 7 1.8 0
E. Wright 2 3 1.5 0
C. McClelland 1 -3 -3.0 0
D. Ridder 4 -4 -1.0 0
Murray State Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
D. Britten 5 58 11.6 0
L. Brooks 4 38 9.5 0
J. Bell 4 19 4.8 0
M. Honeycutt 1 16 16.0 0
R. Castille 2 13 6.5 0
D. Witherspoon 1 5 5.0 0
Cincinnati Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
T. Scott 4 74 18.5 1
M. Young Jr. 3 67 22.3 0
T. Tucker 1 48 48.0 0
A. Pierce 2 35 17.5 0
P. Singletary 1 18 18.0 1
J. Thompson 1 12 12.0 0
L. Taylor 1 4 4.0 0
N. Davis 1 2 2.0 1
R. Montgomery 1 1 1.0 0
Murray State Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Cincinnati Interceptions
Player Int Yards
J. Hicks 1 11
A. Bush 1 2
A. Gardner 1 0
Murray State Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
L. Halton 5 187 37.4
Cincinnati Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
M. Fletcher 4 181 45.3
Murray State Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
L. Brooks 1 4 4.0
Cincinnati Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
R. Montgomery 2 4 2.0
Murray State Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
E. Thompson 2 31 15.5
Cincinnati Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
T. Tucker 1 25 25.0
T. Scott 1 22 22.0
Murray State Missed FG
Player Length
A. Baum 33
Cincinnati Missed FG
Player Length
C. Smith 37




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