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AAC: Bearcats look to build on hot start

Cincinnati UCLA Football

Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) tries to elude the UCLA defense during the Bearcats' 26-17 win Sept. 1, 2018, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)


The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A win at a Pac-12 opponent, a shutout and then a record-setting outing on offense.

Cincinnati is 3-0 and riding high in the American Athletic Conference football ranks, following a Week 1 upset at UCLA with a 21-0 win against Miami of Ohio and then Saturday it beat Alabama A&M 63-7 behind a school-record 741 yards of offense. Desmond Ridder passed for three touchdowns, and nine different players helped the victors rush for 409 yards on 55 carries.

The schedule continues to be favorable for Cincy, which hosts Ohio this weekend and then opens its American Athletic Conference slate with a four-game stretch against Connecticut, Tulane, Temple and SMU.

“Since I have been here we haven’t had this opportunity in a sense of being able to handle some of these positive things and praise,” Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell said Monday during the American coaches teleconference. “It’s a big deal, and I don’t say that we are going to have any chance of overlooking (Ohio). ... We know what the MAC is and their conference is like, but as a coach you do always worry about that as things start to get a little better, you have to worry about complacency.”

The Bearcats went 4-8 each of the last two seasons and this is their second year being led by Fickell, a former defensive coordinator at Ohio State.

“These are better things that we have to worry about, as opposed to last year where you are just trying to find ways to continue to motivate them because things are really tough,” Fickell said.

Strong on Florence

South Florida coach Charlie Strong opened his portion of the teleconference with some kind words to East Carolina and insight on what the Pirates and many others in N.C. are facing after Hurricane Florence.

“I was sitting here thinking that a year ago at this time we were in a similar position that ECU is in, because there was a hurricane coming and headed this way and then it took another turn in a different direction,” he said. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the families there in North Carolina. ... This will be a challenge as our first conference game at home and we need to go out this week and prepare the right way and be ready to play a very good ECU football team.”

All those points

Houston was involved in one of the most entertaining games of the college football weekend, falling 63-49 at Texas Tech.

The Cougars led 21-14 at the end of the first quarter, but the Red Raiders outlasted Houston behind freshman quarterback Alan Bowman’s record-setting day of 605 yards passing and five touchdowns with no interceptions. TT finished with a 704-635 edge in total yards.

“We knew what kind of game it was going to be, but probably the most telling thing was our guys were back (Sunday) and they were ready to practice and they were ticked off,” UH coach Major Applewhite said. “They were mad about it and I’m glad that we have a mad football team that is ready to get back this week and focused on Texas Southern and fixing the issues.”

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.


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