Cincinnati makes CFP assertion in late scoring drive to seal win towards Notre Dame


Cincinnati makes CFP assertion in late scoring drive to seal win towards Notre Dame

When Cincinnati had its again to the wall, it made the performs it wanted.

No. 9 Notre Dame took eight performs to maneuver 80 yards down the sector and rating a landing to tug inside 17-13 with 8:20 left within the recreation. Notre Dame, after that landing, had outscored the No. 7 Bearcats 13-0 within the second half. For Cincinnati, enjoying on the street in maybe the largest recreation in program historical past, it wanted to face robust within the face of mounting strain if it wished to make a School Soccer Playoff assertion.

And the Bearcats delivered. Quarterback Desmond Ridder and operating again Jerome Ford marched down the sector, selecting aside the Combating Irish protection on six performs to maneuver 75 yards and rating a landing to push the result in 24-13. The protection responded by forcing Notre Dame to show the ball over on downs on the Cincinnati 49-yard line. Cincinnati wound the clock down and completed off the win on Saturday, making its assertion that it deserves consideration for the School Soccer Playoff.

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Heading into the locker rooms at Notre Dame Stadium, it felt Cincinnati managed the sport. The Bearcats had been main 17-0 after scoring two touchdowns and kicking a discipline purpose on three of its last 4 drives of the half.

However a change of quarterback helped flip the change for the Combating Irish. Jack Coan struggled to 14-of-22 passing with solely 114 passing yards and a choose and Tyler Buchner went 0-for-2 with an interception. Drew Pyne gave some life to Notre Dame, ending his recreation throwing for 143 yards with a landing, even when the accuracy wasn’t there at 9-of-22 passing. That landing move, a 32-yard strike to Braden Lenzy, felt like a shift in momentum. In entrance of the house followers, Notre Dame was inside a rating for the primary time because the first half. Cincinnati hadn’t scored within the second half.

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Enter Ridder and the Bearcat offense. Ridder went for a five-yard move and Ford rushed for 16 to maneuver the ball as much as close to midfield. A penalty moved Cincinnati again 5, however Ridder introduced it again on a 6-yard move after which a 36-yard move to Leonard Taylor to place the Bearcats on the Combating Irish 17-yard line. 

Ford turned on the jets for an 11-yard rush to provide the Bearcats one other first down and set them up on the 6. Ridder completed the drive from there, scrambling out to the left and reducing contained in the pylon for a landing to make it a two-possession recreation. 

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It was the kind of end the Bearcats wanted to show they’re a playoff-caliber group. This was by far the largest take a look at Cincinnati confronted this season, and with out a win, its playoff hopes can be dashed. However now, it has the assertion win it has wanted prior to now.

The Bearcats felt they made a case within the 2020 season with a 9-0 document — one in every of solely three groups within the high 10 with an undefeated document. They completed the 12 months ranked ninth by the School Soccer Playoff. It was the second-highest School Soccer Playoff rating in its seven-year historical past, behind solely No. 8 by 12-0 UCF in 2018.

The Bearcats did not end the season with any ranked wins towards Energy 5 opponents, however did come near taking down No. 9 Georgia in a 24-21 Peach Bowl loss that went a good distance towards proving that Cincinnati might dangle with the standard soccer powers.

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Cincinnati wasn’t good by any means, and there have been causes to be involved for the Bearcats’ future. Kicker Cole Smith missed discipline purpose tries of 30 and 37 yards. The protection began to point out some holes down the sector when Pyne got here in at quarterback for the Combating Irish as he had 5 passes for greater than 15 yards. The offense went simply 2-for-11 on third down.

However the numbers nonetheless supported that this was a Cincinnati group that ought to have gained the sport. It outgained Notre Dame 386-341 in complete yards, which included 297 passing yards from Ridder. It was disciplined, taking solely 5 penalties for 25 yards in comparison with seven for 49 by Notre Dame.

The season is not over by any means. Cincinnati is now 4-0 and will face some challenges towards SMU and whoever it faces within the AAC championship recreation. That is the win it has been ready for, nonetheless. Maintain enterprise now, and it should be very laborious for the School Soccer Playoff to go away out the undefeated Bearcats with a high 10 win on their resume.




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