It wasn’t pretty at times, but the No. 2 Cincinnati Bearcats managed to walk out of New Orleans still undefeated after downing Tulane 31-12 on Saturday. Clinging onto a 14-12 lead at halftime, the Bearcats established just enough cushion in the second half to come out victorious.
The elephant in the room, of course, is that the first College Football Playoff rankings will be released on Tuesday and it’s already anticipated that the committee will find ways to put the screws to the AAC juggernaut. We’ve been hearing for weeks about how Cincy needs “style points” and dominant victories to really make their case. They were able to pull away late, but them letting a 1-7 ballclub starting a true freshman quarterback hang around will most likely be held against them.
The Bearcats first got on the board late in the first quarter when starting quarterback Desmond Ridder hit tight end Josh Whyle for a 16-yard touchdown to put them up 7-0. Misfortune would soon find the Heisman Trophy contending QB as on their next drive, he’d be sacked in his own end zone by Marvin Moody for a safety to put the Green Wave on the board. Tulane would take further advantage of this opportunity on their ensuing possession, when Tyjae Spears broke off a 47-yard touchdown run to put them on top 9-7.
UC answered back, with the tandem of Ridder and running back Jerome Ford powering them downfield for a TD to put them back on top. Then things got weird late in the second quarter. The Bearcats had an opportunity to put more points on the board after Evan Prater picked off freshman QB Kai Horton, but the No. 2 ranked team gave it right back when Ridder was picked off by Macon Clark. Then things started to get really weird.
On the next possession, Horton was stripped sacked but the ball ended up in the hands of lineman Rashad Green, who hustled for a first down.
We've got chaos down in New Orleans . pic.twitter.com/XqOpP1MpDD— American Football (@American_FB) October 30, 2021
The Greenies proceeded to boot a 41-yard field goal as time expired to pull to within two at the half.
Midway through the third quarter, Cinci managed to shed six minutes off the clock on a 66-yard drive that ended with yet another Ridder to Whyle touchdown to extend their lead. They’d add an additional 10 points in the fourth quarter to put it effectively out of reach.
Cincinnati closed as a 28.5-point favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook.