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Bearcats maul Pirates on Friday Night

Cincinnati rolls past ECU to keep College Football Playoff hopes alive

East Carolina v Cincinnati Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Desmond Ridder had another big game, and Cincinnati’s defense got some revenge.

Ridder threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score to help No. 7 Cincinnati rout East Carolina 55-17 on Friday night. Jerome Ford added two scores on the ground on just 7 carries.

Cincinnati extended its school-record home winning streak to 19 games, the fourth-longest streak among FBS schools, and kept its hopes alive for a College Football Playoff berth.

The Bearcats vaunted defense was on full display Friday night as they wanted to ensure last year’s performance was a fluke. In Cincinnati’s three-point victory at East Carolina last year, the Pirates scored 43 points and piled up 638 yards. ECU had 293 total yards on Friday, more than 100 yards below its season average.

It will be interesting to see now how Cincinnati will respond for the remainder of the season as last night was their final home game of the season. The team is legit but will going undefeated be enough sneak themselves into the College Football Playoff?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 13 East Carolina at Cincinnati Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Freshman running back Keaton Mitchell broke out for a career night, racking up a personal-best 124 yards on 17 carries in addition to scoring his first collegiate touchdown. Classmate and fellow running back Rahjai Harris also chipped in with 84 yards and a touchdown of his own.

Junior quarterback Holton Ahlers connected on just nine of 20 pass attempts, finishing the game with 87 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. He looked out of sorts in part to the stout Cincinnati defense but he was also making bad decisions with the football. He needs to be a lot better otherwise Mason Garcia may start seeing more playing time.

Cincinnati ended up with the decisive edge in total offense, outgaining East Carolina 653-293. ECU failed to reach 100 yards passing for the first time since tallying just 73 at NC State on Dec. 1, 2018. The Pirates turned the ball over four times, leading to 21 Bearcat points.

East Carolina v Cincinnati Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

East Carolina entered Friday night’s game against No. 7 Cincinnati outmatched on paper. And, well, the results on the field played out pretty much just like it. The Bearcats cruised to a 25-point halftime lead, improving to 7-0 to keep their unbeaten season alive, while ECU dropped to 1-6 after its fourth consecutive setback.

Just like in recent weeks, the Pirates have been filled with drama late in games and this week was no different when the Bearcats faked a punt late in the fourth quarter when the game was in hand. Fickell said the fake was not called from the sideline and he apologized to Houston after the game.

Up next for the Pirates is a trip to Philadelphia next Saturday, Nov 21 to take on Temple.

As for the Bearcats, they will be traveling to Orlando next Saturday, Nov. 21 to take on UCF.