CINCINNATI (AP) — Desmond Ridder led three touchdown drives before hurting his right leg, and the Cincinnati Bearcats overpowered Navy’s option-based offense while pulling away to a 42-0 victory on Saturday.
The Bearcats (8-1, 4-1 American Athletic) controlled the game with the conference’s stingiest defense, limiting Navy to 57 first-half yards despite a quarterback change . The Midshipmen (2-7, 1-4) dropped their sixth straight and were blanked for the first time since 2012.
Ridder ran for a touchdown and handed off to Michael Warren II for two more before twisting his right leg while getting tackled late in the first half. He limped off, and Hayden Moore took over and threw an 11-yard touchdown pass for a 28-0 halftime lead.
Ridder returned for the start of the second half and threw a 55-yard TD pass on Cincinnati’s opening drive, then was on the sideline the rest of the way. He finished 13 of 17 for 178 yards, and he ran seven times for 66 yards.
Navy switched quarterbacks after its 44-22 loss to No. 3 Notre Dame last week, with Zach Abey getting his first start of the season. It didn’t make a difference as Navy’s blockers got pushed around by a defense that ranks 11th nationally against the run. Abey was sacked all three times he tried to throw in the first half , when Navy managed 57 yards rushing.
Navy’s last shutout loss was 12-0 to San Jose State on Sept. 29, 2012.
Navy: The Midshipmen won’t be going to a bowl for the first time since 2011, when they finished 5-7. Navy had gone to a bowl in 15 of the previous 15 seasons.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats remain in the chase for the league title. They have a favorable closing stretch, with three of their last four games at home. They were ranked for two weeks before A 24-17 overtime loss at Temple knocked them out of the Top 25 two weeks ago.
Navy: Plays at No. 9 UCF next Saturday. Unbeaten UCF is coming off a 52-40 win over Temple on Thursday.
Cincinnati: Hosts South Florida on Saturday.
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