Ridder throws 4 TDs as Cincinnati routs East Carolina 56-6
CINCINNATI (AP) — Redshirt freshman Desmond Ridder threw a career-high four touchdown passes in the first half, and Cincinnati wrapped up the regular season with 10 victories for the first time since 2012, routing East Carolina 56-6 on Friday.
The Bearcats (10-2, 6-2 American Athletic) put an exclamation point on a resurgent season under second-year coach Luke Fickell, topping it with a display of big plays and dominating defense.
Ridder had touchdown passes of 10, 30 and 57 yards in the first quarter. Charles McClelland broke a career-long run of 55 yards for another score, and Kahlil Lewis caught a 28-yard touchdown pass for a 42-6 lead at halftime. Ridder got the rest of the game off after going 20 of 29 for 335 yards in the opening half.
Lewis finished with nine catches for 203 yards and a season-high three touchdowns.
The Bearcats were coming off a 38-13 loss to UCF that knocked them out of the Top 25 and ended their aspirations of an AAC title.
The Pirates (3-8, 1-7) couldn’t maintain any momentum from their 55-21 win over UConn that ended a five-game losing streak. Holton Ahlers was 8 of 22 for 184 yards with one touchdown, one interception and two fumbles. He left after twisting his right leg in the third quarter and limping off.
Last season, the Pirates rolled to a 48-20 win over the Bearcats in Greenville behind Trevon Brown, who set a school and league record with 270 yards receiving. In the rematch, the Pirates managed only 37 total yards while falling behind 35-0 against the league’s top-ranked defense.
The Bearcats were missing running back Michael Warren II, sidelined by an injured shoulder. Warren set a school record with 18 touchdowns this season, including 17 of them on the ground, tying the school record. He’s rushed for 1,163 yards.
East Carolina: The Pirates finished their fourth straight losing season. They’re 9-26 in three seasons under coach Scottie Montgomery.
The Bearcats await word of their first bowl appearance since 2015 after wrapping up a regular season that exceeded expectations. They won only four games each of the last two seasons.
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