CINCINNATI (AP) — Michael Warren rushed for 94 yards and two touchdowns to help Cincinnati beat Miami of Ohio 21-0 on Saturday night.
Cincinnati (2-0) won its 13th straight game in oldest rivalry west of the Allegheny Mountains using a stout defense that kept Miami of Ohio (0-2) off the scoreboard.
Steady rain held down the passing game for both teams and Miami found little running room with 59 yards.
“The weather dictated things,” Miami coach Chuck Martin said. “We talked about how critical it would be to get the lead. We knew that whoever got the lead would have the advantage. The opportunities were limited for both teams. They made more out of their opportunities. We didn’t make the best of ours. It played out like we thought.”
Cincinnati was able to score on a 2-yard, first-quarter plunge by Warren, who scored all three touchdowns in Cincinnati’s 26-17 win at the Rose Bowl against UCLA last week.
“I knew with the rain we were going to run it and they would load the box,” Warren said, who had just 31 yards rushing at halftime. “I started to get into a rhythm in the second half.”
Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder led all rushers with 117 yards and attempted just 11 passes, completing six. Ridder took over for senior incumbent Hayden Moore in the first quarter last week.
Ridder capped the scoring with his first career touchdown pass to Josiah Deguera for 9 yards.
“It was very exciting,” Ridder said. “Josy is one of my best friends. When it hit his hands I got so excited.”
Warren scored his fifth touchdown of the season with a 1-yard plunge in the fourth quarter.
Gus Ragland threw an interception on a tipped pass to set up Warren’s second score. Darrick Forrest picked off a pass intended for Jack Sorenson to set up the insurance score.
Ragland faced a relentless pass rush in the fourth quarter and completed 22 of 41 passes for 139 yards.
It was Cincinnati’s first shutout against Miami since a 14-0 win in 2013.
The battle for the “Victory Bell”, a traveling trophy that the winner gets to keep for the year stays with the Bearcats. The first game between the two universities, 40 miles apart started on December 8, 1888. Miami still holds the advantage in the series at 59-57-7.
Luke Fickell in his second year as Cincinnati’s coach is no stranger to big time rivalries as a player and coach at Ohio State which has its yearly tussle against Michigan.
“We talked about what this rivalry is all about,” Fickell said. “The 120-some (123) year history of the rivalry. It’s about respect, for the game, for your opponent and the way you prepare. We had adversity we had this week, getting back at six in the morning. They respected it and prepared all week.”
Cincinnati is playing with 17 redshirt freshmen and 35 true freshmen.
Despite a slick football, there was just one turnover in the contest and that was a tipped pass that was intercepted by Cincinnati.
Cincinnati: Last year the Bearcats defense allowed 429 yards per game, one of the worst defenses in the AAC. In the first two games the Bearcats have held UCLA and Miami to 180 yards per game.
Miami: Ragland, the senior quarterback, took over the job when the Redhawks were 0-6 in 2016 and led them to six straight wins and a bowl game against Mississippi. Since then the Redhawks are 5-10 including the loss in that bowl game.
Cincinnati: Will host Alabama A&M on Saturday. The Bearcats will be the last team in the American Conference to play a home game.
Miami: Will travel to Minnesota on Saturday, the first of two straight road games.