In sixth de­feat in a row, Mids get shut out for first time since 2012


The Washington Post Sunday - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL - BY JOE KAY

cincin­nati — Af­ter Navy tram­pled the Bearcats with its op­tion of­fense last sea­son, Cincin­nati was de­ter­mined it wouldn’t hap­pen again.

The Bearcats changed their de­fense for the re­match, adding a linebacker to put eight play­ers up front, and they over­pow­ered Navy’s run­ning game while pulling away to a 42-0 vic­tory Satur­day.

A 42-32 loss at An­napo­lis last year stuck with them all off­sea­son. Coach Luke Fick­ell started pre­par­ing Cincin­nati (8-1, 4-1 Amer­i­can Ath­letic) to face the op­tion dur­ing spring and fall prac­tice.

“Last year’s game against them was an eye-opener,” Fick­ell said.

Fick­ell ran the scout team in fast, phys­i­cal prac­tices dur­ing the week.

“You had four lineback­ers just giv­ing ev­ery­thing they’ve got,” said tackle Cortez Broughton, who had a ca­reer-high 10 tack­les. “The drills we did in prac­tice — I thought some­body was go­ing to get hurt. We needed that to take it to the next level.”

The Bearcats lim­ited 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.

“Get­ting shut out was em­bar­rass­ing,” said quar­ter­back Zach Abey, who made his first start of the sea­son.

Cincin­nati’s Des­mond 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 touch­down pass on Cincin­nati’s open­ing drive, then was on the side­line the rest of the way.

Navy switched quar­ter­backs af­ter its 44-22 loss to No. 3 Notre Dame the pre­vi­ous week. 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.

“I started Zach just try­ing to get a spark,” Coach Ken Ni­u­mat­alolo said. “We needed to get some­thing go­ing.”

The Mid­ship­men will miss out on a bowl game for the first time since 2011, when they went 5-7.

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