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Ridder runs, passes No. 19 Cincinnati past No. 16 SMU, 42-13

DALLAS (AP) — Desmond Ridder ran for 179 yards and three touchdowns and threw for 126 yards and a score to help No. 9 Cincinnati beat No. 16 SMU 42-13 on Saturday night in a showdown of unbeaten teams.

Cincinnati (4-0, 2-0 American Athletic Conference) played its first game since Oct. 3. The Bearcats had an open date the following weekend and then had their scheduled Oct. 17 home game against Tulsa moved to Dec. 5 because of positive COVID-19 cases at Cincinnati and the quarantining of athletes at the school.

“More than anything, a big win on the road against a really good football team,” Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell said. “I’m most proud of how we’ve handled the last 2½ weeks as well as a lot of adverse things that happened on the field tonight.”

The adversity included two lost fumbles and 12 penalties for 126 yards.

Ridder completed 13 of 21 passes. He had scoring runs of 15, 32 and 91 yards, and threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Josh Whyle to open the scoring.

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Gerrid Doaks ran for 105 yards on 20 carries, with touchdown runs of 1 and 35 yards.

Shane Buechele threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Rashee Rice, and Chris Naggar kicked field goals of 26 and 22 yards for SMU (5-1, 2-1). The Mustangs fell short of opening with six straight wins for the second straight season.

SMU went into the game ranked fourth in total offense among FBS teams but was held in check by a Cincinnati defense that entered ranked 12th in total defense. Buechele was averaging 342 yards passing per game, fifth in the FBS, but was held to 216 and threw his first interception since the season opener.

“We just didn’t do routine things that we typically do to give us a chance to at least be in the game,” SMU coach Sonny Dykes said. “What they’re going to do is load the box and take the run away.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Cincinnati: The Bearcats joined Houston and Tulsa with 2-0 records atop the conference. With Saturday’s loss by No. 8 Penn State, the Bearcats are in position to move up at least one spot in The Associated Press poll to match their highest ranking of the season.

SMU: Top receiver Reggie Roberson Jr. and No. 1 running back TJ McDaniel were lost for the season to injury in the Oct. 3 win against Memphis. The Mustangs were able to make up for their absences last week in a 37-34 overtime win at Tulane, but not against the Bearcats.

UP NEXT

Cincinnati: Hosts Memphis next Saturday.

SMU: Hosts Navy next Saturday.

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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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