Cincinnati wins 14th straight over oldest rival
CINCINNATI (AP) — Ohioans Michael Warren II, from Toledo, and coach Luke Fickell, from Columbus, were not aware of this rivalry until they first arrived on the Cincinnati campus but have become part of the Bearcats’ dominant run versus Miami of Ohio.
Warren — like Fickell, in his third season at Cincinnati — scored three touchdowns and the Bearcats overcame a sluggish start for a 35-13 win over their oldest rival on Saturday. It is the Bearcats’ 14th straight win over the RedHawks, whose campus is roughly 30 miles from Nippert Stadium.
The toughest thing Warren did all day was fight to get into the picture with the Victory Bell, a traditional, traveling trophy that the winner keeps until the next game.
“I don’t know where it is all the time but I do know it will be in Cincinnati for another year,” said Fickell.
The Bearcats are now within one victory of drawing even in the series with Miami (1-2) that started in 1888. The RedHawks lead 59-58-7.
“It is an honor to be in this rivalry. It was the first time I could get in the picture.” Warren said. “My message to the team at halftime was it is zero-zero. We aren’t done.”
After inspiring his teammates at halftime, Warren made sure he had his picture taken with the bell, which will be updated by Fickell’s assistant Sherry Murray. Murray will paint the score of the game and the year before placing it back in Fickell’s closet.
“It is fun. This is the best part. It’s tradition,” Warren said. ’I didn’t know much about it until I got to college.”
Cincinnati (2-1) suffered a 42-0 loss to Ohio State last week and was scoreless against the RedHawks after the first quarter, falling behind 10-0.
“Wins are not easy to come by,” Fickell said. “The final score doesn’t look like it, like it was for sure in the first half. You have to enjoy this especially in a rivalry week. Coming off of what happened to us last week, we were a little shook sometimes and it showed in the first half.”
Desmond Ridder threw two touchdown passes in the third quarter, including a 51-yard strike to Thomas Geddis, and Warren sprinted 73 yards for the final score. He had two short touchdown runs in the second quarter. The Bearcats scored on four of five possessions between the 10-second mark in the second quarter through the third quarter.
Ridder was 14 of 30 for 186 yards passing. He threw one interception, the only turnover of the game.
Warren caught five passes for 45 yards and rushed 12 times for 113 yards.
Cincinnati outgained Miami 420-207 in scoring the most points in the series since a 37-33 win in 2015.
Miami’s Brett Gabbard completed his first six passes but was sacked four times. He missed on his first six attempts of the second half when Miami only managed a field goal. Gabbard finished 10 of 18 for 143 yards.
“We came out a little slow after halftime, and they took advantage,” Gabbert said. “We’ll have to learn from the film and get ready for Ohio State. We lost the Bell. ... That’s unacceptable.”
“I thought we played well in the first half - very solid and physical,” Miami coach Chuck Martin said. “Our running game was effective. In the third quarter, we played lousy football and got what we deserved.”
Injuries became a problem for the Redhawks
Miami senior offensive right tackle Mike Skibinski had to carted off the field in the third quarter. Left guard Pete Nank and left tackle Tommy Doyle were also knocked out of the game.
“We lost three offensive linemen,” Martin said. “That hurt us in the second half.”
Cincinnati linebacker Bryan Wright sensed Miami’s plight in the second half.
“I feel like summer workouts came into play. I felt that the mid-third quarter they were wearing down and we took it to them,” said Wright, who has been at Cincinnati for five years and played in four wins over Miami.
A pair of brothers were on opposite sidelines: Cincinnati linebacker Kyle Bolden and younger brother, Luke, who started at linebacker for the RedHawks. Their father, Tom, is a celebrated high school coach at Cincinnati’s Colerain High. Their cousin Joe Bolden was a standout linebacker at Michigan and his brother Dan is a linebacker at Toledo.
CRADLE OF COACHES
Miami has had several famous coaches in its history. Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler and Ara Parseghian coached in Oxford. John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens and Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams are former RedHawks.
Two of Cincinnati’s starting offensive lineman come from overseas. Lorentz Metz is from Germany where he had just two years of club football experience. Chris Ferguson is from Nassau, Bahamas. He is a sixth-year redshirt who played one year of high school football.
Cincinnati is celebrating the oldest rivalry west of the Allegheny Mountains by wearing vintage uniforms from the late 1950s and early 60s. This is the oldest nonconference rivalry in the FBS.
The teams met on Dec. 8, 1988 in Oxford, the first college football game in the state of Ohio. They have played each other every year since 1945.
Miami: At Ohio State next Saturday.
Cincinnati: At Marshall on Sept. 28.
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