Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell says win over Notre Dame ‘a big step’ for team’s playoff profile

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Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell says win over Notre Dame ‘a big step’ for team’s playoff profile

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Cincinnati arrived to Notre Dame with a 3- mark and a No. 7 position, acquiring received 35 of its earlier 41 game titles, stretching again to the start out of the 2018 season. Many outside the house the system labeled the Bearcats as a Higher education Soccer Playoff contender.

But coach Luke Fickell thought his team even now experienced a move to just take. To truly be a leading-10 plan, Cincinnati desired to defeat 1. Notre Dame was 47-8 considering that the begin of the 2017 period with two CFP appearances and a 26-game residence earn streak.

Cincinnati remaining the field late Saturday afternoon with no question about its standing, soon after outlasting Notre Dame 24-13 ahead of a crowd that bundled a vocal group of Bearcats admirers, whom quarterback Desmond Ridder claimed produced it sound “like a property video game.”

The Bearcats turned the initially Team of 5 group to history a street earn versus an AP top-10 opponent from the Ability 5 in the CFP period.

“We’ve been really successful in the last handful of several years, but we have not defeat a major-10 plan or a leading-5 program,” Fickell mentioned. “For us to do that currently on the highway is a large stage for us. It’s going to provide some other things that we have bought to be capable to cope with, some possibly notoriety of some factors that our children will be in a position to handle. But anything which is been thrown at them so far, they have finished a definitely, truly great career of [handling], and I would be expecting absolutely nothing considerably less.”

Fickell was referring to amplified dialogue about Cincinnati’s playoff profile, which he stated “was for [the media] to go in advance and get the ball heading.” But Cincinnati hadn’t shied away from recognizing the relevance of consecutive road online games against preseason top-20 opponents in Indiana and Notre Dame.

With its 24-13 gain over Notre Dame, Cincinnati grew to become the 1st Group of 5 team to get on the road towards an AP major-10 opponent from the Ability 5 in the CFP era. Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Pictures

Following rallying to acquire down Indiana 38-24, Cincinnati in no way trailed towards Notre Dame and led by 10 points or a lot more for most of the game.

“We’re surely getting the respect now, primarily coming on the road listed here and obtaining a major-10 gain,” defensive close Malik Vann mentioned. “I never assume there is certainly too a lot people can say or criticize about us.”

Cincinnati will head to the Massive 12 in the coming decades but remains portion of the Team of 5, which has hardly ever developed a playoff group. The Bearcats went undefeated throughout the 2020 standard time but skipped the playoff and faced Ga in the Peach Bowl, a video game they led most of the next 50 percent ahead of slipping in the closing seconds.

“We’re heading to go out and enjoy our activity every single Saturday or Friday and put our very best foot forward and our most effective activity on film,” Ridder reported. “At the end of the year, if we do that and we go undefeated and we perform 12 or 11 best video games, whichever it is, as good as we can, and they nevertheless do not place us in there, which is not our get in touch with. We really don’t have the call to make the playoff.

“We are just going to go and perform our sport the most effective we can, and hopefully by the stop of the yr they see that [and] they give us a prospect.”

Vann and the Cincinnati defense pressured a few initial-half turnovers to assist spark a slow-starting off offense, which failed to have a drive lengthier than 18 yards right up until late in the 2nd quarter. Dealing with former defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman, who holds the same part at Notre Dame, Cincinnati had 8 move breakups, 7 tackles for decline, two sacks and 4 quarterback hurries.

“[We] confirmed we’re nonetheless the exact same defense, regardless of whether [Freeman is] calling the shots or not,” Vann stated. “We just wished to arrive out right here and present on a nationwide scale that our defense can participate in with anyone [and] our group can participate in with anyone in the place and that’s what we did nowadays.”

Ridder accomplished only 5 of his to start with 12 go tries to start the match but steadily enhanced, finishing with 297 move yards and two touchdowns with just one interception. He led an 80-yard scoring travel prior to halftime and effective drives during the 3rd quarter and into the fourth, but two skipped discipline targets and a Ridder fumble retained Notre Dame in the recreation.

Cincinnati led only 17-13 midway by the fourth quarter just before Ridder responded with a 6-enjoy, 75-garden push that he capped with a 6-lawn landing run.

“It truly is called the Desmond Ridder element,” Fickell reported. “It just is what it is, and never ever ceases to amaze me. Naturally, we shed the momentum, and the [missed] area objectives did not assistance. Which is a part of enjoying on the road, and we experienced to find a way to get again.”

Ridder found top rated wide receiver Alec Pierce 6 periods for 144 yards, and tight stop Leonard Taylor had 70 obtaining yards and a landing. The senior quarterback thrived with the deep ball, completing 6 of 9 tries on passes of 15 yards or extended for 201 yards and a touchdown.

“You can find practically nothing he can not do,” Fickell claimed of Ridder.

Ridder mentioned the tension Cincinnati faced with the Indiana and Notre Dame trips and reported the wins were “a bodyweight lifted off everyone’s shoulders.”

“It is really a huge acquire for us, it is really a big acquire for our method, our city and our local community of Cincinnati,” Ridder stated.