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2018 Cincinnati Bearcats football team

The 2018 Cincinnati Bearcats football team represented the University of Cincinnati in the 2018 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Bearcats play their home games at Nippert Stadium, and are members of the East Division in the American Athletic Conference. They are led by second-year head coach Luke Fickell.

2018 Cincinnati Bearcats football
Cincinnati University Bearcats textlogo.svg
Military Bowl champion
ConferenceAmerican Athletic Conference
DivisionEast Division
Ranking
CoachesNo. 23
APNo. 24
2018 record11–2 (6–2 The American)
Head coachLuke Fickell (2nd season)
Offensive coordinatorMike Denbrock (2nd season)
Defensive coordinatorMarcus Freeman (2nd season)
Home stadiumNippert Stadium
(Capacity: 40,000)
Seasons
← 2017
2019 →
2018 American Athletic Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
East Division
No. 11 UCF x$   8 0         12 1  
Temple   7 1         8 5  
No. 24 Cincinnati   6 2         11 2  
South Florida   3 5         7 6  
East Carolina   1 7         3 9  
UConn   0 8         1 11  
West Division
Memphis xy   5 3         8 6  
Houston x   5 3         8 5  
Tulane x   5 3         7 6  
SMU   4 4         5 7  
Navy   2 6         3 10  
Tulsa   2 6         3 9  
Championship: UCF 56, Memphis 41
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
As of November 12, 2019; Rankings from AP Poll.

Previous seasonEdit

In 2017, the Bearcats were led by first-year head coach Luke Fickell, who was hired to replace Tommy Tuberville. The Bearcats finished with a 4–8 (2–6 AAC) record, missing a bowl game for the second-straight season.

RecruitsEdit

The Bearcats signed a total of 23 recruits.

Incoming transfersEdit

Cincinnati added five transfers to the 2018 roster.

Name Pos. Height Weight Year Hometown Prev. School
Dino Boyd OT 6'4" 300 Senior Newark, NJ Rhode Island
Darius Harper OT 6'7" 325 Sophomore Springfield, OH Miami (OH)
Aulden Knight WR 5'9" 162 Sophomore Akron, OH Hampton
Tinashe Bere LB 6'1" 235 Senior Cincinnati, OH Duke
Cam Jefferies CB 5'10" 188 Junior Painesville, OH Bowling Green

PreseasonEdit

Award watch listsEdit

Listed in the order that they were released

Award Player Position Year
Nagurski Trophy[1] Marquise Copeland DT SR
Outland Trophy[2]
Wuerffel Trophy[3] Garrett Campbell OL SR
Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award[4] Hayden Moore QB SR

AAC media pollEdit

The AAC media poll was released on July 24, 2018, with the Bearcats predicted to finish fourth in the AAC East Division.[5]

Media poll (East)
Predicted finish Team Votes (1st place)
1 UCF 175 (25)
2 USF 140 (5)
3 Temple 132
4 Cincinnati 91
5 UConn 51
6 East Carolina 41

ScheduleEdit

The Bearcats' 2018 schedule will consist of six home games and six away games. Cincinnati will host two of its four non-conference games; against Alabama A&M from the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and Ohio from the Mid-American Conference. They will take on long time rival Miami (OH) for their annual Victory Bell game at Paul Brown Stadium.[6] They will travel to UCLA for the first ever meeting between the Bearcats and Bruins.

The Bearcats will play eight conference games; hosting East Carolina, Navy, South Florida and Tulane. They will travel to UCF, UConn, SMU, and Temple.

DateTimeOpponentRankSiteTVResultAttendance
September 17:00 p.m.at UCLA*ESPNW 26–1754,116
September 88:00 p.m.vs. Miami (OH)*ESPN3/FOX 19W 21–016,062
September 157:00 p.m.Alabama A&M*
ESPN3W 63–728,834
September 2212:00 p.m.Ohio*
  • Nippert Stadium
  • Cincinnati, OH
ESPNUW 34–3035,220
September 293:30 p.m.at UConnCBSSNW 49–720,322
October 612:00 p.m.Tulane 
  • Nippert Stadium
  • Cincinnati, OH
ESPNUW 37–2132,200
October 2012:00 p.m.at TempleNo. 20ESPNUL 17–24 OT33,026
October 273:30 p.m.at SMUCBSSNW 26–20 OT16,121
November 33:30 p.m.Navy
  • Nippert Stadium
  • Cincinnati, OH
ESPNUW 42–036,318
November 107:00 p.m.South FloridaNo. 25
  • Nippert Stadium
  • Cincinnati, OH
ESPNUW 35–2329,310
November 178:00 p.m.at No. 11 UCFNo. 19ABCL 13–3847,795
November 233:30 p.m.East Carolina
  • Nippert Stadium
  • Cincinnati, OH
CBSSNW 56–621,230
December 3112:00 p.m.vs. Virginia Tech*ESPNW 35–3132,832
  • *Non-conference game
  •  Homecoming
  • Rankings from AP Poll released prior to the game
  • All times are in Eastern time

Game summariesEdit

at UCLAEdit

1 2 3 4 Total
Bearcats 0 17 0 9 26
Bruins 10 0 7 0 17
Overall record Last meeting Result
First meeting

Expected to be an easy warmup opponent in Chip Kelly's UCLA debut, the Bearcats were rude guests stunning the double digit favorite Bruins in the Rose Bowl. Michael Warren II rushed for 141 yards and 3 touchdowns, as the Bearcats rallied from an early 10-0 deficit to win. The Bearcats clinching touchdown came after the Bruins were called for a penalty during a Bearcats FG attempt leading 19-17. Bearcats head coach Luke Fickel boldly gambled that the Bearcats could convert a 4th and 1 deep in Bruins territory, accepted the penalty took the field goal off the board and went for it. The Bearcats converted the 4th down and Warren scored a few plays later to ice the game.

vs. Miami (OH)Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Bearcats 7 0 0 14 21
RedHawks 0 0 0 0 0
Overall record Last meeting Result
56–59–7 2017 CIN, 21–17

Played in a steady downpour the Bearcats ground out a 21-0 win over the Redhawks to retain possession of the Victory Bell for the 13th straight season. The Bearcats first shutout since blanking these same Redhawks in 2013. Utilizing a ground attack the Bearcats were led by true freshman Desmond Ridder who had 117 yards rushing, Michael Warren II had 94 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns. Though the game was played in soggy conditions, there was only one turnover committed by both teams combined. The game was played at Paul Brown Stadium in front of only 16,089

Alabama A&MEdit

1 2 3 4 Total
Bulldogs 0 0 7 0 7
Bearcats 28 14 14 7 63
Overall record Last meeting Result
1–0 2015 CIN, 52–10

In their home opener, The Bearcats scored on their first six possessions, led by Desmond Ridder's 9 for 10 passing and 3 touchdowns in the first quarter (the only quarter he played) as the Bearcats throttled the 1-AA Bulldogs. The Bearcats scored 49 points before the visitors from Huntsville could get a score.

OhioEdit

1 2 3 4 Total
Bobcats 14 10 3 3 30
Bearcats 0 7 14 13 34
Overall record Last meeting Result
24–23–4 1981 CIN, 19–9

The Bearcats rallied from a 7-24 deficit to defeat the Bobcats, James Wiggins goalline interception in the 4th quarter snuffed out a late Bobcat drive and sealed the win.

at UConnEdit

1 2 3 4 Total
Bearcats 7 14 21 7 49
Huskies 7 0 0 0 7
Overall record Last meeting Result
11–3 2017 CIN, 22–21

The Bearcats spotted the Huskies an opening touchdown then ripped off 49 unanswered points to win their conference opener. Desmond Ridder threw for 270 yards, two touchdowns and ran for another score as the Bearcats rolled up 659 yards on offense.

TulaneEdit

1 2 3 4 Total
Green Wave 7 7 0 7 21
Bearcats 3 21 6 7 37
Overall record Last meeting Result
5–11 2017 CIN, 17–16

Michael Warren rushed for 123 yards including a career long 81 yarder that gave the Bearcats the lead for good, and it was a happy Homecoming as the Bearcats improved to 2-0 in conference. The Bearcats broke the game open by scoring 27 straight points between the 2nd and 4th quarters With the win, the Bearcats not only stayed unbeaten, they also became Bowl-eligible for the first time since 2015.

at TempleEdit

1 2 3 4OT Total
No. 20 Bearcats 7 3 7 00 17
Owls 10 0 0 77 24
Overall record Last meeting Result
7–12 2017 TEMP, 35–24

Ranked in the regular season for the first time since 2013, the Bearcats were now in the role of the hunted and it did not suit them well, as numerous late gaffes by the Bearcats allowed the Owls to rally from a 17-10 4th quarter deficit to win 24-17 in overtime. The Owls scored first in the extra session and Bearcats QB Desmond Ridder was picked off in the Bearcats possession to end the game. The loss was the Bearcats third straight to Temple.

at SMUEdit

1 2 3 4OT Total
Bearcats 7 0 10 36 26
Mustangs 7 0 7 60 20
Overall record Last meeting Result
2–1 2017 SMU, 31–28

The Bearcats bounced back from their first loss to win a taut game in Dallas. Again the Bearcats raced out to a lead and again let the opponent rally back. The Bearcats were staked to a 17-7 lead in the 3rd quarter from a pair of 32 yard Ridder to Khalil Lewis touchdown passes and a Cole Smith Field goal. The Mustangs rallied with 13 unanswered points in the 3rd and 4th quarters to take a 20-17 lead, Smith's 2nd field goal with no time left in regulation forced OT. SMU had first possession in overtime when SMU quarterback Ben Hicks was intercepted by James Wiggins who returned the stolen pass 86 yards for a score to give the Bearcats a walk-off win. Desmond Ridder threw for 352 yards and 2 touchdowns. The win avenged the homecoming loss to SMU from last season, ruining the Mustangs homecoming in kind. The win moved the Bearcats to 7-1, their best start since the 2011 team also started 7-1.

NavyEdit

1 2 3 4 Total
Midshipmen 0 0 0 0 0
Bearcats 7 21 7 7 42
Overall record Last meeting Result
0–3 2017 NAVY, 42–32

The Bearcats previous meeting with the US Naval Academy was a 42-32 loss as the Bearcats could not slow down much less stop the Midshipmen's triple option. This meeting, Navy's first ever in Cincinnati, the Bearcats were determined not to let the scenario repeat. Holding the Middies to 57 first half yards (all rushing) the Bearcats got a pair of touchdowns from Michael Warren II to go with a pair of touchdowns from Desmond Ridder (1 rush, 1 pass) as the Bearcats thrashed Navy 42-0, the Bearcats first shutout since blanking Miami 14-0 in 2013. The win moved the Bearcats to 8-1 their best start since 2009.

South FloridaEdit

1 2 3 4 Total
Bulls 9 7 7 0 23
No. 25 Bearcats 7 7 21 0 35
Overall record Last meeting Result
8–7 2017 USF, 33–3

The Bearcats returned to nationally ranked status at 25 and this time did not squander its rankings. Michael Warren II scored 4 TD's as the Bearcats broke open a tight game in the 3rd quarter and pulled away to a 35-23 win over South Florida. The Bearcats were trailing 16-14 in the 3rd when Warren broke loose for a 57 yard touchdown run, his 2nd of the day after catching a touchdown pass from Desmond Ridder. Warren would add two more scores in the 3rd quarter and finish with 151 rushing yards. The win moved Cincinnati to 9-1 and set up a showdown with defending conference champ UCF. It was announced shortly after the game that the matchup with UCF the upcoming Saturday would not only be nationally televised as the College football Saturday Night game of the Week on ABC, but also be the focus of the ESPN College Gameday

at UCFEdit

1 2 3 4 Total
No. 19 Bearcats 6 0 0 7 13
No. 11 Knights 7 14 7 10 38
Overall record Last meeting Result
1–2 2017 UCF, 51–23

With its highest regular season ranking (19) in seven years, the Bearcats traveled to Orlando to face unbeaten and 11th ranked UCF. In front a rowdy Spectrum Stadium crowd and a nationally televised audience, the Bearcats started strong. A Kimoni Fitz strip/sack/fumble in the end zone gave the Bearcats a 6-0 lead and quieted the UCF crowd, but Cole Smith missed the extra point and the Knights promptly raced back down the field to take the lead on McKenzie Milton's short run. The Knights were never headed again, scoring 35 straight points and rolling to a 38-13 win. The Bearcat offense never got on track and the Knights clinched the AAC Eastern Division title.

East CarolinaEdit

1 2 3 4 Total
Pirates 0 6 0 0 6
Bearcats 21 21 7 7 56
Overall record Last meeting Result
8–13 2017 ECU, 48–20

Desmond Ridder threw for 335 yards and four TD's in the first half as the Bearcats steamrolled the Pirates on senior day 56-6. Khalil Lewis finished with a career high 202 yards on 9 catches and 3 touchdowns. With top running back Michael Warren sidelined with a shoulder injury, Charles McClelland filled in capably with 114 yards rushing which included a 55 yard touchdown run in the 2nd quarter. The Bearcats scored the games first 35 points and were never threatened. The defense got in on the scoring as well with Arquon Bush intercepting a 4th quarter pass and taking the stolen loaf 36 yards back for the games final score. The 56 points marked the 4th time this season the Bearcats topped 40+ points in a game. The Bearcats honored 14 seniors, who were sent out with a home finale win before a Thanksgiving Friday afternoon crowd. With this win, the Bearcats completed its first unbeaten home schedule since 2009, and its first double digit win season since 2012. The 10 wins before the bowl game was the most since the 2009 team completed an unbeaten 12-0 season. The Bearcats accepted a bid from the Military Bowl against Virginia Tech

vs. Virginia Tech (Military Bowl)Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Bearcats 7 7 7 14 35
Hokies 7 7 10 7 31
Overall record Last meeting Result
5–6 2014 VT, 33–17

The Bearcats won their first bowl game since the 2012 Belk Bowl and avenged a previous Military Bowl loss to the Hokies with a thrilling win. Michael Warren's 8 yard run in the 4th proved to be the winning score. The game was not sealed until James Wiggins acrobatic interception at his own 30 late in the 4th. The Bearcats ended their best season since 2011 and finished in the season ending national rankings 23rd in the Coaches poll and 24th in the AP Poll

PersonnelEdit

Roster and staffEdit

2018 Cincinnati Bearcats football team roster
Players Coaches
Offense
Pos. # Name Class
WR 1 Kahlil Lewis Sr
RB 3 Michael Warren II So
RB 5 Tavion Thomas Fr
QB 6 Ben Bryant Fr
WR 7 Javan Hawes So
QB 8 Hayden Moore   Sr
QB 9 Desmond Ridder   Fr
RB 10 Charles McClelland Fr
QB 10 Jake Sopko   So
TE 11 Leonard Taylor Fr
WR 12 Alec Pierce Fr
WR 13 Trent Cloud   Fr
WR 14 Yanez Rogers Fr
RB 15 Taylor Boose   Jr
QB 16 John Keller Fr
WR 17 Rashad Medaris   Jr
WR 18 Meechi Harris Fr
WR 19 Tyrin Summers   So
WR 20 Aulden Knight So
WR 21 Jayshon Jackson Fr
RB 23 Gerrid Doaks   So
WR 25 Casey Kirk   Fr
WR 26 Jerron Rollins Jr
RB 29 Alex Dowds Fr
RB 30 Michael Kopaygorodsky   Fr
RB 41 Colin Thurman Fr
TE 44 Mick Oakes Fr
OL 50 Dylan O'Quinn Fr
OL 51 Lorenz Metz Fr
OL 53 Tyler McGarr   Jr
OL 54 Keith Minor   Sr
OL 55 Alex Heil   Jr
OL 56 Kyle Trout   Sr
OL 58 Darius Harper So
OL 59 Colin Truett Fr
OL 60 Zach Bycznski   So
OL 62 Mason Garrison   Jr
OL 65 Cody Lamb   Fr
OL 66 Ethan Voelker Fr
OL 68 Doug Bates   So
OL 70 Jakari Robinson   Fr
OL 71 Colin Woodside Fr
OL 72 Garrett Campbell   Sr
OL 73 Blake Yager Jr
OL 74 Jeremy Cooper Fr
OL 75 Chris Ferguson   Sr
OL 76 Dino Boyd Sr
OL 77 Vincent McConnell   Fr
OL 78 Morgan James   Jr
OL 79 Drew Hartmann   Fr
WR 80 Malick Mbodj   So
TE 81 Josh Whyle Fr
TE 82 Wilson Huber   Fr
TE 83 Josiah Deguara   Jr
WR 84 Wyatt Fischer Fr
WR 85 Thomas Geddis Jr
WR 86 Jack Peterson   Fr
TE 87 Bruno Labelle   So
WR 88 Braxton Neal Jr
WR 89 Jake Peterson Fr
Defense
Pos. # Name Class
CB 2 Tyrell Gilbert   Sr
S 3 Ja'von Hicks Fr
LB 4 Malik Clements Sr
LB 6 Perry Young Jr
CB 7 Coby Bryant So
LB 8 Jarell White So
CB 9 Arquon Bush Fr
CB 10 Christian Angulo   Jr
LB 11 Bryan Wright   Jr
CB 12 TJ Johnson   So
LB 13 Ty Van Fossen Fr
CB 14 Cameron Jeffries Jr
CB 15 Taj Ward Fr
S 16 Darrick Forrest So
CB 18 Josiah Robey   Fr
DE 19 Ethan Tucky   So
DE 21 Myjai Sanders Fr
S 22 Collin Widecan   So
LB 23 RJ Potts   Fr
CB 24 Noah Hamlin   Fr
S 27 Will Adams Fr
S 30 Chris Murphy   Sr
CB 31 Marquis Smith   So
S 32 James Wiggins   So
DE 33 Blake Bacevich Fr
LB 34 Kyle Bolden   Fr
LB 35 Ryan Royer   Fr
CB 38 Jake Tewart Fr
LB 40 Ty Sponseller   So
LB 41 Joel Dublanko   So
DE 42 Malik Vann Fr
DE 43 Michael Pitts   So
DT 44 Marquise Copeland Sr
LB 47 Nate Lawler Fr
LB 48 Kevin Mouhon   Sr
DE 51 Kimoni Fitz Sr
DL 52 Daeshon Martin Fr
DE 86 Angelo Howze   Fr
DT 89 Nick Staderman   So
DT 90 Jabari Taylor Fr
DT 92 Curtis Brooks   So
DT 93 Elijah Ponder   So
DT 94 Chase Brown Fr
DT 95 Joe Schroer   Jr
DT 96 Cortez Broughton Sr
DE 97 Zane Wilson Fr
DE 98 Mychal Keys Fr
DT 99 Marcus Brown   So
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
K 19 Cole Smith Fr
P 37 James Smith So
LS 57 Cory Armstrong   So
LS 59 Zach Wood   Jr
LS 74 Blake Bammann Fr
K 97 Ryan Jones Jr


Head coach
Coordinators/assistant coaches
  • Mike Denbrock (Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends)- 2nd year
  • Marcus Freeman (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)- 2nd year
  • Brian Mason (Special Teams Coordinator)- 1st year
  • Ron Crook (Offensive Line)- 2nd year
  • Gino Guidugli (Quarterbacks)- 2nd year
  • Mike Mickens (Cornerbacks)- 1st year
  • Doug Phillips (Running Backs)- 2nd year
  • Joker Phillips (Wide Receivers)- 2nd year
  • Jon Tenuta (Safeties)- 2nd year
  • Steve Stripling (Defensive Line)- 4th year
  • Brady Collins (Director of Football Sports Performance)- 2nd year

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  •   Injured
  •   Redshirt

Roster

Depth chartEdit

RankingsEdit

Ranking movements
Legend: ██ Increase in ranking. ██ Decrease in ranking.
NR = Not ranked. RV = Received votes. ( ) = First place votes.
Week
Poll Pre 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Final 
AP NR NR NR NR RV RV 25 20 RV RV 25 19 RV RV RV 24 
Coaches NR NR RV RV RV RV 25 21 RV RV 23 20 RV RV RV 23 
CFP Not released NR NR 24 NR NR NR Not released

Awards and milestonesEdit

2019 NFL DraftEdit

The following Bearcat player was selected in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Rnd. Pick # NFL team Player Pos. College Conf. Notes
7 242 Los Angeles Chargers Cortez Broughton  DT Cincinnati The American

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "2018 BRONKO NAGURSKI TROPHY WATCH LIST UNVEILED". Sportswriters.net. FWAA. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  2. ^ "2018 OUTLAND TROPHY WATCH LIST UNVEILED". Sportswriters.net. FWAA. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Wuerffel Trophy Unveils 2018 Watch List". July 26, 2018. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  4. ^ "Watch List for 2018 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award ® Presented by A. O. Smith Announced". August 14, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  5. ^ "UCF Tabbed as Favorite in 2018 Preseason Media Poll". TheAmerican.org. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  6. ^ Clark, Dave (11 September 2017). "UC Bearcats, Miami RedHawks extend rivalry through 2029". Cincinnati.com. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d "American Athletic Conference Football Report" (PDF). American Athletic Conference. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  8. ^ "James Smith Named Ray Guy Award Finalist". GoBearcats.com. Retrieved 21 January 2019.