SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Desmond Ridder threw two touchdown passes and ran for score late in the fourth quarter as No. 7 Cincinnati capitalized on its big opportunity and beat No. 9 Notre Dame 24-13 on Saturday in a game the Bearcats hope can be the centerpiece of College Football Playoff resume.
Cincinnati (4-0) wanted to use its first Top 10, regular-season matchup as a statement game, heading into its American Athletic Conference schedule. No team from outside the Power Five conferences has ever reached the playoff. Never even came close.
To break that barrier Bearcats almost certainly needs to go undefeated and this trip to Notre Dame (4-1) stood as the toughest test on the schedule. Not to mention the biggest stage they’ll appear on this season. The Bearcats were not quite dominant, but they were plenty good enough in their first trip to South Bend since 1900 to snap Notre Dame’s 26-game home winning streak.
Ridder was 19 for 32 for 297 yards. He hooked up with Alec Pierce six times for 144 yards, and was at his best after Notre Dame cut the lead to 17-13 with 8:20 left in the fourth quarter. Ridder went 3 for 3, with a bullet down the middle for 36 yards to Leonard Taylor, on the ensuing drive. He capped it off with a 6-yard TD run around left end that made it 24-13.
Cincinnati took advantage of three turnovers by Notre Dame in the first half to jump out to 17-0 lead.