PirateIllustrated - Cincinnati Pounds ECU 56-6
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Cincinnati Pounds ECU 56-6

Quarterback Holton Ahlers and ECU fell to Cincinnati 56-6 Saturday in Nippert Stadium.
Quarterback Holton Ahlers and ECU fell to Cincinnati 56-6 Saturday in Nippert Stadium. (Cincinnati Enquirer photo)

Desmond Ridder threw for four touchdowns including three to Kahlil Lewis as Cincinnati(10-2) cruised to an easy 56-6 win over East Carolina(3-8) in Nippert Stadium in a game that was never really in doubt.

Ridder threw for 335 yards and four touchdowns in the first half alone to lead Cincinnati before being lifted in the second half. Lewis had nine catches for 203 yards all told, Charles McClelland rushed for 114 yards and Tavion Thomas added 106 yards on the ground of his own in the victory.

Cincinnati’s 641 yards was the second most allowed by an ECU football team in program history trailing only the 706 yards given up in 1982 against Florida State.

Holton Ahlers, who entered the game banged up, went just 8 of 21 through the air for ECU for 184 yards and a touchdown to go along with one interception before going out with an injury in the second half.

“It was a struggle all day. The nature of last week had a physical toll on us. Starting with our quarterback, we got to practice him one day this week and unfortunately he didn’t come out as sharp as he could,” Scottie Montgomery said afterward.

The Pirates generated just 305 total yards offensively for the game.

“We had some major problems in our front all night. Losing Colby Gore early in the game, they had a great player number 1 (Kahlil Lewis). They took advantage of the matchup,” said Montgomery, “We wanted to see Colby on him a lot and didn’t get a chance to get it done. Some of our guys fought the entire night. We just didn’t have enough to beat this team on their Senior Night.”

Ridder marched his Bearcats right down the field on the first drive of the game, after ECU won the toss and deferred. Ridder found Jayshon Jackson on third and seven in the back of the ECU end zone for a quick ten-yard touchdown strike and an early 7-0 Cincinnati lead.

His second scoring pass of the day to tight end Josiah Deguara on a post pattern late in the first quarter expanded the Cincinnati lead to 14-0. Ridder’s third touchdown of the day went to Kahlil Lewis for a 57-yard touchdown and a 21-0 lead all in the first quarter.

Holton Ahlers’ fumble on the forty yard line after he escaped the pocket on a run up the middle led to a 55-yard Charles McClelland catch on the next play and Cincinnati’s third touchdown in three minutes and fifteen seconds. That increased the Bearcat lead to 28-0.

Ahlers’ second fumble of the game on a faulty snap on fourth-and-one led to Cincinnati’s fourth score of the day on a 2-yard Tavion Thomas touchdown run.

ECU finally got on the scoreboard to make it 35-6 on a 71-yard strike from Ahlers to Mydreon Vines before a bad snap nullified the extra point attempt.

Ridder was at it again with 3:53 left in the half when Kahlil Lewis caught his second touchdown of the game on a 28-yard pass that extended the lead to 42-6.

Lewis’ third touchdown of the game on a seven-yard pass from Ridder made it 49-6 midway through the third quarter.

Things didn’t get any better when Reid Herring came on at quarterback late in the third quarter for the injured Ahlers and threw an interception for ECU’s fourth turnover of the day. Then Herring’s second interception of the quarter that Arquan Bush took back 36 yards to the house made it 56-6 with 13:32 to play. From there, Cincinnati cruised in the rest of the way.