Junior running back Michael Warren II scored one touchdown on the ground and caught one of sophomore quarterback Desmond Ridder’s two scoring passes as the University of Cincinnati Bearcats beat the UCLA Bruins 24-14 on Thursday in the teams’ season-opener.
Ridder also connected with graduate-transfer tight end Josiah Deguara for a touchdown, senior kicker Sam Crosa added a 44-yard field goal and sophomore safety Ja’von Hicks came up with a fumble recovery and an interception for the Bearcats.
Warren finished with 92 yards on 26 carries while Ridder was going 18-for-26 for 242 yards.
UCLA sophomore quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson was 8-for-26 for 156 yards and touchdowns of 75 yards to junior wide receiver Demetric Felton and seven yards to sophomore wide receiver Chase Cota. Thompson-Robinson also lost his grip on the football twice and threw two interceptions, personally accounting for all four UCLA turnovers.
Cincinnati knocked off UCLA in the opener for the second straight season. The Bearcats beat the Bruins 26-17 at the Rose Bowl last season.
Displaying first-game rust, the two teams combined for 19 penalties, costing them a total of 123 yards.
The Bearcats never trailed after Ridder and Deguara teamed up on a 16-yard scoring pass following Hicks’ recovery of a Thompson-Robinson fumble at Cincinnati’s 17-yard line on UCLA’s first possession of the season.
Warren scored on a bruising 12-yard run on Cincinnati’s fifth play after senior linebacker Perry Young intercepted Thompson-Robinson at UCLA’s 30-yard line on the Bruins’ first possession of the second half. The junior running back celebrated by dancing across the end zone and tugging his right fist up-and-down as if he was tooting a train whistle.
UCLA: Coach Chip Kelly will have to wait another week to log the 50th win of his college career. He is 3-10 in his second season with Bruins, more losses than the seven he incurred in four seasons with Oregon.
UC: Despite losing three starters from a line that anchored the American Athletic Conference’s best defense last season, the Bearcats limited UCLA to 62 rushing yards.
UCLA: The Bruins are scheduled to play their home opener on Sept. 7 against San Diego State.
UC: The Bearcats are scheduled to travel to Columbus, Ohio, to face No. 5 Ohio State on Sept. 7.
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