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No. 10 Cincinnati cruises past Miami (O)
OXFORD, Ohio (AP)With its state-of-the-art passing attack stymied, No. 10 Cincinnati showed it can win the old-fashioned way, too.
Jacob Ramsey ran for 103 yards and three touchdowns in Cincinnati's pass-oriented offense Saturday, and the Bearcats broke open a close game in the fourth quarter for a 37-13 victory over Miami (Ohio) that showed a little grit to go with the glitz.
"You just try to keep winning," coach Brian Kelly said. "Today was not our A-game."
The oldest rivalry west of the Allegheny Mountains has been a mismatch since Kelly showed up at Cincinnati and turned the Bearcats (5-0) into Big East champs. They won their fourth straight over Miami (0-5) in blustery conditions in front of Yager Stadium's biggest crowd in six years.
They did it in an uncharacteristic way.
Tony Pike had a so-so game, going 23 of 42 for 270 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in the wind. The senior came in with 70.5 percent completion percentage, but repeatedly forced throws into a defense that double-teamed his top receivers and fell back to take away the long pass.
"You're going to have games like this," Pike said. "The conditions weren't perfect."
The Bearcats put the game in Ramsey's hands. He became the first Bearcat to run for 100 yards since the opening game of the 2007 season, and the 15th in school history to score three touchdowns in a game. His 2-yard run with 11:35 remaining gave the Bearcats a 30-13 lead.
"The running game went well with our offensive strategy," Ramsey said. "It's definitely something the backs look forward to every game and try to accomplish."
The Bearcats head into a bye week with a few things to fix. They had the ball for only 19 minutes on Saturday, a week after they had it for only 16 minutes in a win over Fresno State. The offense scores quickly, and the defense has trouble getting off the field.
On Saturday, the Bearcats had trouble pinning down Miami's Zac Dysert, a redshirt freshman making his second start. Dysert did a Ben Roethlisberger impersonation and kept the RedHawks in the game until he changed it with one slip.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound quarterback was as elusive as Big Ben, who led the RedHawks to their last win over a Top 25 team in 2003 and has his name and number honored on a brick column below the videoboard. Dysert slipped away from two tacklers in the backfield and threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to tailback Andre Bratton that cut it to 23-13 late in the third quarter.
Then, Miami took a big gamble and tried an onside kick that bounced its way. Dysert led the RedHawks to the 3-yard line, energizing Miami fans in the mixed-allegiance crowd of 23,493. The thousands of Cincinnati fans were quiet.
"What we were thinking is we absolutely need to come up with a stop," Cincinnati linebacker J.K. Schaffer said. "There really wasn't any other choice."
The first top 10 team to play at Yager Stadium made the game-turning play. Dysert lost his footing as he threw into the crowded end zone, allowing Schaffer to intercept the errant throw.
"My foot slipped out from under me and the ball went right to him," Dysert said.
Crestfallen, the RedHawks fell apart. Dysert was 33 of 47 for 286 yards and was sacked 10 times - six times in the fourth quarter, when Miami had to throw to try to catch up.
Miami knew its ramped-up emotions wouldn't be enough; the RedHawks couldn't afford any bad plays. They had a shanked 6-yard punt and ran a fake punt that failed at their 27-yard line, setting up a pair of quick-strike touchdowns that helped Cincinnati pull ahead 20-0.
The RedHawks fell to 0-5 for the second time in four seasons. They're coming off a two-win season that prompted them to go outside the Cradle of Coaches and hire Notre Dame offensive coordinator Michael Haywood, who has a young team featuring seven freshman starters.