• Jordan Simal

#2 Cincinnati @ NAVY Game Notes

#2 Cincinnati @ NAVY

Oct. 23, 2021

12:00 p.m.

Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD


Cincinnati began the game with the football.

A surprise three-and-out for the Bearcats led to the Midshipmen’s first possession of the ball game with 13:35 left in the first quarter.

Navy also began offensively with a three-and-out, as well.

Cincinnati 0, NAVY 0

Starting at midfield, Cincinnati’s Heisman-candidate quarterback Desmond Ridder was nearly intercepted by Navy senior cornerback Michael McMorris, as the Midshipmen forced a second-consecutive three-and-out on Cincinnati with 11:03 left in the quarter.

Navy turned to its triple-option offense for the second time on the afternoon, as senior fullback Isaac Ruoss and senior running back Chance Warren helped lead the Midshipmen down the field deep into Bearcats territory. A key 19-yard rush from sophomore wide receiver Jayden Umbarger set the offense up at the Cincy 7 yard line.

Just two plays later, sophomore quarterback Tai Lavatai found the endzone on a two-yard rushing touchdown to put Navy up early.

The drive went 79 yards on 13 plays, lasting 7:12.

Cincinnati 0, NAVY 7.

Navy tried to build on their score with an early onside kick, but an illegal touch by the Midshipmen set up the Bearcats with great field position at the Navy 44-yard line. Just three plays later, Ritter found junior tight end Josh Whyle in stride to tie the game.

The drive went 44 yards on three plays, lasting 1:01.

Cincinnati 7, Navy 7.

The Midshipmen stayed strong offensively, as Lavatai found sophomore running back Kai Puailoa-Rojas on a 21-yard completion to the UC 30-yard line. An unnecessary roughness penalty from the Bearcats cut the distance to the endzone in half, setting Navy up at their opponent’s 15-yard line.

Cincinnati 7, Navy 7.


Navy opened the second quarter with a 33-yard field goal from junior kicker Bijan Nichols to re-take the lead.

The drive went 35 yards on seven plays, lasting 3:35.

Cincinnati 7, NAVY 10.

Ridder and the Bearcats offense took to the air once again and were driving down the field on the Heisman candidate’s arm until he was intercepted by Navy senior cornerback Jamal Glenn at the Midshipmen's three-yard line to kill the drive.

Cincinnati 7, NAVY 10.

Following a failed drive by Navy, it was Cincinnati’s turn to slowly burn out the clock.

Key passes to senior tight end Leonard Taylor and senior wide receiver Alex Pierce would eventually get the Bearcats to the Navy 7-yard line, but the offense wasn’t able to recover after a sack from Navy's sophomore defensive end Jacob Busic. This led to a game-tying field goal from freshman kicker Christian Lowery for 32 yards.

The drive went 61 yards on 15 plays, lasting 6:06.

Cincinnati 10, NAVY 10.

The passing game came to life in Navy’s ensuing drive, as a crucial completion from Lavatai to junior wide receiver Mark Walker got the Midshipmen to the Cincinnati 28-yard line. The Midshipmen tried dropping back to drive further into Bearcats territory, but two back-to-back sacks from Cincinnati took them back to the 34, setting up a 51-yard field goal for Nichols.

The field goal was blocked and scooped up by Cincinnati sophomore linebacker Deshawn Pace, who ran it back to the Navy 34.

The Bearcats' sophomore kicker Alex Bales then booted a 52-yard field goal to take the lead with only one second left in the half.

Cincinnati 13, NAVY 10.


Navy began the second half playing like a team with nothing to lose, converting a crucial 4th-and-1 against the Bearcats on just their first drive of the third quarter. From there, the Midshipmen went for it on fourth again and got Cincinnati to jump offsides, resulting in yet another fourth-down conversion.

Unfortunately for the Midshipmen, their streak ended on their third fourth-down conversion of the drive, and Cincinnati took the football back at their own 46-yard line.

The Bearcats offense wasted no time taking advantage of the short field, as junior running back Jerome Ford took a 43-yard run to the house to give Cincinnati its biggest lead of the day.

The drive went 54 yards on four plays, lasting 1:27.

Cincinnati 20, NAVY 10.

Navy’s offense stalled again, as the Bearcats enjoyed another short field in front of them following a decent punt return on special teams. After a 4th down conversion from Ridder to Pierce, the Bearcats rolled into the endzone just six plays later on a three-yard completion from Ridder to Whyle.

The drive went 45 yards on 11 plays, lasting 4:22.

Cincinnati 27, NAVY 10.


Time was not on the Midshipmen’s side heading into the fourth quarter, but the offense got off to a quick start with a great 26-yard completion from Lavatai to Puailoa-Rojas that got Navy to the UC 32-yard line. The drive led to a 27-yard field goal by Nichols to pull Navy back within two scores.

The drive went 48 yards on nine plays, lasting 4:27.

Cincinnati 27, NAVY 13.

Within the game’s final minutes, the Navy offense moved exclusively through the air and found the endzone after roughing the passer and pass interference penalties against Cincinnati. Just yards away, Navy punched it in from the one-yard line on a keeper from Lavatai.

The drive went 90 yards on 16 plays, lasting 4:39.

Cincinnati 27, NAVY 20.

The Midshipmen would not go down quietly, as the Navy recovered an onside kick with 48 seconds left on the clock.

Despite all of their momentum, Lavatai was intercepted to end the game and the Midshipmen fell to 1-6 on the season in a close loss to the second-best-ranked team in the country.

FINAL SCORE: Cincinnati 27, NAVY 20



Issac Ruoss: 19 rushes, 80 yards, 0 TDs

James Harris II: 9 rushes, 27 yards, 0 TDs

Tai Lavatai: 21 rushes, 22 yards, 2 TDs

Chance Warren: 5 rushes, 22 yards, 0 TDs

Jayden Umbarger: 1 rush, 19 yards, 0 TDs

Acie Carlinos: 6 rushes, 14 yards, 0 TDs

Tyger Goslin: 1 rush, 5 yards, 0 TDs

Anton Hall Jr.: 1 rush, 3 yards, 0 TDs

Kai Puailoa-Rojas: 1 rush, 0 yards, 0 TDs

Daniel Jones: 3 rushes, 0 yards, 0 TDs


Jerome Ford: 15 rushes, 90 yards, 1 TD

Desmond Ridder: 5 rushes, 6 yards, 0 TDs



Tai Lavatai: 15 attempts, 11 completions, 116 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT


Desmond Ridder: 30 attempts, 18 completions, 176 yards, 2 TDS, 1 INT



Jamal Glenn: 11 tackles


Joel Dublanko: 15 tackles