DALLAS (FWAA) The Cincinnati Bearcats
jumped all over Notre Dame early to the tune of a 17-0 halftime
lead and scored a major victory that put them into the thick of
the early College Football Playoff discussion with a 24-13 win in
South Bend, Ind. The first road win over a top-10 team in school
history that ended the No. 9 Fighting Irish's 26-game home win streak
earned the Bearcats the Cheez-It Bowl National Team of the
Week honor for games of weekend of Oct. 2, as selected
by the Football Writers Association of America.
This is just the second time for Cincinnati (4-0) to earn this honor
from the FWAA. The other came in 2006, which marked the last time
the Bearcats beat a top-10 team in a 30-11 home win over then-unbeaten
Quarterback Desmond Ridder accounted for 323 yards of total offense
(297 passing, 26 rushing) and three total touchdowns. Ridder's favorite
target was Alec Pierce, who had his third career 100-yard game with
six catches for 144 yards. When Notre Dame got within 17-13 with
8:20 left in the game, Ridder sealed it on the ensuing drive in
which he was 3-for-3 passing and ran in from six yards out with
The defense did its part also, forcing three turnovers in the
first half and keeping Notre Dame scoreless until the 1:19 mark
of the third quarter. The 13 points are Notre Dame's fewest of the
season. The Bearcats have 11 takeaways over the last three games
(8 interceptions, three fumble recoveries).
"We didn't just beat a top-10 team, we beat a top-five program,"
Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell said. "It was much different
from Indiana (a week prior). We learned from that (a slow start)
and the emotions of how much that can drain you at the start of
a game. They were calm and cool the whole day. This was a different
vibe from a real mature team. They were focused and locked in."
Cincinnati, which played in South Bend for the first time since
1900, is now 35-5 since 2018, and is among the top five teams in
the FBS in winning percentage during that span (.875).
This is the 20th season the FWAA will select a national team
of the week. Each honored team will receive a custom Cheez-It "care
package" along with a hand-crafted game ball made in America
by Dallas-based Big Game USA, the nation's leading manufacturer
of custom footballs.
Cincinnati hosts Temple in a Friday American Athletic Conference
clash at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
The other National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend
of Oct. 2 are:
Hawaii (3-3): The Rainbow Warriors topped
No. 18 Fresno State, 27-24, beating a ranked opponent for the
first time since 2010 and snapping a six-game home losing streak
to the Bulldogs. True freshman quarterback Braeden Schager started
his first game in place of an injured starter Chevan Cordeiro
and threw two fourth-quarter touchdowns to erase a 14-point
Kentucky (5-0): The Wildcats exorcised
some demons beating No. 9 Florida at home 20-13, its first win
over the Gators in Lexington since 1986 and only its second
in the teams' last 35 meetings. Kentucky's first win over an
AP top-10 team since 2010 was keyed by a special teams play
as Josh Paschal blocked a field goal that Trevin Wallace picked
up and returned 76 yards for a touchdown that gave No. 23 Kentucky
the lead for good. Kentucky is 3-0 in the SEC for only the fifth
time in school history.
Stanford (3-2): The Cardinal beat Oregon
again in dramatic fashion as Tanner McKee threw a touchdown
pass on an untimed down at the end of regulation to tie the
game, then another one on the opening overtime possession in
a 31-24 win over the No. 3 Ducks. It was Stanford's fourth win
against a top-10-ranked Oregon team since 2009. McKee came back
after leaving for a play on the final drive of regulation with
an injury to make the scoring play.
Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America
consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives
in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday
operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team.
For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive
Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or email@example.com.
About the Cheez-It Bowl
The Cheez-It Bowl takes place on
Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 5:45 p.m. ET in Orlando, Fla. The postseason contest is hosted
by Florida Citrus Sports, a Central Florida-based nonprofit, and annually features
top teams from the Atlantic Coast and Big 12 Conferences. Cheez-It®, the best-selling
cracker brand in the United States, signed on as the game's title sponsor in 2020
as part of its season-long support of college football. Last bowl season, No. 21
Oklahoma State beat No. 18 Miami 37-34 in front of an audience of Cheez-It "Wheel
Live Fans." This year's Cheez-It Bowl will be the 32nd edition of the game and its
21st in Orlando.
All-time FWAA National
Teams of the Week
Download Cheez-It Bowl National Team
of the Week logo:
|2021 FWAA ALL-AMERICA
||Memphis Commercial Appeal
||American Athletic Conference
||Bryan-College Station Eagle
||Pick Six Previews
||Big Ten Conference
||Big Ten Conference
||Sun Belt Conference
||Big 12 Conference
||Big 12 Conference
||Last Word on College Football
||Phil Steele Publications
||Mountain West Conference
||Toledo Blade retired