Memphis and Cincinnati are locked in a good one in this year’s American Athletic Conference championship game in the Liberty Bowl. A spot in the New Years Six is very likely up for grabs between the two. At halftime in Memphis, it is Cincinnati leading the game 14-10.
A week after coming up short in the same stadium against the same team, Cincinnati wanted to jump out to a lead as early as possible. The Bearcats did just that with a touchdown on the game’s opening possession. After Memphis attempted an onside kick to start the game, Cincinnati recovered the football for great starting field position. A field goal on a 4th & 5 from the Memphis 15-yard line was good but the Tigers were called for a running into the kicker penalty. Cincinnati capitalized on the free first down with Michael Warren II running sic yards for a touchdown a couple of plays later.
Memphis would respond with a field goal on the ensuing possession and the Tigers took the lead the next time the offense stepped on the field. Receiver Antonio Gibson gave Memphis the lead on a 65-yard run. Similar to the mistake by Memphis earlier, a Cincinnati penalty for running into the punter gave the Tigers renewed life on the drive.
Brady White has been one of the top passers in the nation this season but he has had a rough outing so far today. White has completed just eight of his 21 pass attempts. He has been intercepted once too, but that was on a last-second Hail Mary to close out the first half. White’s 86 passing yards has played well into Cincinnati;’s advantage as the Tigers just cannot find the big plays on offense, outside of the long touchdown run by Gibson. Kenneth Gainwell has been held to just 34 rushing yards on 10 attempts.
Desmond Ridder has had a poor day throwing the football as well with just 9-of-22 for 102 yards and no touchdowns, but he has added 96 rushing yards and a touchdown to give Cincinnati the lead at the half.
We have a huge second half on tap in Memphis. Winner (likely) goes to the Cotton Bowl waving the AAC banner.