The No. 2 Cincinnati Bearcats escaped Annapolis on Saturday with a close 27-20 victory over the Navy Midshipmen, remaining undefeated and improving to 7-0 on the season.
Cincy was able to pick up the victory despite only getting just over 20 minutes of possession time due to Navy’s slow, methodical triple-option offense. Coming out of halftime clinging onto a 13-10 lead, they didn’t waste time as they scored touchdowns on their first two possessions in the second half to take a three-score lead. Navy spent the rest of the afternoon playing catchup, but a last minute comeback attempt was shot down when Arquan Bush picked off Middie QB Tai Lavatai to ice it.
Fair or not, Cincinnati needs to rack up dominant victories for the rest of the season to bolster their College Football Playoff case and a close victory over Navy doesn’t help. One could point out the context of Navy limiting their opportunities to score with the triple-option, but context ultimately fades in the long run and a seven-point win over a 1-6 win won’t reflect well on their resume.
It’ll be interesting where the CFP committee slots the Bearcats when they soon convene for the first time on November 2. Cincinnati has upcoming matchups against woeful AAC opponents in Tulane, Tulsa, and USF, so those are three more opportunities for them to run up the score and gain “style points”.