FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (WCMH) — Cincinnati Bearcats record-breaking quarterback Desmond Ridder has been named the new starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons.
Ridder will make his NFL debut Sunday, Dec. 18 at New Orleans against the Saints. He completed 34-of-56 passes for 431 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions during the preseason for Atlanta, which is on its bye week this Sunday.
At Cincinnati, Ridder set school records with 87 touchdown passes, 28 rushing touchdowns and 12,418 total yards, the latter ranking first in American Athletic Conference history. Last season he threw for 3,334 yards, 30 touchdowns and added 365 yards rushing with six TDs on the ground.
He earned back-to-back AAC Offensive Player of the Year awards in 2020-21, finished eighth in the 2021 Heisman Trophy voting and helped lead the Bearcats to the 2021 Cotton Bowl as part of the CFP Playoffs.
Head coach Arthur Smith made the announcement Thursday after the Falcons (5-8) failed to score 20 or more points in four of their last five games, in which the team is 1-4.
Marcus Mariotta, who started the first 13 games this season, has 2,219 yards passing, 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His average of 170.1 yards per game ranks 32nd in the league.