Nov 11, 2023; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Lance Leipold looks on during the first half against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas overcomes slow start to blow out Cincinnati

Jason Bean accounted for four touchdowns as Kansas started slowly but then blew out Cincinnati 49-16 on Saturday night in Cincinnati. It gave Kansas its first eight-win season since 2008.

The Jayhawks averaged just over 11 yards per play.

Bean was 13-of-17 for 250 yards and two touchdowns, plus rushed for 90 yards and two touchdowns for Kansas (8-4, 5-4 Big 12). Devin Neal rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns.

Cincinnati finished its first season in the Big 12 at 3-9, 1-8 in the conference. Emory Jones was 15-of-27 for 104 yards and a touchdown.

Kansas scored its fourth straight touchdown on the first drive of the third quarter. Neal scored from 30 yards out to put the Jayhawks up 28-10. It was Neal’s 15th touchdown run of the season.

Cincinnati cut it to 28-16 with a 7-yard halfback option pass from Ryan Montgomery to Dee Wiggins early in the fourth quarter. The 2-point conversion failed.

Kansas put it out of reach on its next drive. Bean hit Quintin Skinner for a 32-yard gain, then ran 43 yards for a touchdown that put the Jayhawks up 35-16. On the next drive, Bean scored on a 50-yard run.

Dylan McDuffie scored a 6-yard touchdown to cap the Jayhawks’ scoring.

It took a little while for the Jayhawks to get traction, but once they did Kansas rolled.

Cincinnati took the opening kickoff and marched 44 yards before stalling on the Kansas 31 and settling for a 49-yard field goal by Carter Brown.

Neither team could get much going until Cobee Bryant picked off a Brady Lichtenberg pass deep in Kansas territory. That sparked the Jayhawks’ offense as they went on a five-play, 77-yard drive. Neal went around the left edge for a 13-yard touchdown run.

After a Cincinnati punt on the next series, Kansas went 66 yards on five plays for a 14-3 lead. Bean hit Jared Casey on a 15-yard touchdown pass. The big play on the drive was a 38-yard run by Neal.

Just before halftime, Jones found Montgomery alone in the left flat and Montgomery waltzed into the end zone, cutting the deficit to 14-10 with 26 seconds left.

But Kansas answered. Casey returned a squib kick to the Kansas 45. Bean found Lawrence Arnold on the first play for a 30-yard gain before finding Mason Fairchild on a 26-yard touchdown with five seconds left.

–Field Level Media

Nov 11, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats running back Ryan Montgomery (22) rushes for a touchdown against the Houston Cougars in the first half at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati handles Houston, halts 7-game slide

Corey Kiner rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns to fuel visiting Cincinnati to a 24-14 victory over Houston on Saturday.

Cincinnati’s Emory Jones completed 13 of 16 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown. Ryan Montgomery reeled in a 7-yard scoring strike for the Bearcats (3-7, 1-6 Big 12), who snapped a seven-game losing skid and recorded their first Big 12 Conference victory.

Houston’s Joseph Manjack IV reeled in a pair of touchdown passes in his return from a two-game absence due to concussion protocol. Donovan Smith completed 16 of 28 passes for just 102 yards with three interceptions for the Cougars (4-6, 2-5), who were thwarted in their bid to win consecutive games for the first time this season.

Jones found Montgomery over the middle to cap an 11-play, 75-yard opening drive and give Cincinnati a 7-0 lead. Montgomery’s receiving touchdown was his first of the season.

Smith answered with a 12-play, 83-yard drive, capped by Smith finding Manjack in the corner of the end zone with 14:04 left in the second quarter.

Kiner bulled his way in from 1 yard out to give the Bearcats a 14-7 lead with 8:04 remaining in the second quarter.

Cincinnati appeared primed to take control of the game after Deshawn Pace intercepted Smith in the second quarter, however he was stripped of the ball by Manjack to return the possession back to Houston.

The Bearcats, however, set the tone on the first play from scrimmage, as Dorian Jones reeled in a deflected pass for an interception. Carter Jones drilled a 31-yard field goal to extend Cincinnati’s lead to 17-7 at 8:25 of the third quarter.

Kiner rumbled up the middle from 5 yards out with 8:47 remaining in the fourth quarter for his fifth touchdown of the season and third in his last two weeks.

Smith connected with Manjack from 2 yards out with 3:22 left to cap the scoring.

–Field Level Media

Oct 21, 2023; Norman, Oklahoma, USA;  UCF Knights head coach Gus Malzahn during the game against the Oklahoma Sooners at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

UCF edges Cincinnati for first Big 12 victory

RJ Harvey rushed 19 times for a career-high 165 yards and three touchdowns as UCF earned its first Big 12 win, defeating host Cincinnati 28-26 on Saturday afternoon.

Cincinnati (2-7, 0-6 Big 12) had a chance to tie the score with 1:27 left, but UCF linebacker Jason Johnson broke up a two-point-conversion pass in the end zone.

Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee passed for 165 yards and ran for 39 as the Knights (4-5, 1-5) snapped a five-game losing streak, their longest skid since 2015.

Cincinnati was led by running backs Ryan Montgomery (113 yards, 14.1 average, one touchdown) and Corey Kiner (114 yards, 6.0 average, one TD). Wide receiver Braden Smith had six catches for 114 yards and one TD.

However, the Bearcats have lost seven straight games, their longest skid since dropping nine consecutive contests in 1998. The Bearcats, who, like UCF, are new to the Big 12 this year, have yet to win a game in the league.

Cincinnati safety Bryon Threats was ejected in the first quarter for putting his hands on a referee. The ref was trying to break up an altercation between Threats and a blocker.

The Bearcats took the opening kickoff and converted on fourth down before scoring on Carter Brown’s 39-yard field goal.

On its next possession, Cincinnati went for it again on fourth-and-1. This time, quarterback Emory Jones (16 for 22, 217 yards, one touchdown, one interception) fired incomplete, and UCF took over on its 41.

Plumlee scored on the ensuing drive, finding the end zone on an 8-yard run. Two 15-yard penalties – including one by Threats on third down – contributed to the score.

UCF took a 14-3 lead in the second quarter on Harvey’s 13-yard run. That was set up by a fumble from Cincinnati wide receiver Xzavier Henderson, recovered by UCF’s Jason Johnson.

Cincinnati closed out the first-half scoring on Jones’ 11-yard touchdown pass to Smith in the right corner of the end zone. Two runs totaling 41 yards by Montgomery set up the TD.

The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter — a 2-yard run by Montgomery to give Cincinnati a 17-14 lead and a 25-yard run by Harvey to put UCF back on top.

With 6:21 left in the fourth, Brown’s 28-yard field goal cut Cincinnati’s deficit to 21-20. Jones’ 35-yard pass to Smith on 4th-and-9 keyed the drive.

Harvey’s one-yard TD run on third-and-goal gave UCF a 28-20 lead with 2:41 left.

Cincinnati made it 28-26 on Kiner’s six-yard run with 1:27 left, leading to a failure on the two-point conversion and the ensuing onside kick.

–Field Level Media

Oct 28, 2023; Orlando, Florida, USA; UCF Knights running back RJ Harvey (7) catches a pass in front of West Virginia Mountaineers linebacker Caden Biser (36) during the second half at FBC Mortgage Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

UCF, Cincinnati desperate for first Big 12 victory

The Big 12 has not been kind to conference newcomers UCF and Cincinnati.

In their first year in the league, neither squad has come up with a Big 12 win.

That will change on Saturday when the Bearcats (2-6, 0-5) play host to the Knights (3-5, 0-5).

Both programs have enjoyed glory years of recent vintage.

UCF, for example, went 13-0 in 2017 and 35-4 over a three-year span that also included 2018 and 2019. The Knights entered this season with seven straight bowl appearances.

As for Cincinnati, the Bearcats became the first non-Power 5 program to qualify for the College Football Playoff when they did so in 2021. The Bearcats have played in five straight bowl games, going 53-11 during that span.

Both teams figure to have their bowl streaks end this season … unless either can stage a dramatic comeback.

Cincinnati has lost six straight games — its longest skid since 1998.

New Bearcats coach Scott Satterfield benched sixth-year quarterback Emory Jones in favor of Brady Lichtenberg in the fourth quarter last week during a 45-13 setback against Oklahoma State.

In three games this year, Lichtenberg is 10-for-16 for 144 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Jones has 1,601 passing yards, 13 TD passes and nine picks this season.

Satterfield didn’t say who would start at quarterback this week, but the coach wasn’t ruling anything out.

“Guys who are making plays need to be on the field,” Satterfield said. “(Lichtenberg) sparked the guys a little bit (against the Cowboy).”

Satterfield also mentioned freshman wide receiver Barry Jackson Jr. as a player who likely will get more playing time. Jackson has one catch for 65 yards and a score this year.

UCF, meanwhile, has lost five straight games, its longest skid since going 0-12 in 2015. The Knights fell 41-28 to visiting West Virginia last week. Knights fifth-year quarterback John Rhys Plumlee had four turnovers in that game, including three interceptions.

“Nobody’s more disappointed than I am,” UCF coach Gus Malzahn said on Monday. “Cincinnati is in a similar spot than us (winless in the league).

“We’ve lost five in a row. That’s new territory for me. We have to do whatever it takes to win.”

–Field Level Media

Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Alan Bowman (7) and offensive lineman Dalton Cooper (71) celebrate a touchdown pass in the first quarter of the NCAA Big12 football game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Cincinnati Bearcats at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023.

Oklahoma St. pulls away in 2nd half to rout Cincinnati

Alan Bowman threw for 286 yards Saturday night and Oklahoma State scored 21 third-quarter points to blow open a close Big 12 Conference matchup on its way to a 45-13 win over Cincinnati in Stillwater, Okla.

Bowman, who completed 17 of 34 passes with two touchdowns and an interception, found Brennan Presley with a 15-yard scoring strike just over three minutes into the third period. Ollie Gordon made it 24-7 less than three minutes later with a 9-yard touchdown run and Presley added a 1-yard scoring jaunt at the 3:15 mark.

Gordon carved up the Bearcats for 271 yards on 25 rushes, including a late 75-yard scoring sprint, as the Cowboys (6-2, 4-1 Big 12) finished with 601 total yards. Leon Johnson III caught five passes for 149 yards.

Cincinnati (2-6, 0-5) continued to struggle in its first year in the Big 12. Quarterback Emory Jones completed only 6 of 16 passes for 117 yards with an interception before being relieved by Brady Lichtenberg.

The Bearcats finished with 442 total yards but couldn’t score in the second half until Lichtenburg hit Aaron Turner with a 21-yard touchdown pass with 4:54 left in the game. Myles Montgomery rushed for 90 yards on just eight carries and Corey Kiner added 79 on 17 attempts.

Oklahoma State needed less than two minutes to get on the board. Johnson and Bowman offered a hint of future attractions by teaming up for a 29-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

But Cincinnati was able to battle back behind a ground game that chewed up well over 200 yards on the night. Montgomery got 63 of them in one shot, scoring the tying touchdown at the 1:41 mark of the first quarter.

Alex Hale gave the Cowboys a 10-7 edge with 8:55 remaining in the first half with a 28-yard field goal but he also missed a 40-yarder later in the half. Bowman also kneecapped a scoring chance in the final minute of the first half by tossing an interception at midfield.

–Field Level Media

Oct 21, 2023; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys running back Ollie Gordon II (0) celebrates after running for a touchdown during the first quarter against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati looks to shut down Oklahoma State’s Ollie Gordon II

Oklahoma State’s Ollie Gordon II is averaging 176.8 yards rushing over his last four games in the ultra-competitive Big 12, and Cincinnati’s run defense is giving up just 100.7 yards per contest this season.

When the teams meet Saturday night in Stillwater, Okla., Oklahoma State’s ground game will face its biggest test since settling on Gordon as the main man when conference play began.

The sophomore picked up 121 yards on 18 carries against Iowa State on Sept. 23, and the rushes and yards have increased since, culminating with an eye-popping performance last week at West Virginia: 29 carries, 282 yards, four touchdowns.

“(Gordon’s) durability has been impressive,” Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said. “In the last few games, he’s become a little bit elusive, which I don’t think any of us thought that that was a part of his package. We thought he was more of the (keep pounding and) bounce off guys.”

With Oklahoma State (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) protecting a slim lead late against the Mountaineers, the offensive line and Gordon kept producing, as 149 of his yards came in the fourth quarter. Touchdown bursts of 46 and 53 yards put away a 48-34 win.

Gordon has 816 rushing yards through seven games this season, and is averaging 7.0 yards per carry.

Cincinnati (2-5, 0-4) is coming off yet another frustrating loss in its inaugural season in the Big 12, a 32-29 defeat against visiting Baylor. In a familiar scenario, the Bearcats outgained their opponent in total yards, this time 450-396, including rushing for 288 yards.

Equally familiar and unwelcome, Cincinnati paid badly for committing the game’s only turnover, fumbling away a kickoff return, which Baylor returned 15 yards for a touchdown. The Bearcats’ minus-4 turnover margin is in the bottom tier of FBS.

Cincinnati has lost five games in a row, a run that started with an overtime defeat to Miami (Ohio) before conference play began.

Not that coach Scott Satterfield expected life in the Big 12 to be easy.

“We knew there was going to be challenges,” Satterfield said. “But again, the frustrating part is that we were good enough to win at least three of those, I feel like, and we didn’t get it done, and that’s the part that keeps me up at night.

“We shoot ourselves in the foot … and I think when you do lose that way, it’s a lot worse.”

–Field Level Media

Cincinnati Bearcats wide receiver Braden Smith (0) stiff arms Baylor Bears safety Romario Noel (29) on a carry in the first quarter during a college football game between the Baylor Bears and the Cincinnati Bearcats, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati.

Baylor hands Cincinnati its fifth straight loss

Blake Shapen passed for 316 yards and Isaiah Hankins made four field goals, including one from 54 yards, to lead Baylor to a 32-29 victory Saturday over host Cincinnati in the first meeting between the Big 12 programs.

Cincinnati, in its first season in the conference, has lost five straight games.

Baylor (3-4, 2-2) is 2-0 on the road and 1-4 at home this season.

Shapen’s passing, completing 25 of 42 attempts with a touchdown and no interceptions, Hankins’ field goals and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by Byron Vaughns was the difference against Cincinnati (2-5, 0-4).

After Hankins made his fourth field goal of the game — a 43-yarder with 7:01 left — Cincinnati responded with a 75-yard scoring drive.

Xzavier Henderson’s 29-yard touchdown pass from Emory Jones cut Baylor’s lead to 32-29 with 5:03 remaining.

Baylor was forced to punt on its next possession.

A 51-yard punt by Palmer Williams forced Cincinnati to start from its 7 with 2:19 remaining.

The Bearcats managed a first down but then turned the ball over on downs at their 42 with 1:25 remaining after Jones was sacked and three incompletions.

Jones, formerly of Florida and Arizona State, completed 19 of 30 pass attempts with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Shapen’s 41-yard pass to Ketron Jackson Jr. set up his 3-yard touchdown run with 12:16 left in the second quarter, giving Baylor a 10-7 lead. The Bears led the rest of the way.

Vaughns scooped up Braden Smith’s fumble on the ensuing kickoff return and went 14 yards for the touchdown, putting Baylor ahead 17-7 with 12:09 left in the second quarter.

Myles Montgomery, who earlier had a 38-yard touchdown run, scored on a 1-yard run with 14:20 left in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 29-21.

Cincinnati outgained Baylor on the ground 288-80.

Corey Kiner led the Bearcats with 129 yards on 15 carries. Montgomery finished with 103 yards on 10 rushes.

–Field Level Media

Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Rocco Becht (3) celebrates a touchdown score in the second quarter during a college football game between the Iowa State Cyclones and the Cincinnati Bearcats Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, at Nippert Stadium win Cincinnati.

Rocco Becht leads Iowa State over Cincinnati

Rocco Becht went 15-of-25-passing for 241 yards and two touchdowns to lead Iowa State to a 30-10 win at Cincinnati in a Big 12 contest on Saturday.

Jayden Higgins caught six passes for 172 yards to flank Becht for Iowa State (4-3, 3-1).

Emory Jones went 14-of-26 passing for 96 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, and rushed for 72 yards on 15 carries in defeat for Cincinnati (2-4, 0-3).

Jones was replaced in the fourth quarter in favor of backup Brady Lichtenberg.

Cincinnati has lost four straight and is still looking for its first win as a member of the Big 12.

Iowa State took a 3-0 lead with 5:31 remaining in the first quarter on a 30-yard field goal by Chase Contreraz, but Cincinnati answered by taking a 7-3 lead with 42 seconds to go in the first on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Chamon Metayer.

Iowa State responded by scoring two touchdowns in the second quarter, the first coming courtesy of a 2-yard touchdown run by Becht with 7:48 left in the second quarter.

Becht then hit Benjamin Brahmer for a 14-yard touchdown pass with 3:43 remaining until halftime to finish off a 5-play, 81-yard drive and give the Cyclones a 17-7 lead.

The teams then exchanged field goals, starting when Contreraz hit a 34-yard field goal with 10:45 left in the third quarter to give Iowa State a 20-7 lead.

Following a 36-yard field goal by Carter Brown that cut Iowa State’s lead to 20-10 with 4:03 to go in the third, Contreraz connected on a 30-yard field goal with 1:10 remaining in the third to make it 23-10 Cyclones.

Iowa State then took a 30-10 lead with 10:00 remaining in the game on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Becht to Stevo Klotz, which ended a 7-play, 69-yard drive.

–Field Level Media

Sep 29, 2023; Provo, Utah, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats safety Deshawn Pace (3) covers Brigham Young Cougars running back Miles Davis (4) in the first half at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

BYU overcomes yardage disparity to defeat Cincinnati

Kedon Slovis threw for two touchdowns and LJ Martin ran for two more Friday night as BYU won the battle of Big 12 Conference newcomers, defeating Cincinnati 35-27 in Provo, Utah.

Slovis completed 13 of 24 passes for 223 yards, including a 59-yard scoring strike to Chase Roberts with 2:53 left in the third quarter for a 28-13 lead.

Martin added a 29-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter and a 1-yard plunge with 12:41 remaining in the game that capped the scoring.

The Cougars (4-1, 1-1 Big 12) were outgained 498-295 but played cleaner football. They committed just four penalties and didn’t turn the ball over, while the Bearcats (2-3, 0-2) were flagged seven times and coughed up 14 points off two turnovers.

Quarterback Emory Jones completed 23 of 37 passes for Cincinnati, good for 256 yards and three touchdowns with an interception. His 23-yard strike to Chamon Metayer with 59 seconds remaining in the third quarter pulled the Bearcats within 28-20.

They forced a punt as the period ended, but Braden Smith fumbled it and BYU’s Austin Riggs recovered at the Cincinnati 15. Martin scored his second touchdown five plays later.

Roberts caught six passes for 131 yards and recovered an onside kick with 25 seconds left after Jones’ 31-yard touchdown pass to Smith.

BYU initiated the scoring when Jakob Robinson intercepted Jones on a third down throw at the 8:28 mark of the first quarter and returned it 42 yards. From that point, Cincinnati’s ground game dominated most of the rest of the first half.

The Bearcats tied the score at 7 with 10:59 remaining in the half on Jones’ 27-yard touchdown strike to Metayer, capping a 17-play drive that saw them run on 10 plays and eat up nearly seven minutes. A 33-yard field goal by Carter Brown put Cincinnati up 10-7 with 44 seconds left.

But the Cougars stole the halftime lead with Slovis’ 22-yard scoring pass to Darius Lassiter to finished off an 82-yard drive with six seconds on the clock, giving them a 14-10 advantage.

–Field Level Media

Sep 23, 2023; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Kedon Slovis (10) throws a pass as Kansas Jayhawks defensive lineman Jereme Robinson (90) defends during the second half at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

BYU out to reach full potential in matchup with Cincinnati

After four games, BYU coach Kalani Sitake is certain of one thing.

“I know we are a good team, and we haven’t played our best yet,” Sitake said. “We definitely didn’t play our best (last week).”

Sitake and the Cougars will try to raise their level of play on Friday night when they face fellow Big 12 Conference newcomer Cincinnati in Provo, Utah, in their first conference home game.

BYU will aim to bounce back from a 38-27 loss at Kansas in its Big 12 opener.

After three nonconference victories, including a 38-31 win at Arkansas, BYU became the latest team to be unable to slow the Jayhawks’ high-powered attack. The Cougars led 17-14 at halftime but gave up the advantage only 22 seconds into the second half on a pick-six before yielding lengthy scoring drives on Kansas’ first three offensive possessions of the half.

BYU quarterback Kedon Slovis completed 30 of 51 passes for 357 yards with two scores and two interceptions. The Cougars (3-1, 0-1 Big 12) got nothing from their ground game (22 attempts, 9 yards) and allowed 6 yards per carry to the Jayhawks.

Slovis has thrown for 1,017 yards with eight touchdowns and three interceptions in four games, relying on the trio of Chase Roberts, Isaac Rex and Darius Lassiter. They have a combined 52 catches and five scores.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati (2-2, 0-1) got Oklahoma at home for its first Big 12 game and kept the Sooners in check but couldn’t do enough on offense in a 20-6 loss last week. The Bearcats held the Sooners 35 points under their average but went just 3-for-15 on third-down conversions and couldn’t find the end zone.

“I’m very proud of our defense,” first-year Cincinnati coach Scott Satterfield said. “They held a very high-powered offense to 20 points and didn’t get a lot of help from our offense.”

Bearcats quarterback Emory Jones was 22 of 41 for 235 yards but tossed two key interceptions. He has 970 passing yards and seven touchdowns in addition to five picks on the season.

BYU has won both games in the all-time series, a 38-24 home triumph in 2015 and a 20-3 decision at Cincinnati the following year.

–Field Level Media