Kiner powers Cincinnati past Houston for first Big 12 Win

Cincinnati traveled to Houston Saturday night for a 7:00 pm kickoff inside TDECU stadium.

The Bearcats have been impressive when looking at the stat sheet but simply haven't been able to turn the offensive success in to points. Turnovers and struggles in the red zone on both sides of the ball have been contributing factors to UC's seven game losing streak.

The Cincinnati offense took the opening kickoff and proceeded to march 75 yards on 11 plays in 6:16.

Emory Jones completed a 15 yard pass to Braden Smith to start the drive then found Xzavier Henderson for a 12 yard completion two plays later. Corey Kiner and Ryan Montgomery rushed for 9 yards each on two of the next three plays to advance the Bearcats to the Houston 14. The drive was capped off with a 7 yard Ryan Montgomery touchdown on a swing pass out of the backfield.

Houston's offense took over at their own 17 with 4:17 remaining in the 1st quarter and used a 12 play 83 yard drive to tie the score at 7.

Houston converted on 3rd down three times to extend the drive as Donovan Smith picked up gains of 8, 35, and 10. Smith capped the drive off with a 7 yard touchdown pass on a fade route in the corner of the end zone to Joseph Manjack.

With 14:04 left in the second quarter, things were knotted up at 7.

Cincinnati's offense would respond.

With the Bearcats at their own 7, Corey Kiner ripped off a 62 yard run to give the Cats good field position. On the next play, Lichtenberg completed a pass to Payton Singletary for a 20 yard gain as he took a big hit but still hung on to the ball. Kiner capped the drive off with a 1 yard touchdown to give the Bearcats a 14-7 lead with 8:04 left in the second quarter. 

(Photo Credit: Isabella Marley/ Cincinnati Athletics)

The 93 yard drive was the longest of the season for UC and took just 6 plays and 2:17.

It looked like Cincinnati would finally catch a break on the next Houston drive.

Donovan Smith threw a pass right in to the chest of Deshawn Pace for an interception. Pace returned the ball 25 yards to the Houston 10 but was stripped from behind as he failed to secure the ball while trying to pick up extra yards. Houston recovered and took over at their own 6 yard line. 

 We have seen a lot of crazy things happen during this season. Add that to the list of things that you just have to see to believe actually happened. 

The defense would ultimately force a 3 and out and the offense took over at their own 47 after the Houston punt.

Cincinnati drove to the Houston 16 on the ensuing drive but were stopped on a 4th and 1 attempt with 1:01 remaining in the half.

The two teams would head in to the locker rooms with Cincinnati leading 14-7 at the half. 

Despite the one score difference, the Bearcats dominated the first half with 275 yards to Houston's 125 yards of total offense. Corey Kiner surpassed the 100 yard mark with 105 yards on just 13 carries.

Houston received the second half kickoff but turned the ball over on the first play of the half as Jordan Young deflected Donovan Smith's pass in the air and in to the diving arms of Dorian Jones.

The interception was Jones' first of his career and gave the offense possession at their own 49, seven seconds in to the second half.

UC's offense would take advantage with a 12 play, 38 yard drive over the next 6:28 to extend their lead to 17-7 with a 31 yard Carter Brown field goal.

Cincinnati's offense stalled in the red zone after driving to the Houston 6 and taking a tackle for a loss and sack on back to back plays. Corey Kiner was stopped for a 4 yard loss on a stretch play and Emory Jones took a 5 yard sack on the next play to set up the field goal attempt.

The third quarter came to an end with Cincinnati still leading 17-7. Houston managed just 30 yards of offense in the third quarter with UC having possession for 12:30 and converting 3 of 4 third down attempts to extend drives.

Lichtenberg and the offense started the 4th quarter by going for it on 4th and 1 at the Houston 40 but failed to convert the attempt as Lichtenberg was tackled for a 4 yard loss on what looked to be a busted play. 


Houston found themselves in a similar position, 4th and 2 at the Cincinnati 49 , 4 plays later but Jordan Young made another big play as he tackled Samuel Brown short of the line for a turnover on downs. 

The Cincinnati offense took over and proceeded to go 52 yards in 6 plays over the next 3:14 to extend their lead to 24-7.

Corey Kiner's 5 yard touchdown with 8:47 left in the game was his second of the game. Emory Jones' pass to Aaron Turner for a 14 yard pick up on 3rd and 10 helped set up the touchdown.

Houston was able to put together a 12 play, 75 yard drive over 5:12 to cut Cincinnati's lead to 24-14 with 3:22 left in the game but it wasn't enough. Prior to that drive, the UC defense had limited Houston to 41 second half yards.

Ken Willis recorded his first interception of the game on the final Houston drive and UC took a knee to run the final seconds off the clock. 

Final Score: UC 24 Houston 14

Final Stats:

- Corey Kiner led the Bearcats with 129 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. Kiner has now gone over 100 yards in 5 games this season. Three of those performances have come in the last 4 games.

- UC used a two quarterback system tonight, but Emory Jones was extremely efficient running the offense. He finished 13-16 for 131 yards with a touchdown. Brady Lichtenberg was 4-7 passing for 33 yards.

- The Cats dominated in time of possession (36:55-23:05) and total yards (368-241)

- Secondary needs to get some credit for how well they played tonight. Donovan Smith came in to the game 2nd in passing yards and total offense and he was limited to 102 yards on 16-of-28 passing with three interceptions.

- Considering how the last 7 weeks have gone, just 1 turnover and 2 penalties for 8 yards was encouraging to see. No excuse for Pace's turnover but the Bearcats defense responded to the adversity with a 3 and out.

- 7-of-13 on third down and 4-of-6 in the redzone. Think they maybe should have taken the points on the failed 4th down attempt when up 14-7, but the call made sense.

- Houston had 10 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, and 4 QB hurries. The offensive line played well tonight but struggled at times in short gain situations when needing less than 2 yards.

- Jordan Young, Deshawn Pace, and Daniel Grzesiak led the defense with 5 tackles, each. Young had arguably his best game of the season with multiple open field tackles.

Final Thoughts:

This was a big and necessary win for the Cats to start building some momentum in to the off season. Coach Satterfield mentioned the heated discussion between the players and coaches this past Sunday after the UCF loss and you could see a difference in the team and how they carried themselves tonight. First Big 12 win in program history and the fan base can finally relax as the seven game losing streak is no more. 

Up Next: 

UC travels to West Virginia next Saturday. Kickoff time is still TBD. 


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published