Bearcats season ends with 49-16 loss to Kansas
We all knew the 2023 season was going to be a transition year regardless of who was leading the Cincinnati Bearcats. Scott Satterfield took over a program that was not only making the transition to the Big 12 but also a program that was going to need a massive haul in the transfer portal for additional depth. Between graduation, the NFL draft, and outgoing transfers from a coaching change, Cincinnati added more than 20 transfers this off season.
The Bearcats came in to Saturday night's senior day against Kansas with a disappointing 3-8 record and playing for pride. Kansas (7-4, 4-4 Big 12) entered the regular season finale having already clinched a bowl opportunity, and the most wins in its first 11 games since 2008.
Kansas won the toss but deferred to the second half which gave the Cincinnati offense an opportunity to build momentum early.
Corey Kiner entered the game needing just 59 yards to reach 1,000 for the season.
(Photo: Ryan Luster / RiverfrontCincy)
The Roger Bacon product picked up 20 yards on 5 carries on Cincinnati's opening drive as the Bearcats marched 44 yards on 12 plays over 6:48 to take a 3-0 lead with 8:12 remaining in the 1st quarter.
Emory Jones converted a 4th-and-1 at the Kansas 40 to keep the drive alive and help set up a 49 yard field goal attempt and conversion by Carter Brown.
The Cincinnati defense has struggled at times this season when the offense has scored to give UC a lead.
With Kansas driving, Jonathan Thompson recorded a big tackle for loss on Kansas quarterback Jason Bean on 3rd and 1 at UC's 41 yard line. The tackle was Thompson's 3rd solo tackle of the opening Kansas drive and pushed the Jayhawks back to the 47 to force a punt
The first quarter would come to an end with the Bearcats leading 3-0.
Kansas started their next drive with a 25 yard completion from Bean to Lawrence Arnold, but the Bearcat defense would again respond when they needed a stop.
Facing a 3rd and 5 at the UC 40, Bryon Threats and Tyler Gillison stopped Kansas running back Torry Locklin for no gain to force another Kansas punt.
Brady Lichtenberg entered the game at quarterback on the first possession of the second quarter for UC but was picked off on the second play of the drive.
Looking to connect with Xzavier Henderson down the sideline, Kansas cornerback Cobee Bryant picked off Lichtenberg at the KU 23 yard line.
Kansas would capitalize on the turnover with a 5 play, 77 yard drive over the next 2:38.
Jason Bean connected with Luke Grimm for a 40 yard gain on the first play of the drive and followed that with a 10 yard completion to Quentin Skinner. Three plays later, running back Devin Neal capped off the Kansas scoring drive with a 13 yard run for a touchdown.
With 8:55 remaining in the 2nd quarter, Kansas led Cincinnati 7-3.
Cincinnati's offense couldn't get anything going on their next offensive possession and Kansas would take advantage of the struggles once again.
On the third play of the KU drive, Devin Neal broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and raced 38 yards to the UC 22.
Two plays later, Jason Bean hit tight end Jared Casey for a 15 yard touchdown to extend their lead to 14-3 with 5:31 remaining in the 2nd quarter.
Kansas' scoring drive took 2:22 off the clock as they drove 66 yards on 5 plays and were dominating the quarter, outgaining UC 177-23.
UC showed some life on their next possession and put together a 13 play, 75 yard drive over 5;05 to cut the Kansas lead to 14-10 with 26 seconds remaining in the half. Emory Jones connected with Ryan Montgomery for an 11 yard touchdown to cap the drive.
It looked like UC would go in to the half with some momentum following the scoring drive, but a squib kick led to Kansas returning the kickoff to their own 44.
Jason Bean found Lawrence Arnold for a 30 yard completion on the first play and then hit his tight end, Mason Fairchild, for a 26 yard touchdown with 5 seconds remaining in the half.
At the half, KU led 21-10 and Jason Bean was 10-for-10 for 190 yards and two touchdowns.
UC was outscored 21-7 in the second quarter and out-gained 233-116 in the second quarter.
The one positive note in the first half was Corey Kiner going over the 1,000 yard mark for the season on an 18 yard run to close out the half. Kiner finished the first half with 72 yards on 12 carries.
Kansas picked off where they left off in the first half on their opening drive of the second half.
Jason Bean misfired on his first two passing attempts of the drive but converted a 3rd-and-10 for 19 yards to Lawrence Arnold. Kalen Carroll was called for a defensive passing interference two plays later to advance KU to the UC 40.
After picking up another first down to the UC 30, Devin Neal took a direct snap 30 yards for a touchdown to extend Kansas' lead to 28-10 with 11:53 on the clock in the third quarter.
Kansas' scoring drive consisted of 8 plays, 75 yards in 3:07 and marked the fourth consecutive drive that the Jayhawks had scored.
UC's offense put together a 13 play, 50 yard drive on their next possession but Kansas defense stopped a WR screen attempt on 3rd and 8 to force a field goal attempt.
Carter Brown came on pushed the kick wide right from 42 yards out and Kansas' offense took over at their own 25.
Trailing 28-10, UC's offense would drive 67 yards on 12 plays to cut Kansas' lead to 28-16 with 13:23 remaining in the game.
Ryan Montgomery connected with Dee Wiggins for a 7 yard touchdown to cap the scoring drive off. Emory Jones made a nice effort on the two point conversion attempt, but after initially being ruled good, was ruled that he lost possession of the ball prior to touching the pylon.
Kansas answered the UC scoring drive with a 3 play, 79 yard drive and scored in 1:39 after Jason Bean took a quarterback keeper around the right side for a 43 yard touchdown.
The score extended the KU lead to 35-16 with 11:39 left in the 4th quarter.
Bean took his next carry 50 yards for another touchdown to extend the Kansas lead to 42-16 with 9:52 remaining in the game.
Following the score, the Cincinnati defense had given up 42 points on 40 plays and 491 yards of offense. 408 of those yards had come on just 15 plays.
Kansas added a touchdown with 47 seconds left in the game and walked off the Nippert Stadium field with a 49-16 victory over the Bearcats.
Final Stats and takeaways:
- Cincinnati gave up 562 total yards of offense and 312 yard on the ground. Coming in to the season this was supposed to be a team that was stout against the run, given the experience and talent in the front 7. That unfortunately did not translate as the season wore on and will have to be addressed this off season in both player development and the transfer portal.
- Jason Bean started the game 10-for-10 for 190 yards and two touchdowns and finished 13-of-17 for 250 yards. He also added 90 yards on the ground on 4 carries,
- Devin Neal led Kansas in rushing with 106 yards on 10 carries.
- Corey Kiner was one of the few bright spots offensively, He finished the game with 106 yards on 18 carries, while surpassing the 1,000 yard mark on the season.
- The offense struggled at times but still finished with 342 yards of offense. Emory Jones completed 15-of-27 passes for 104 yards and rushed 13 times for 61 yards
- Big plays again put this defense in bad spots. Kansas had 17 plays over 10 yards for a total of 442 yards.
- Jonathan Thompson led the defense with 8 tackles, 7 solo. For a guy that began starting midway through the season, he has played well and should be a key building block heading in to next season.
This season did not play out as expected. Cincinnati fans are not used to losing like this so there is obvious frustration. Fans need to keep things in perspective as we head in to the off season. Seeing the bigger picture is what is most important right now. As frustrated as fans are with the losses, nobody is more disappointed or frustrated than the coaching staff and players.
Scott Satterfield discussed below what this season has taught him: