Bearcats Drop 5th Straight
The Bearcats returned to action Saturday afternoon in front of a sold out Nippert Stadium crowd to take on the Baylor Bears. In the first meeting between the two programs, both entered the game 2-4 and were facing a must win situation.
Cincinnati was riding a 4 game losing streak, 3 consecutive losses at home, while Baylor was trying to get back on track after a 39-14 loss to Texas Tech prior to their bye week last week. As Scott Satterfield stated earlier in the week in his press conference, this was a game that was going to come down to who simply wanted it more.
Baylor won the toss and deferred to the second half to give the Bearcats the ball first at their own 18 yard line.
On the second play of the game, it looked like the Bearcats offense may get things rolling early. Corey Kiner ripped off a 38 yard run to advance the ball to the Bears' 44 yard line. Three plays later, the UC offense converted a 4th and 4 on a 7 yard completion to Braden Smith..
Scott Satterfield's offense would find themselves in another 4th down situation 3 plays later, needing one yard to the Baylor 24. Emory Jones fumbled the exchange for a 3 yard loss and just like that, Cincinnati lost all momentum gained on their first drive.
Dave Aranda mentioned earlier in the week that Baylor needed to pass with more success to open up the run game. Baylor completed an 11 yard pass on their first play of the ensuing drive, but the Bearcats defense would force two incompletions and Deshawn Pace hit Monaray Baldwin in the backfield for a 3 yard loss to force a punt.
The second Bearcats' drive would yield little success as well, as Cincinnati was held to a 3 and out.
We have seen Cincinnati struggle with special teams kick coverage over the past few weeks and it was evident again on the second punt that this team has multiple areas to continue to improve on. Josh Cameron returned Fletcher's punt 41 yards to the Cincinnati 33 and just like that, Baylor was in field goal range.
After multiple Cincinnati stops and a false start on the Baylor offense, a 4 play negative 3 yard drive would result in a 54 yard Isaiah Hankins field goal to give the Bears a 3-0 lead with 5:55 remaining in the 1st quarter.
Coming in to this game, it was evident that Cincinnati could run on this Bears defense based on what was seen on film in Baylor's previous games.
The offense got things rolling on their third drive with a ground and pound attack. Emory Jones picked up 26 yards on 6 carries, Myles Montgomery rushed for 24 yards on 3 attempts, and Corey Kiner ripped off a 14 yard gain as the Bearcats marched 75 yards on 14 plays. The 6 minute drive was capped off with a Jones to Xzavier Henderson 4 yard touchdown pass to give Cincinnati a 7-3 lead with 14:55 remaining in the second quarter.
It wouldn't take long for the Baylor offense to answer the Cincinnati scoring drive.
Blake Shapen found Ketron Jackson Jr over the middle on the first play for a 41 yard completion to get the drive going. Shapen picked up 14 yards on the ground 2 plays later and Monaray Baldwin took an end around 12 yards two plays after that to the Bearcats 8 yard line. Shapen took a quarterback keeper in the end zone two plays later from 3 yards out to cap off a 7 play, 75 yard drive over 2:39. With 12;16 remaining in the 2nd quarter, Cincinnati found itself down 10-7...and things would get worse from there.
On the kickoff following the Baylor touchdown, Braden Smith fumbled the ball directly in to the hands of a Baylor defender, who then returned the fumble in to the end zone for another Baylor score. Seven seconds after Baylor regained the lead, they had extended it to 17-7 with 12:09 showing on the clock in the second quarter.
UC's offense went 3 and out on their next drive and Baylor extended their lead to 20-7 with an Isaiah Hankins 43 yard field goal with 7:18 remaining in the half. The Baylor scoring drive took 8 plays, 47 yards over 2:44. The key stat? Baylor had 20 points with just 132 yards of offense.
Cincinnati would answer with a 4 play, 75 yard drive over 1:19 to close the deficit to 20-14 with 5:59 remaining in the half.
Emory Jones found Xzavier Henderson for a 30 yard catch and run on a wide receiver screen to start the drive. Two plays later, Myles Montgomery would take a carry off the right side 38 yards to the house for his first touchdown of the season. And just like that, the Cincinnati fans were back in the game and a factor.
Cincinnati stopped Baylor on a key 4th down on the next possession as Bryan Threats laid what was probably the hit of the game on Baylor's Shapen to give the UC offense the ball back.
With an energized Cincinnati crowd coming alive, the Bearcats offense was unable to get anything going after the big defensive stop. An unsuccessful run on first down led to Emory Jones being sacked on 2nd and 3rd down to force the Bearcats to give the Baylor offense the ball back with 1:49 left in the half at their own 36 yard line.
Neither team was able to capitalize on the other's offensive struggles over the final 2 minutes of the half and the first half came to an end with Baylor leading UC 20-14. Despite leading at the half, Baylor was outgained 218-187 with 82 of their yards coming on two plays.
Cincinnati running backs averaged 5.9 yards per carry in the first half and had 187 yards as a team. Kiner led the way with 82 yards on 10 carries, while Myles Montgomery had 67 yards on 7 carries.
Even with the special teams miscues, Cincinnati was still in the game with Baylor receiving the second half kickoff.
The defensive struggles in the secondary on deep throws would carry over to the second half. On the 4th play of the opening drive, Ketron Jackson got behind the UC secondary for a 55 yard completion to the UC 6 yard line. Two plays later, Shapen found Jake Roberts for a 6 yard touchdown to extend the Baylor lead to 26-14. The 6 play, 75 yard scoring drive took just 2:43 off the clock to open the half.
Corey Kiner led the Bearcats in the first half on the ground and he continued his big day on the ground on the Bearcats first offensive drive of the half, On his second carry, Kiner exploded off the left side of the line for a 40 yard gain to the Baylor 33.
The offense avoided a major disaster on a trick play attempt on the next play where Jones gave the ball to Braden Smith on an end around, who turned back for a pass to Jones. The pass was incomplete but originally called a fumble. After being overturned, Cincinnati was unsuccessful on a 4th and 3 from the Baylor 15.
With the offense not taking the points and attempting the field goal, it brought boos and clear displeasure from the fans and students that remained in the stands.
Baylor would take over at their own 15 and use a 9 play, 56 yard drive over 4:34 to extend their lead to 29-14 with an Isaiah Hankins 46 yard field goal. With 5 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, fans began filing out of the stadium.
The Bearcats' offense would once again respond when facing a double digit deficit.
Over the next 5:32, Cincinnati would use 12 plays to go 62 yards to cut the Baylor lead to 29-21 with 14:20 left in the 4th quarter. Myles Montgomery capped the drive off with a 1 yard touchdown run with Dontay Corleone and Jowon Briggs leading the way on the right side of the line. Emory Jones was 5 of 6 passing for 42 yards on the drive.
Baylor once again did what they needed to on their next drive to keep Cincinnati from having a chance at a game tying drive.
Blake Shapen completed 5 of 7 passes for 44 yards and Baylor picked up 30 yards on 5 carries as they extended their lead to 32-21 with 7:01 remaining. Isaiah Hankins connected on a 43 yard field goal to cap off a 15 play, 57 yard drive that took 7:14 off the clock.
The Cincinnati offense was not ready to throw in the towel just yet.
Emory Jones led the offense on a 6 play, 75 yard drive over 1:58 to cut the deficit to 32-27. The scoring play was a 29 yard Jones to Henderson connection and Jones completed the two point conversion to Evan Prater to make it a 32-29 game with just over 5 minutes remaining.
The defense did their part and got the ball back for the offense with just under 2 minutes left in the game but the Cats were pinned at their own 7 yard line.
Jones led the offense out to their own 42 yard line but a 4th and 11 passing attempt to Chamon Metayer fell incomplete. There was contact on the play but no call as Baylor brought their offense on, ran one play, then took a knee to run the clock out.
Final Score: Baylor 32 Cincinnati 29
Cincinnati falls to 2-5, 0-4 in Big 12 play.
Baylor improves to 3-4, 2-2 in Big 12 play.
Final Stats and Notes:
- Corey Kiner finished with 129 yards rushing on 15 carries. Myles Montgomery also went over 100 yards with 103 yards on 10 carries to go with two touchdowns.
- Emory Jones completed 19 of 30 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns. He seemed to struggled while in the pocket but had his first game since EKU with zero turnovers/interceptions.
- Xzavier Henderson led Cincinnati with 8 catches for 82 yards and two touchdowns.
- Cincinnati outgained Baylor 450-396
- Ketron Jackson Jr burned the UC secondary multiple times today for explosive gains and finished with 130 yards on 5 catches. He had a long of 55 yards.
- The bearcats struggled on special teams but also had issues with ball security. 4 fumbles today with one leading to a turnover.
- Deshawn Pace again led the defense with 11 tackles. Jonathon Thompson has come on lately as well and finished with 8 tackles in the loss.
Cincinnati will travel to Oklahoma State next Saturday for an 8:00 kickoff against the Cowboys.