No. 22 Bearcats Fall in Season Opener at No. 19 Arkansas, 31-24
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Game recap: Soccer |
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 23-ranked Cincinnati football team played No. 19 Arkansas in front of the seventh-largest crowd in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium history before ultimately falling 31-24 on Saturday.
Senior Quarterback Ben Bryant thrown for 325 yards and two touchdowns, while second running back Corey Kiner rushed for 59 yards and a touchdown.
Senior running back Charles McClelland added 44 yards on five carries and 42 yards on four receptions. Tyler Scott led the receiving corps with five catches for 77 yards.
main linebacker Ivan Pace, Jr. led the Bearcats with 12 tackles and 3.5 TFL (including a sack) in his Bearcats debut. Ja’Quan Sheppard (nine stops), Jaheim Thomas (seven) and Bryon’s Threats (six) each followed with career highs.
The Bearcats led in midfield 24-17 with just over 10 minutes left when Bryant was sacked on his blind side by Arkansas’ Jordan Domineck and fumbled.
Arkansas recovered. Two plays later, Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson found Trey Knox for a 32-yard touchdown to put the home side ahead, 31-17, with 9:26 left.
Jefferson finished with three passing touchdowns and one rushing score.
UC fought back with a nine-play, 75-yard drive in 3:37 in the fourth quarter. Bryant finished for 18 and 23 yards after facing the shy 3rd and 8 from midfield, then capped the drive with an 11-yard strike for Leonard Taylor in the middle for a touchdown.
Led by Jefferson’s rush, Arkansas managed to convert early downs in the closing minutes to miss time for the win.
Cincinnati trailed 14-0 at halftime but came out on offense after the break, scoring on its first three drives of the third quarter.
UC walked for 75 yards on 12 plays just after halftime, with Bryant completing 6 of 9 passes and adding a 5-yard dash run to set up Kiner’s 5-yard touchdown that made it 14-7.
After Arkansas responded with a 19-yard touchdown pass from quarterback KJ Jefferson to Jadon Haselwood to extend their lead to 21-7, the Bearcats fought back.
Bryant found Scott for a 30-yard catch along the sideline before throwing a perfect pass to a streak Nick Mardner for a 35-yard touchdown to put UC back in a score, 21-14, at 6:50 into the third quarter. It was the first catch in a Bearcats uniform for Hawaii’s 6-6 transfer receiver.
Arkansas fumbled a hand to start their next possession and Cincinnati’s defensive end Eric Phillips recovered the ball three meters from the end zone. However, four penalties thwarted UC’s offense, the Bearcats were forced to settle with a 21-yard field goal from the senior kicker ryan coe which made the score 21-17.
Bryant passed for 177 yards in the third quarter.
Bryant completed his first five passes of the game, but his sixth attempt was denied by Arkansas cornerback Dwight McGlothern, who returned the interception 51 yards. The turnover set up a 15-yard touchdown run by Jefferson that gave Arkansas a 7-0 lead with 6:18 left in the first quarter.
After Coe missed a 48-yard field goal late in the second quarter, Jefferson’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Trey Knox put the Razorbacks ahead 14-0.
Cincinnati hosts Kennesaw State for its home opener on Saturday, September 10 at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN+.
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The University of Cincinnati Department of Athletics competes at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics with a vision to achieve Next Level Success for the 18 university teams and more than 500 student-athletes. The Bearcats have a proud athletic history, winning eight national championships and 117 conference titles. Cincinnati’s men’s basketball team is among the top 15 winningest programs of all time, while the football team became the first American Athletic Conference program to make the college football playoffs in 2021 Olympic gold medalist, volleyball player Jordan Thompson, NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson and Major League Baseball legend Sandy Koufax are among the personalities who have competed as the Bearcats.
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