PROVO, Utah (AP) — Kedon Slovis threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns to lead BYU to a 35-27 victory over Cincinnati on Friday night.
Chase Roberts piled up a career-high 131 yards on six catches for the Cougars (4-1, 1-1 Big 12) to help them earn their first Big 12 victory. BYU’s offense had four touchdown drives covering five or fewer plays.
Slovis bounced back from a rough start that saw him complete only one of his first seven pass attempts. He completed eight of nine passes while leading three straight touchdown drives to put BYU ahead for good.
“We’re resilient,” Roberts said. “We have confidence in our quarterback. It all starts with Kedon and his leadership.
Emory Jones threw for 256 yards and three touchdowns and added 94 yards on the ground to lead the Bearcats. Cincinnati (2-3, 0-2 Big 12) suffered its third straight loss despite rushing for 242 yards and totaling 498 yards.
“You have to make the plays when they’re there, and they were very good at that,” Bearcats coach Scott Satterfield said. “They made the plays when they had to make ’em.”
BYU struggled to find its footing on offense before halftime. The Cougars totaled only 38 yards until their final first-half drive. Still, they grabbed an early 7-0 lead when Jakob Robinson returned an interception 42 yards for BYU’s first touchdown.
Cincinnati evened the score early in the second quarter when Jones hit Chamon Metayer in the flat on third down and Metayer raced in for a 27-yard touchdown. The Bearcats covered 90 yards in 17 plays on their first scoring drive.
Carter Brown made a 33-yard field goal to give Cincinnati a 10-7 lead.
The Cougars finally seized momentum when Slovis completed three straight passes, culminating in a 22-yard strike to a wide-open Darrius Lassiter, to go back in front 14-10 with six seconds left before halftime.
““I don’t really care how the points show up on the scoreboard,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. “I just want them up there.”
BYU kept rolling after halftime. LJ Martin bounced out of a couple of tackles and raced 29 yards to extend the Cougars’ lead to 21-10 early in the third quarter. Slovis eluded a sack and hit a streaking Roberts for a 59-yard TD pass to make it 28-13 for BYU.
The Bearcats cut the deficit in half with Matayer’s second touchdown catch but a muffed punt gave BYU the ball at the Cincinnati 15. Martin punched it in from a yard out five plays later to put the Cougars up 35-20 with 12:41 remaining.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats had early success moving the chains with their rushing attack. Cincinnati racked up 154 rushing yards by halftime. Finishing drives proved problematic.
BYU: The Cougars made a series of big plays to pull away from Cincinnati after halftime. BYU averaged 11.7 yards per play during a decisive third quarter after punting on four straight drives to open the game.
FLIP THE SCRIPT
One week after giving up 21 points off three turnovers to Kansas, BYU capitalized on Cincinnati’s mistakes. The Cougars scored touchdowns off an interception and muffed punt while committing zero turnovers.
Sitake praised his offense for taking care of the ball and his defense for being opportunistic in key moments.
“The turnovers come if you’re doing your job,” Sitake said.
Cincinnati ran 84 total plays and held the ball for 35 minutes against BYU. An inability to finish drives early doomed the Bearcats when the Cougars rattled off a series of big plays to take control of the game.
“We had the ball basically the whole first half and dominated the yards, time of possession, everything,” Satterfield said. “Really, we should have been up by 10 points, but we (trailed at halftime).”
Cincinnati hosts Iowa State on October 14th.
BYU visits TCU on October 14th.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll
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