The University of Cincinnati Bearcats embarked on their inaugural Big 12 Conference campaign with an anticipated showdown against the Oklahoma Sooners. Oklahoma is going home with a 20-6 win. The Sooners stumbled out of the gate, recording a dismal -4-yard rushing performance on their opening drive. This early setback was a glimmer of hope for the Bearcats. Gentry Williams drew a pass interference call, positioning UC favorably on the field. Ryan Montgomery hit a 40-yard field goal to give Cincinnati an early 3-0 lead.
Photo Cred: WCPO
However, the Sooners quickly regrouped. Despite an earlier missed opportunity for a touchdown, they found their footing and began to move the ball effectively. Their momentum was halted by Bryon Threats when he forced a crucial quarterback fumble, denying OU a chance to score. The Bearcats faced a nerve-wracking moment when Xzavier Henderson made a breathtaking toe-tap catch. This remarkable play underwent review but ultimately stood, allowing UC to escape the shadows of its own endzone.
Oklahoma would swiftly strike back as Nic Anderson capitalized on a pass from Dillon Gabriel, giving the Sooners a 7-3 lead. This scoring drive comprised of six plays covering 66 yards, and consumed a mere one minute and 47 seconds. The second quarter opened with the Bearcats determined to claw their way back into contention. Yet, they faced staunch resistance from Oklahoma.
Photo Cred: Cincinnati Enquirer
A combination of a sack and a false start pushed OU deep into their territory, backing them up at their own 3-yard line. Still, a remarkable 20-yard run breathed life into the Sooners’ drive as they methodically moved down the field through the air, eventually settling for a 34-yard field goal. Emory Jones unleashed a deep pass to the right, connecting with Chamon Metayer for an impressive 40-yard gain.
However, the game took another dramatic turn when Jones attempted a deep pass to the left targeting Xzavier Henderson, only to be intercepted by Key Lawrence. Lawrence’s interception resulted in a touchback. With the first half winding down, Cincinnati missed a pivotal 26-yard field goal attempt, leaving the scoreboard reading 10-3 in favor of Oklahoma. The game had already showcased electrifying moments, hinting at a thrilling second half that would keep fans on the edge of their seats.
Photo Cred: SI
The third quarter was much of the same. The Sooners struggled to generate momentum on their first possession, punting the ball back to the Bearcats. Cincinnati embarked on a methodical 12-play drive that concluded with a 55-yard field goal following a Jonah Laulu sack. OU swiftly responded, scoring a touchdown with Gabriel’s keeper after a nine-play, 75-yard drive where they found some success on the ground.
UC were threatening on their first drive of the fourth quarter, but pressure led to an interception by Billy Bowman, the second for the Sooners in the game. Oklahoma’s defense then came up big on a pair of fourth-down stops, securing a 14-point win and pushing their season record to 4-0, including a 1-0 start in Big 12 play. While the final score favored OU, the game had thrilling plays, momentum swings, and moments of sheer brilliance on both sides of the field.