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UCF edges Cincinnati for first Big 12 victory


RJ Harvey rushed 19 times for a career-high 165 yards and three touchdowns as UCF earned its first Big 12 win, defeating host Cincinnati 28-26 on Saturday afternoon.

Cincinnati (2-7, 0-6 Big 12) had a chance to tie the score with 1:27 left, but UCF linebacker Jason Johnson broke up a two-point-conversion pass in the end zone.

Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee passed for 165 yards and ran for 39 as the Knights (4-5, 1-5) snapped a five-game losing streak, their longest skid since 2015.

Cincinnati was led by running backs Ryan Montgomery (113 yards, 14.1 average, one touchdown) and Corey Kiner (114 yards, 6.0 average, one TD). Wide receiver Braden Smith had six catches for 114 yards and one TD.

However, the Bearcats have lost seven straight games, their longest skid since dropping nine consecutive contests in 1998. The Bearcats, who, like UCF, are new to the Big 12 this year, have yet to win a game in the league.

Cincinnati safety Bryon Threats was ejected in the first quarter for putting his hands on a referee. The ref was trying to break up an altercation between Threats and a blocker.

The Bearcats took the opening kickoff and converted on fourth down before scoring on Carter Brown’s 39-yard field goal.

On its next possession, Cincinnati went for it again on fourth-and-1. This time, quarterback Emory Jones (16 for 22, 217 yards, one touchdown, one interception) fired incomplete, and UCF took over on its 41.

Plumlee scored on the ensuing drive, finding the end zone on an 8-yard run. Two 15-yard penalties – including one by Threats on third down – contributed to the score.

UCF took a 14-3 lead in the second quarter on Harvey’s 13-yard run. That was set up by a fumble from Cincinnati wide receiver Xzavier Henderson, recovered by UCF’s Jason Johnson.

Cincinnati closed out the first-half scoring on Jones’ 11-yard touchdown pass to Smith in the right corner of the end zone. Two runs totaling 41 yards by Montgomery set up the TD.

The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter — a 2-yard run by Montgomery to give Cincinnati a 17-14 lead and a 25-yard run by Harvey to put UCF back on top.

With 6:21 left in the fourth, Brown’s 28-yard field goal cut Cincinnati’s deficit to 21-20. Jones’ 35-yard pass to Smith on 4th-and-9 keyed the drive.

Harvey’s one-yard TD run on third-and-goal gave UCF a 28-20 lead with 2:41 left.

Cincinnati made it 28-26 on Kiner’s six-yard run with 1:27 left, leading to a failure on the two-point conversion and the ensuing onside kick.

–Field Level Media

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