(Saturday, September 25th)
Final Score: (8) Oklahoma 31, Cincinnati 29
Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - Landry Jones threw for 370 yards and a pair of touchdowns, as eighth-ranked Oklahoma took advantage of a pair of critical errors late to hold off a furious rally from Cincinnati, 31-29, at Paul Brown Stadium.
Jones completed 36-of-51 passes and was picked off once for the Sooners (4-0), who nearly squandered a 15-point lead, allowing the Bearcats to get to within two before shutting the door. Ryan Broyles, who came into the game with six straight 100-yard receiving contests, extended his streak with exactly 100 yards and a score on 10 catches.
DeMarco Murray added 67 yards and a score on 28 carries for Oklahoma, which improved to 44-12 in non-conference tilts under Bob Stoops.
Zach Collaros went 23-of-38 passing for 305 yards, three touchdowns and one interception for Cincinnati (1-3), which fell to 0-2 all-time against Oklahoma. Isaiah Pead gained 169 yards on 21 carries, while D.J. Woods caught seven passes for 171 yards and a score, although he muffed a late punt that all but handed the Sooners their final touchdown.
"What I saw tonight was leadership step up. Leadership from some of our seniors. I thought they came out tonight and fought against a very good football team," Cincy head coach Butch Jones said.
Cincinnati, which trailed by 15 early in the third quarter, made four consecutive defensive stops to get back into the game. Trailing by only two with eight minutes left, the Bearcats had a chance to take the lead.
Collaros went back for a pass near midfield and was hit in the middle of his throwing motion for a fumble, which was recovered by Oklahoma. Another defensive hold by the Bearcats, however, forced the Sooners to punt from the Cincinnati 43.
However, Woods muffed the punt, and Oklahoma jumped on the loose ball to gain possession at the Cincinnati seven-yard line. Jones soon put the Sooners ahead by two possessions with a four-yard pass to Trey Millard for a 31-22 advantage with 4:31 to play.
"We had some definite good fortune at the end of the game to give us the opportunity to win," Sooners head coach Bob Stoops said. "I am proud of our players. They still made some plays in the fourth quarter to give us the opportunity, along with good fortune and making a few plays when we had to."
Adrien Robinson caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Collaros with 58 seconds to go to again cut the Cincy deficit to two, but Oklahoma recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the outcome.
Oklahoma was forced to punt on the game's opening possession, and a 25-yard punt return plus a 15-yard penalty on the Sooners put Cincinnati on the opposing 32-yard line to begin its series.
A 25-yard pass play from Collaros to Anthony McClung put the Bearcats inside the 10, but Cincy couldn't punch it in, and Jake Rogers' 22-yard field goal gave the hosts an early lead.
The Sooners, though, got their offense going on the ensuing drive. Oklahoma methodically moved 80 yards in 12 plays, converting a pair of third downs and finishing on Murray's one-yard plunge for a 7-3 lead with 6 1/2 minutes left in the opening quarter.
Oklahoma's defense forced another punt, and the offense again found the end zone. An 11-play series was highlighted by a 29-yard pass to Kenny Stills that put the Sooners inside the 10, and a five-yard touchdown toss from Jones to Broyles made it 14-3 with 1:38 remaining in the first quarter.
The Bearcats finally answered, thanks to a 55-yard pass play between Collaros and Woods. That put Cincinnati at the Oklahoma five, and a four-yard scoring pass from Collaros to John Goebel cut Cincy's deficit to five after the first play of the second quarter. The extra point attempt failed.
Jimmy Stevens was able to add a 42-yard field goal for Oklahoma with a minute before halftime, giving the visitors a 17-9 lead at the break.
Cincinnati went three-and-out to begin the second half, and the Sooners responded with a 10-play, 92-yard series that ended with a five-yard rushing touchdown from Mossis Madu. Oklahoma was highly efficient on the drive, never facing a third down, and it increased the margin to 24-9 five minutes into the period.
Pead nearly responded immediately for the Bearcats, staying on his feet while he tumbled over an Oklahoma defender and running 77 yards to the three-yard line; however, replays showed his forearm touched the ground during his somersault, and the play went for only a 13-yard gain.
Cincinnati was able to manage a 43-yard Rogers field goal out of the drive for a 24-12 contest, and he hit another field goal from 43 yards away on the first play of the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to nine.
The hosts continued to press the issue, as J.K. Schaffer intercepted a Jones pass to regain possession for Cincy with 12 minutes left. On the fifth play of the ensuing drive, Collaros found Woods all alone behind the defense for a 36- yard touchdown and a 24-22 contest with 9:45 to play.
Oklahoma visited the state of Ohio for the first time since 1977, when it beat Ohio State, 29-28...The Sooners open their conference schedule next week with their traditional rivalry game against Texas, while Cincinnati next plays Miami-Ohio on October p...The Bearcats are 1-3 for the first time since 2006...Oklahoma is 4-0 for the third time in four seasons.
09/26 01:02:45 ET