HOUSTON — Corey Kiner rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns, Cincinnati piled up 204 rushing yards and the Bearcats earned their first Big 12 win with a 24-14 victory over Houston on Saturday night.
Emory Jones threw for 131 yards and a touchdown for the Bearcats (3-7, 1-6), who snapped a seven-game losing streak.
“It’s been a struggle,” Cincinnati coach Scott Satterfield said. “We all know that. This seven-game skid we’ve had, but to come out here, for our guys to continue to fight and practice the way they did and come out and play for each other and the seniors. It would be real easy for them to throw the towel in and say ‘Hey, we’ll play for next year,’ but our guys have continued to fight, and I love that.”
Kiner had his fifth 100-yard game of the season and credited his offensive line and receivers for his output.
“The O-line did a great job making those holes, and the receivers did a great job blocking on the edge and second level,” Kiner said. “It was all a team effort, and I felt like we all came together.”
Satterfield pointed to Cincinnati winning the time of possession, holding the ball for nearly 14 minutes more than Houston had, as well as winning the turnover battle 3-1 as reasons for the win.
“To get three interceptions was huge,” Satterfield said. “We’ve been losing the turnover battle, and I think for us to win that was a key of the game for us and it has been all season long.”
Jones threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Montgomery in the first quarter, and Kiner rushed for a 1-yard touchdown with eight minutes left in the second to put Cincinnati ahead 14-7. Kiner added a 5-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that upped the lead to 24-7.
The Bearcats had 368 yards of offense, while holding Houston to 241.
Donovan Smith struggled for Houston (4-6, 2-5), completing 16 of 28 passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions. Smith also rushed for 88 yards on 13 carries. His touchdown passes both went to Joseph Manjack IV, covering 7 and 2 yards.
“I thought we were ready to go gosh dang coming off a good win (last week over Baylor),” Houston coach Dana Holgorsen said. “It’s just life in the Big 12.”
Cincinnati: The Bearcats had pressure on Smith throughout the game and finished with four tackles for loss. Cincinnati has won four straight games against Houston. The Bearcats committed two penalties for eight yards and were 7 for 13 on third downs.
“I feel like we took advantage of the situation and capitalized on everything that came to us,” Dorian Jones, who had one of the interceptions, said of the defense.
Houston: The Cougars’ chances of becoming bowl eligible took a big hit with the loss. Houston finished 6 for 13 on third downs. The Cougars finished with 10 tackles for loss, including four sacks.
“We made it hard on ourselves,” Holgorsen said of the Cougars’ bowl chances. “Five and five would have been a step in the right direction. Now, it’s we better win the next two.”
Cincinnati: The Bearcats travel to play West Virginia on Saturday.
Houston: The Cougars host Oklahoma State on Saturday.
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