HEADLINE

BYU out to reach full potential in matchup with Cincinnati

Field Level Media

September 26, 2023 at 2:41 am.

After four games, BYU coach Kalani Sitake is certain of one thing.

“I know we are a good team, and we haven’t played our best yet,” Sitake said. “We definitely didn’t play our best (last week).”

Sitake and the Cougars will try to raise their level of play on Friday night when they face fellow Big 12 Conference newcomer Cincinnati in Provo, Utah, in their first conference home game.

BYU will aim to bounce back from a 38-27 loss at Kansas in its Big 12 opener.

After three nonconference victories, including a 38-31 win at Arkansas, BYU became the latest team to be unable to slow the Jayhawks’ high-powered attack. The Cougars led 17-14 at halftime but gave up the advantage only 22 seconds into the second half on a pick-six before yielding lengthy scoring drives on Kansas’ first three offensive possessions of the half.

BYU quarterback Kedon Slovis completed 30 of 51 passes for 357 yards with two scores and two interceptions. The Cougars (3-1, 0-1 Big 12) got nothing from their ground game (22 attempts, 9 yards) and allowed 6 yards per carry to the Jayhawks.

Slovis has thrown for 1,017 yards with eight touchdowns and three interceptions in four games, relying on the trio of Chase Roberts, Isaac Rex and Darius Lassiter. They have a combined 52 catches and five scores.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati (2-2, 0-1) got Oklahoma at home for its first Big 12 game and kept the Sooners in check but couldn’t do enough on offense in a 20-6 loss last week. The Bearcats held the Sooners 35 points under their average but went just 3-for-15 on third-down conversions and couldn’t find the end zone.

“I’m very proud of our defense,” first-year Cincinnati coach Scott Satterfield said. “They held a very high-powered offense to 20 points and didn’t get a lot of help from our offense.”

Bearcats quarterback Emory Jones was 22 of 41 for 235 yards but tossed two key interceptions. He has 970 passing yards and seven touchdowns in addition to five picks on the season.

BYU has won both games in the all-time series, a 38-24 home triumph in 2015 and a 20-3 decision at Cincinnati the following year.