Hill helps BYU pull away to 20-3 win over Cincinnati
CINCINNATI (AP) BYU enjoyed the chance to simply grind one out.
Taysom Hill set up his touchdown scramble with a long flea-flicker completion, and BYU pulled away to a 20-3 victory over Cincinnati on Saturday despite losing running back Jamaal Williams for much of the second half.
''People say a 20-3 game isn't exciting, but that's my kind of excitement,'' BYU coach Kalani Sitake said.
Williams got his right foot twisted on a run to the 1-yard line early in the third quarter and limped off the field. Squally Canada took over and carried it the final yard for a 17-3 lead. BYU's career rushing leader returned in the fourth quarter and finished with 92 yards on 25 carries.
BYU (5-4) has won four of its last five games.
Cincinnati (4-5) didn't get much out of its offense with Gunner Kiel back at quarterback for the third straight game. The Bearcats managed only 185 yards in the first three quarters while the Cougars took control. Cincinnati hasn't scored a touchdown in its last six quarters.
The Bearcats have lost four of five.
''Everybody's talking about getting to a bowl game,'' Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville said. ''I just want to get a touchdown. We are struggling big-time.''
Hill put the Cougars ahead to stay just before halftime. He completed a 43-yard pass to Johan Trinnaman off a flea-flicker with 48 seconds left. Three plays later, he scrambled 8 yards for a 10-3 lead. Hill was 15 of 25 for 130 yards, and he ran 12 times for 75 yards.
''When we run the ball like that, we're hard to beat,'' Hill said. ''On the flea-flicker, the safety bit on the run. After that we were able to run the ball better.''
Cincinnati never threatened in the second half. The Bearcats converted only four of 13 third downs, unable to put together drives.
''It's who game-plans better, and they did a better job on third down,'' Cincinnati running back Tion Green said. ''They just got us on third down.''
It was the first time that BYU held a team without a touchdown since a 64-0 win over Savannah State in 2014. The Cougars defense essentially sealed the win when it stopped Green for no gain on fourth-and-2 at the BYU 37-yard line in the fourth quarter. The Cougars added a field goal in the final minutes.
BYU: It was a rare, comfortable win for the Cougars, who have had six games decided by three points or less. Another game was lost in overtime.
Cincinnati: Kiel went 19 of 32 for 199 yards with a costly interception. He threw directly to Austin McChesney at the BYU 10-yard line on the Bearcats' second possession of the game.
''We have not seen a whole lot of improvement on offense the last three games,'' Tuberville said. ''We've tried it all. We've tried every quarterback. We've tried every running back.''
BYU: Cougars host Southern Utah next Saturday, the first of three home games to end the season. They also host Massachusetts and Utah State.
Cincinnati: Bearcats are at Central Florida next Saturday as they return to American Athletic Conference play. They finish at home against Memphis and at Tulsa.
More AP college football at www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25.