CINCINNATI — Gunner Kiel threw four touchdown passes, and freshman Andrew Gantz kicked a career-best 47-yard field goal with 15 seconds left on Thursday night, rallying Cincinnati to a 54-46 victory over East Carolina.
East Carolina’s Shane Carden threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter and ran 2 yards for a go-ahead score with 62 seconds left. Kiel and the Bearcats (6-3, 4-1) pulled it out in a matchup of the American Athletic Conference’s top offenses.
Kiel led Cincinnati in range for Gantz’s field goal, and the Bearcats returned a desperation lateral for a touchdown on the final play.
The comeback overcame a gamble that backfired. Cincinnati went for it on fourth-and-2 from its 33-yard line, and Kiel’s errant pitch-out was fumbled with 2:03 left. Carden’s touchdown run gave East Carolina (6-3, 3-2) its second lead of the game.
Kiel was 29 f 44 for 436 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. It was Kiel’s best showing since the third game of the season, when he hurt his ribs.
East Carolina’s Justin Hardy had 15 catches for 181 yards with one touchdown, leaving him three catches shy of the FBS career receiving record. Oklahoma’s Ryan Broyles holds the mark with 349 receptions. Hardy also had a 7-yard touchdown run on a reverse.
Carden was 35 of 61 for 418 yards and the two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
East Carolina was coming off a 20-10 loss at Temple that was set up by five turnovers on a rainy day and knocked the Pirates out of the Top 25. East Carolina is the only AAC team that’s been ranked this season.
Kiel lasted for only one pass during Cincinnati’s 38-14 win at Tulane on Oct. 31, leaving because his bruised ribs prevented him from getting anything on his throws. He healed during a bye week and was on target at the outset Thursday.
His receivers helped a lot, too, by slipping away from defenders after catches. Mekale McKay took his short sideline pass, slipped through linebacker Maurice Falls’ arms and went 55 yards for a touchdown on Cincinnati’s third play of the game.
Kiel’s third touchdown pass of the first half was a long throw to Chris Moore, who caught the ball at the 20-yard line, spun away from Josh Hawkins, and completed the 66-yard play.
QB Knight out vs. Texas Tech: Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight will miss Saturday’s game at Texas Tech.
Coach Bob Stoops made the announcement Thursday via the football team’s Twitter account.
Knight was injured while being sacked during the fourth quarter of last Saturday’s 48-14 loss to Baylor. Stoops said Monday that MRIs and x-rays were negative, and it wasn’t a concussion or head injury, but he never specified what the injury was.
Led by Moglia, team rises to top spot: Coastal Carolina coach Joe Moglia made reaching the top a habit, whether in the boardroom or on the sidelines.
The one-time CEO of TD Ameritrade is excelling in his return to college football, leading the undefeated Chanticleers to No. 1 in the Football Championship Subdivision coaches’ national rankings. It’s the latest run of success for Moglia, who increased the stock value of his company from $700 million to more than $10 billion from 2001 to 2008 at TD Ameritrade.
The Chants (10-0) are yielding similar dividends in Moglia’s three seasons, winning two Big South Conference titles and making the NCAA playoffs both years. They join Harvard of the Ivy League (8-0) as the two perfect teams in the FCS.