Harvey scores 2 TDs as UCF beats No. 20 Cincinnati 25-21

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ORLANDO, Fla. – RJ Harvey had a 17-yard touchdown run with 48 seconds remaining, sending UCF to a 25-21 win over No. 20 Cincinnati on Saturday.

Harvey’s go-ahead TD capped a seven-play, 75-yard march directed by Mikey Keene. The backup quarterback was 4 for 4 for 57 yards on the drive.

Cincinnati (6-2, 3-1 American Athletic Conference) took a 21-18 lead with 3:04 remaining. Ryan Montgomery scored on a 39-yard touchdown run, and the Bearcats added the 2-point conversion on a Ben Bryant pass to Tyler Scott.

UCF (6-2, 3-1) took a 10-6 lead into halftime on the strength of a 26-yard touchdown run by Harvey. The Knights added a safety in the third quarter when Josh Celiscar sacked Bryant in the end zone.

Cincinnati had won six in a row since a season-opening loss to Arkansas. Bryant passed for 298 yards and a touchdown, and Montgomery had a team-high 40 yards rushing on three carries.

Harvey had 18 carries for 84 yards for UCF. The Knights finished with 258 yards on the ground and 247 through the air.

Following a fumble recovery, Bryant threw a 14-yard touchdown to Josh Whyte to make it 13-12 at the end of the third quarter. Whyte’s TD capped a 10-play, 84-yard drive.

UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee was 7 of 11 for 71 yards when he was knocked out of the game late in the first half. He also rushed for 31 yards.

THE TAKEAWAY

Cincinnati: Outside of Montgomery’s touchdown run, the Bearcats couldn’t get anything established on the ground.

UCF: Keene’s experience from starting 10 games last year as a true freshman proved to be invaluable. He walked into a tough situation, but one he was familiar with. Keene put together his best drive of the day when the Knights needed it most and kept UCF in contention for the American Athletic Conference championship.

UP NEXT

Cincinnati: Will host Navy next Saturday.

UCF: At Memphis next Saturday.

Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. returning for 2023 season

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
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SEATTLE – Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. said Sunday he will return to the school for his sixth and final season of eligibility in 2023.

Penix announced his decision on social media and it was a surprising one at that. Penix was the national leader in passing this season, throwing for 4,354 yards and led Washington’s turnaround. The No. 12-ranked Huskies went 10-2 in the regular season, finished tied for second in the Pac-12 and will face No. 21 Texas in the Alamo Bowl.

Penix will have a chance at setting Washington’s single-season record for yards passing in the bowl game. He also threw 29 touchdowns this season. Because of his performance this season, Penix saw his NFL draft stock rise to where he was being expected to be a second-day pick at the latest.

In his announcement, Penix wrote, “As I look back on this special season we had, I realized there were so many great moments and things to celebrate, but I KNOW there is so much for out there for this team and the job is still not finished. I can’t wait to be playing in Husky Stadium for the 2023 season!”

Penix started his career at Indiana and showed flashes of stardom while also battling injuries. He transferred to Washington after the 2021 season, a move that reunited him with new Huskies’ coach Kalen DeBoer, who was Penix’s offensive coordinator for one season at Indiana.

North Texas fires Littrell after .500 record over 7 years

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
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DENTON, Texas – Bowl-bound North Texas has fired coach Seth Littrell, who went 44-44 over seven seasons.

University president Neal Smatresk said Sunday night that the decision to make the move came after a thorough assessment of the program.

The Mean Green are 7-6 this season after losing 48-27 to UTSA in the Conference USA championship game Friday night.

Phil Bennett, their defensive coordinator the past two seasons, was named interim head coach. North Texas plays Boise State in the Frisco Bowl on Dec. 17.

The 44-year-old Littrell had one year left on his contract in what was his first head coaching job. He was the youngest coach in Conference USA and one of the youngest at the FBS level when he arrived after two seasons as offensive coordinator at North Carolina with UNT coming off a 1-11 season at the time.

While the Mean Green are going to their sixth bowl since Littrell first got there, they haven’t won any of those yet. The bowl in his debut season came after only five wins since there weren’t enough bowl-eligible teams to fill all of the slots. Consecutive nine-win seasons followed in 2017 and 2018, but they then had three consecutive losing records before this year.

North Texas also has an interim athletic director after Wren Baker was named as West Virginia’s AD last week.

Smatresk said Jared Mosley, the chief operating officer of UNT athletics, will serve as interim AD. The university is working with a search firm to find Baker’s successor.