Cincinnati starting quarterback Ben Bryant will not play again this season with a foot injury, a source told ESPN on Friday.
With Bryant, redshirt sophomore Evan Prater will make his first career start for the No. 24 Bearcats in Friday’s game against No. 19 Tulane (noon ET, ABC). An ESPN 300 pick, Prater is considered one of the most decorated recruits in program history.
Prater finds himself in a high-stakes situation. The Bearcats and Green Wave are both 6-1 in American Athletic Conference play, and a win in Cincinnati would mean the Bearcats would host a conference game at Nippert Stadium next week. It would mark their third consecutive title game appearance. A Bearcats loss combined with a UCF win over South Florida would have eliminated the Bearcats from the title game.
Bryant left last week’s game against Temple in the first half and was spotted on the sideline with a boot on his right foot late in the game. He started every game for Cincinnati this season after transferring back to the school from Eastern Michigan, throwing for 2,732 yards, 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Inserting Prater will mean a much different offensive dynamic for Cincinnati. Prater, former Ohio Mr. Football, at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, he brings true dual-threat dynamism.
Pratr has made a big impact on the Bearcats this season. He led a come-from-behind victory over South Florida in October and played most of the game against Temple after Bryant’s injury, going 12-17 for 127 yards.
In 2022, Prater completed 72% of his pass attempts and ran for 113 yards and a touchdown. He has three rushing touchdowns and two passing touchdowns in his career, totaling 222 rushing yards and 276 passing yards in 15 games over three seasons.