Cincinnati Football: Colerain product Ken Willis makes first career start in Big 12 debut

Cincinnati Bearcats defensive back Ken Willis makes a tackle against the Oklahoma Sooners at Nippert Stadium.
Cincinnati Bearcats defensive back Ken Willis makes a tackle against the Oklahoma Sooners at Nippert Stadium. /
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Colerain High School product and Bearcats safety Ken Willis made his first career start in the Big 12 opener against the Oklahoma Sooners yesterday.

Following a one game suspension of defensive back Deshawn Pace, Willis was thrust into a starting role and played relatively well in the recent matchup.

The Cincinnati native was a 3-star recruit coming out of Colerain before committing to the Bearcats over Miami, Toledo, West Virginia and others.

Willis recored nine total tackles and one tackle for loss against Oklahoma and should see an uptick in playing time as Cincinnati competes in Big 12 play.

Cincinnati Football: Colerain product Ken Willis makes first career start in Big 12 debut

Bryan Brown’s defense played well enough to keep the Bearcats within striking distance but the offense was never able to make a major dent in the deficit.

Check out the biggest takeaways from the Big 12 opener including continuous red zone issues that overshadowed an impressive defensive outing.

Pace was suspended for the conference debut after violating team rules but Scott Satterfield said he is expected to return and will be available next game.

The Bearcats are hoping to bounce back and snap the losing skid this weekend but a matchup against the BYU Cougars is going to be another difficult test.

Cincinnati Football: Scott Satterfield reacts to Oklahoma loss in postgame press conference

During the postgame press conference on Saturday night, Satterfield broke down the decision to start Willis against the Sooners via Cincinnati Athletics.

"“We threw him in the fire with his first start against Oklahoma. I thought he played a really solid game. He was out of position a couple of times, to be expected but he was flying around making plays and making tackles. They spread you out so at his position, you’re going to get exposed at times. You have to make plays at that position and I thought he did a really good job. It’s going to help us down the road to have him available and get some experience like he did today against a really good offense.”"

Next. Cincinnati Football: Deshawn Pace suspended for Big 12 opener after violating team rules. dark