By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
IT was a career milestone for Mavin Saunders while Chris Ferguson and the Cincinnati Bearcats became bowl eligible with their sixth straight win.
Saunders caught the first touchdown reception of his NCAA career in his Kansas Jayhawks' 38-22 loss to the No.8/9 West Virginia Mountaineers in Morgantown, West Virginia.
His career-long, 18-yard reception from quarterback Peyton Bender put Kansas on the scoreboard for the first time with 12 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
His touchdown reception was also the first to a Jayhawks tight end this season.
The graduate transfer tight end has battled injuries for much of the year and has appeared in just three games this season.Saunders had two receptions for 10 yards in an addition to a two-point conversion in a week one upset 26-23 overtime loss to Nicholls State of the FCS.
Jayhawks receiver Steven Sims also completed a reverse pass to Saunders for the successful conversion to give Kansas a 20-17 lead with 4:26 left to play in regulation.
The 6'6", 258-pound tight end has already been named to the preseason watch list for the John Mackey Award - doled out to the top tight end in all of collegiate football.
In the American Athletic Conference, Ferguson and the Bearcats improved to 6-0 with a 37-21 win over the Tulane Green Wave in Cincinnati, Ohio.
With the win, the Bearcats became bowl eligible and also moved into both the Associated Press and Amway USA Today Coaches Top-25 polls Sunday.
Ferguson scooped up a fumble and ran for six yards. Those are the first yards and first fumble recovery of his career.
Cincinnati tallied 446 yards of total offence, including 174 in the air and 272 on the ground. The total yards marks the fourth game in a row the Bearcats have recorded 400 or more yards and is the third-highest total of the season behind 741 against Alabama Aand M and 659 at UConn. Cincinnati also scored three more rushing touchdowns on the day, bringing its total to 22 on the year, doubling last year's total of 11.
With their win, the Bearcats are off to a 6-0 start, their best start since the 2009 team went 12-0 before falling in the Allstate Sugar Bowl to No.5 Florida. The Bearcats are defeating opponents by an average of 18.4 points per game.
In Division II, Michael Strachan continues to be the leading receiver for the University of Charleston Cougars and one of the leaders in the Mountain East Conference.
Strachan recorded his third 100-yard game of the season but his Cougars lost their second consecutive game of the season, 27-26 to the West Virginia Weslyan Bobcats in Charleston, West Virginia, on Saturday.
He finished with six receptions for 111 yards and one touchdown.
The 6'5", 205-pound redshirt sophomore also had games of seven receptions for 117 yards, and the season debut of four receptions for 159 yards and one touchdown. On the season, Strachan has totalled 24 receptions for 520 yards and three touchdowns.
He ranks second in the Mountain East Conference in receiving average at 21.7 yards per catch. He also ranks fourth in yards and fifth in aveage yards per game.
He continues to be a two-sport star for UC and is the defending conference champion in the 200m, 400m and 4x400m relay.