Prater, who was an ESPN 300 prospect, is regarded as one of the most decorated recruits in program history, but was just 10-of-26 passing for 102 yards and an interception on Friday.
"I thought Evan did a great job,'' Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell said. "I didn't look at the stats just yet. I know he's heartbroken. He's crushed. ... we talk about taking care of each other but putting him in a situation with a minute-30, a minute-40 and no timeouts is not taking care of him. He played with poise. He played with a lot of confidence.''
Prater entered in a high-stakes situation. The Bearcats and Green Wave were both 6-1 in American Athletic Conference play. Cincinnati could have hosted the conference championship game at Nippert Stadium with a win. Now, the Bearcats could be knocked out of the title game with a UCF win over South Florida on Saturday night.
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 had 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.
The insertion of Prater will mean a much different dynamic on offense for Cincinnati. Prater, a former Ohio Mr. Football, is 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds and brings a true dual-threat dynamism.
Prater has made a significant impact on the Bearcats this season. He led a come-from-behind win over South Florida in October and played a majority of the game against Temple after Bryant's injury, finishing 12-for-17 for 127 yards.
In 2022, Prater has completed 72% of his pass attempts and has run for 113 yards and a touchdown. In his career, he has three rushing touchdowns and two passing touchdowns while totaling 222 rushing yards and 276 passing yards in 15 games over three seasons.