The University of Houston Cougars’ defense was the key to the big win this past Saturday against the Cincinnati Bearcats. The Cougars’ defense scored 16 points by themselves with two interceptions returned for a touchdown and a safety.
On the second play of the game for the Cougars, Greg Ward Jr. found Chance Allen on a post route for a 39-yard touchdown pass. The Bearcats were able to answer right back with a 61-yard touchdown of their own. Devin Gray was able to get behind the Cougars’ secondary and Bearcats quarterback Hayden Moore was able to find him deep down the field.
The Cougars’ Brandon Wilson returned the ensuing kickoff 56 yards to the Bearcats’ 44-yard line to give them great field position. They were not able to do anything with the field position due to Ward Jr. getting sacked on third down.
At the end of the first quarter, the score was tied at seven.
During the second quarter, the Bearcats’ Grant Coleman intercepted Ward Jr. and went out of bounds at the Cougars’ 21- yard line. The Bearcats went for it on fourth down and Mike Boone was stuffed behind the line of scrimmage. Howard Wilson dropped an interception that was a definite touchdown. The Cougars, however, regained possession after the Bearcats punt.
The Cougars continued their struggles in the red zone this season. They were able to drive the ball 76 yards, but were only able to get a field goal.
The Bearcats’ Hayden Moore went down with an ankle injury late in the second quarter.
Isaiah Johnson of the Cougars tried to run out of bounds, but fumbled before he got there. The Bearcats’ Coleman recovered the fumble and took it to the Cougars’ 19-yard line. The Bearcats’ Moore came back in the game with :15 seconds left in the half. Andrew Gantz of the Bearcats made a 37-yard field and the game was tied at the half.
The Cougars’ defense came out in the second half and got a safety. Tyus Bowers and D’Juan Hines were on the tackle for the safety. During another possession, Ward Jr. forced the ball into the end zone where it was intercepted by the Bearcats’ Alex Thomas. The Cougars were on the Bearcats’ one-yard line. That was Ward Jr’s second interception of the game.
At the end of the third quarter the Cougars had the lead 12-10.
The Bearcats’ Moore lofted the ball to Josiah Deguara for a 28-yard gain. On the very next play, the Bearcats did a double reverse flea flicker down the field for 35 yards. Moore found the Bearcats’ Nate Cole in the end zone for a four-yard touchdown pass. They went for two and were unsuccessful. This was the first time in the game that the Cougars found themselves trailing. On the next series, Ward Jr. ran the ball into the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown. The drive totaled 71 yards over nine plays. The Cougars regained the lead.
The Cougars’ Wilson redeemed himself by getting an interception on Moore after he dropped one earlier in the game. The offense of the Cougars started to click, having two straight series that ended in a touchdown. Ward Jr. ran the ball in from the three-yard line to pay dirt.
For the second straight drive Moore threw an interception – this time to the Cougars’ Steven Taylor. He was able to take the ball 74 yards to the house for a Cougars’ touchdown.
On the very next play, Moore threw his second straight pick-six – this time it was to Wilson. It was Wilson’s second interception of the game.
The Cougars offense looked pedestrian for most of the game. The defense was able to really step up after they gave up the lead early in the fourth quarter. Ward Jr. threw for over 300 yards, but did have two interceptions. Ward Jr. finished with three combined touchdowns. The Cougars’ Linell Booner was the top receiver for the game with 119 yards. The defensive player of the game has to go to Wilson, who finished with eight tackles, two interceptions and a touchdown. The Cougars travel next week to play the Texas State Bobcats in San Marcos