The Cincinnati Bearcats and Houston Cougars played in front of a sellout of 40,015 fans and 7,813 of them were student which was a record for the school. To say the stadium was rocking was an understatement, everybody was locked in before the game got started.
The first quarter the Bearcats hung tough with the Cougars matching touchdowns as Greg Ward, Jr. hit Chance Allen for a 39 yard touchdown and Hayden Moore hit Devin Gray for a 61 yard touchdown. The major problem that stuck around all night was they couldn’t run the ball at all as they finished the quarter with 7 yards on 6 attempts.
In the second quarter the Bearcats did a few things that should’ve resulted in points. Cornerback Grant Coleman had two big plays first picking off Ward close to the red zone that resulted in a 4th and 1 play that resulted in a Houston stop, later in the quarter he had a huge fumble returns as Kimoni Fitz caused a fumble, but the brigade of players allowed Ward to make the tackle on the other side of the field. That play allowed the Bearcats to tie the game at 10 at the half with an Andrew Gantz field goal from 37 yards out.
In the third quarter they allowed a huge safety as Tion Green got stuffed in the end zone. Later in the quarter the Cougars were in the red zone and cornerback Alex Thomas made a huge interception. After the interception the offense pushed the ball down the field and took a 16-12 lead, key plays to Josiah Deguara (28 yard reception), Michael Boone (35 yard reception) and a touchdown to Nate Cole. Kahlil Lewis caught the 2 point conversion, but didn’t get his foot down inbounds and that proved huge when the game was close. On a huge 3rd and 11 play, Ward scored a 12 yard touchdown to put the Cougars up and they wouldn’t be as close as 19-16 again. In the fourth quarter it got ugly fast in and I hurry as the Bearcats were only down 10 points and then two pick six’s in a row they ended up losing 40-16.
Key stats were the Bearcats only ran for 30 yards, the Cougars converted on 11 of 21 third downs and Greg Ward, Jr. threw for 326 yards on 24 of 36 passing with 1 touchdown and 76 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns. Ward did have 2 interceptions, but when the Cougars needed him, he made the plays.
The Bearcats will be off until next Saturday, when they face Miami of Ohio for the Victory Bell.