Opportunistic Cougars take care of Bearcats with explosive fourth quarter

The Bearcats could feel the upset when Alex Thomas intercepted a pass thrown by Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr. in the end zone that was turned into a touchdown and a 16-12 in the third quarter of the contest Sept. 15.

That feeling lasted all of three minutes, the amount of time it took for Ward to lead the Cougars on a 71-yard drive that ended when he scored on a 12-yard scamper on third-and-11 and a 19-16 lead Houston, ranked No. 6, never relinquished.

It was the first of four consecutive Houston scores that led to a 40-16 victory. Ward added the next touchdown when he ran for a three-yard score.

The other scores came off interception returns for touchdowns: Steven Taylor for 74 yards and Howard Wilson for 28 yards.

The two teams played to a 10-10 half-time tie. Ward threw an interception that stalled one drive, and receiver Isaiah Johnson fumbled in one of the most fascinating ways. As he was about to go out of bounds, he was hit on the arm that secured the ball. But the ball went straight up in the air and fell safely into the waiting arms of Grant Coleman.

That led to a 37-yard field goal by Andrew Gantz to end the half.

Ward finished the game with 326 passing yards, a touchdown and two interceptions and 26 rushes for 73 yards and two scores. Receiver Linell Bonner had eight receptions for 119 yards, while Chance Allen caught five passes for 94 yards and a touchdown.

Cincinnati quarterback Hayden Moore threw for 275 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Receiver Devin Gray caught four passes for 97 yards and a score, and Nate Cole had nine receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown.

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