Cougars outlast Cincinnati in Thursday night test
Despite what the score may indicate, the University of Cincinnati Bearcats gave the Houston Cougars all they could handle on Thursday night. In front of a sold out crowd at Nippert Stadium, the football team defeated the Bearcats, 40-16, thanks in large part to a late push that helped to seal the third win of the season.
Senior linebacker Steven Taylor could not be contained by the Bearcat blockers.
Taylor led the Cougars with nine tackles, which included two sacks, making him the only player on the team to record multiple sacks in all of the team’s games this season. The defensive captain also recorded a safety in the early part of the third quarter and played a huge role in pass coverage by picking off a Bearcat pass and returning it 74 yards for a touchdown.
The pick-six came at a crucial time in the game, as it extended the Cougars’ lead to 33-16 in the latter portion of the fourth quarter. Upon crossing the plane of the end zone, Bearcat fans began to file out of the stadium.
Before tonight, the Cougars’ had not yet been tested with being forced to come from behind in the fourth quarter. The Bearcats stole the games’ momentum after senior quarterback Greg Ward Jr. threw a costly interception in the redzone.
The turnover was Ward’s second interception of the game and it allowed the Bearcats to march down the field and grab a 16-12 lead with 14:57 left in the contest. Capped off by back-to-back interception returns by Taylor and Howard Wilson, the Cougars scored 28 unanswered points to inflate the scoreboard late in the game.
The interception was Wilson’s second of the game and first score of the season.
Despite putting up impressive numbers, Ward never seemed completely healthy or comfortable in the game. Still recovering from his ailing shoulder, he let nothing get in his way as he rushed a career high 26 times for 109 yards and two scores.
Having to rush many of his throws due to a collapsing pocket, Ward still managed to complete 24 passes for 326 yards. With quick decisions being made, the third year starting quarterback threw two interceptions seemingly right to Bearcat defenders.
Ward has now won an FBS-leading 16 games in a row as the starting quarterback for the Cougars.
Herman improved his head coaching career record to 16-1 and the win marks the first time the Cougars have won in Cincinnati since the 1971 season.