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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Greg Ward Jr. Led Number 6 Houston Over Upset Minded Cincinnati

Greg Ward Jr. rallied the Houston Cougars with two fourth quarter touchdowns in a 40-16 win over the Cincinnati Bearcats.

Houston has not allowed 100 yards rushing in five games.

Cincinnati had 12 yards rushing in the first half and started its first second half possesion on its own 11.  Two plays later that total was down to one when Hayden Moore was sacked for 10 yards and Tion Green was stopped for a safety by Tyus Bowser to give the Houston Cougars a 12-10 lead.

Houston drove to the first and goal on the Cincinnati four and took the ball to the one with 1:48 left but a delay of game penalty backed them up to the six.  Alex Thomas intercepted Ward's pass in the end zone and returned it to the 20.

"I told my team that it was nothing they were doing," Ward said.  "We were shooting ourselves in the foot."

Hayden Moore found Josiah Deguara for a 28-yard gain.  After a Green run for six yards. Moore completed a flea flicker after two hand offs to Mike Boone for 35 yards to the Houston nine. Moore passed complete to Khalil Lewis to the four as the third quarter ended.

On the first play of the fourth quater Moore found Nate Cole for a go ahead touchdown.  The Bearcats went for two points but Moore's pass found his receiver past the end line.  Cincinnati led 16-12.

"It was an ugly game for a long time," Houston coach Tom Herman said.  "Nobody hung their heads.  I'm proud of the way we battled back."

Ward led the Cougars on a 71-yard drive in nine plays, finishing it himself with 12-yard run.  The extra point with 11;45 left in the game gave Houston a 19-16 lead.

"Then it exploded. They rushed for nearly 200 yards and we rushed for (30)," Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville said. "You can’t beat any good team if you can’t run the football. They put all the pressure on our quarterback and receivers and they dictated the game to us. Ward played well on third down and he took a lot of licks.

Ward, who missed the game last week with a sore shoulder, was up to the task.

"We put in a defense just for him, some guys that were faster. We did a good job in pass coverage and he’d just pull it down and run. That’s hard to defend. And we got a little tired at the end. The defense was on the field forever," Tuberville said.

Howard Wilson intercepted Moore's pass at the Houston 40 with 10:26 to play.  It was Houston's first takeaway after turning the ball over three times.

Ward completed the 60-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run.  The extra point made it 26-16.

Interception returns for touchdowns by Steven Taylor and Howard Wilson in the last 3:47 made the game look more lopsided than it was.

Moore threw Taylor's pick six for 74 yards and Wilson returned backup quarterback Ross Trail's pass 28 yards.

Houston held Cincinnati to 30 yards rushing on 25 plays.

"We embrace challenges as a defense. I learned a lot about out defense tonight," Houston linebacker Steven Taylor said.  "Our number one goal is to stop the run, hands down."

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