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It was close for a while, but No. 6 Houston came up with a pick-6 on back-to-back plays late in the fourth quarter to pull away from Cincinnati and move to 3-0 on the young season with a 40-16 road victory Thursday night.
Cincinnati’s upset bid grew legs early in the fourth quarter after a four-yard touchdown pass from Hayden Moore to Nate Cole gave the Bearcats their first lead of the night. The score was set up by a double reverse flea flicker at the end of the third, which followed an interception of Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr. in Cincy’s end zone.
However, Houston responded to the touchdown moments later with one its own, and that was the beginning of the end for Tommy Tuberville’s group.
It was a tough night overall for Ward, who finished 24-of-36 for 326 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He also carried the ball 26 times for 73 yards and two touchdowns.
Ward, though, took several big hits in his first game back from a shoulder injury that kept him sidelined last week. He told ESPN after the game he played with “a lot of pain.”
Ward’s counterpart, Moore, played well for the most part, but his two late picks sealed his team’s fate. Moore finished the game 21-of-37 for 275 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
After surviving the short week, Houston will now have nine days to prepare for its next opponent – Texas State.