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Cincinnati avoids upset with 38-23 win over Houston

Coogs put up a fight, but it wasn’t enough.

Cincinnati v Houston Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

It’s amazing how the outcome of the turnover battle can determine the game. Houston had Cincinnati on upset alert, but turnovers ended those hopes. A rough first half was followed by a better second half, but ultimately the Coogs fell short, 37-23.

On top of the turnovers, Houston’s slow start didn’t do them any favors. After the first quarter, Houston produced just 24 yards and only had 10 points at the half. An inefficient offense and an inability to contain Demond Ridder led to a 21-10 halftime deficit.

Drops by the wide receivers emerged in the first half, and killed drives, but they were also getting used to multiple passers throughout the game.

Bryson Smith, Logan Holgorsen, and Clayton Tune all took reps at quarterback. All three produced a couple explosive plays, but none provided consistent play. Tune took the most reps, finishing 9-for-27 for 184 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Houston’s five turnovers put their defense in a tough spot. One tipped pass landed right in the hands of Perry Young for a walk-in score. Overall, a sloppy game for the offense, and wildly inconsistent.


  • Houston found some success throwing deep against Cincinnati. Marquez Stevenson caught just three passes, but they went for 120 yards and a touchdown. Given the strength of Cincinnati’s secondary, that feat was impressive.
  • At times, Houston’s pass rush was effective, and the defense played with some fire. Zamar Kirven put a hit on Desmond Ridder in the third quarter that Ridder will feel tomorrow.
  • Despite their struggles, Houston never caved. Yes there are mistakes to address, but this team continued to fight despite the consistent deficit.


  • Turnovers. That goes without saying.
  • Protection of the quarterback. It didn’t matter who was throwing the football, they found little time to throw the football.
  • Officials critical calls. Houston was called for a personal foul for knocking Ridder out of bounds that shouldn’t have been called. They also didn’t get a holding penalty later in the drive. It led to a Bearcats touchdown. It didn’t determine the outcome, but it played a role in swinging the mometum.
  • Conatining Desmond Ridder. The Bearcats quarterback rushed for 50 yards, including a couple escapes from the pocket to pick up first downs.