HOUSTON -- Brendon Kay threw for 386 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another as Cincinnati extended its winning streak to six games by holding off Houston for a 24-17 win Saturday.
Kay finished 29 of 50 and added 38 yards on the ground. Shaq Washington caught 10 passes for 132 yards, Anthony McClung had 9 catches for 137 yards and Chris Moore added 4 receptions for 72 yards and two touchdowns.
Hosey Williams rushed 13 times for 84 yards for Cincinnati (9-2, 6-1 American), who finished with 573 yards of offense.
John O'Korn struggled in the wet, dreary conditions finishing 13 of 30 for 171 yards and a touchdown. O'Korn was replaced by Greg Ward, Jr., in the third quarter, and Ward finished 5 of 9 for 74 yards for the Cougars (7-4, 4-3), who dropped their third straight. Ward also caught three passes for 42 yards.
After Tony Miliano missed two fourth quarter field goals, including a 24-yarder with 1:23 remaining, Houston worked its way down the field to the Bearcats' 37, but O'Korn tried to scramble on the final play, gaining only 6 yards and time ran out on the Cougars.
After a second fumble by O'Korn that was recovered by Marques Aiken at the Houston 13, Kay upped the lead to 24-7 with a 14-yard touchdown run on third and 11 midway through the third quarter.
Houston cut the lead to 10 on a 15-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Trevon Stewart with 5:22 left in the third. Kay was hit by Eric Braswell, forcing the fumble, and Stewart picked it up and ran it in.
Kyle Bullard sliced the lead to 24-17 with a 27-yard field goal with 23 seconds left in the third.
Cincinnati opened up a 7-0 lead 28 seconds into the second quarter with a 40-yard touchdown pass from Kay to Moore on third and 16.
Miliano extended the lead to 10-0 on a 25-yard field goal with 8:13 remaining in the second.
After Kay was intercepted by Steven Taylor setting up Houston at the Bearcats' 10, O'Korn found Greenberry two plays later for a 12-yard touchdown pass with 5:56 remaining in the first half to cut the lead to 10-7.
Cincinnati responded with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Kay to Moore with 1:29 left in the half to up the lead to 10. The score was set up by a 43-yard reception from Kay to Shaq Washington.
The game was marred by missed chances early.
Houston's first drive ended abruptly on an O'Korn fumble at the Cincinnati 16, recovered by Greg Blair. However, the Bearcats couldn't capitalize on the turnover as Miliano missed a 41-yard field goal.
Cincinnati was stopped at the Houston 1 on its next drive as on fourth and goal from the 2, Williams was held up by Houston's Tomme Marc and Taylor.