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NCAA Game Summary - Cincinnati at South Florida
(Thursday, October 15th)
Final Score: (8) Cincinnati 34, (21) South Florida 17
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Zach Collaros sparkled after replacing an injured Tony Pike by rushing for 132 yards and a pair of touchdowns as eighth- ranked Cincinnati beat No. 21 South Florida, 34-17, in a Big East battle from Raymond James Stadium.
Pike completed 12-of-25 passes for 140 yards with two scores, but didn't play most of the second half due to a sprained left wrist. Collaros finished 4-of-7 passing for 72 yards and was intercepted once for the Bearcats (6-0, 2-0 Big East), who have their highest ranking ever.
B.J. Daniels connected on 15-of-32 throws for 208 yards with a TD and an two interceptions for the Bulls (5-1, 1-1), who faltered by allowing 401 yards. That was an uncharacteristic stat for South Florida, considering the team came into the game as the nation's No. 5 ranked scoring defense (9.4 ppg). Daniels also ran for 74 yards and a touchdown.
Pike departed to the locker room late in the second quarter to get his left wrist checked out. He fell backward on his non-throwing wrist after being hit by defensive tackle Aaron Harris.
Last season, Pike broke his left forearm, but he played with a plate and screws that are still in place. He is expected to miss next Saturday's game against Louisville and Collaros will fill in.
"We are going to get a specialist to look at it," said Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly. "The plate that is in there has shifted. So, we don't know exactly what that means until he gets seen by a specialist tomorrow. It may mean surgery. It may not mean surgery. It is really going to be a situation where we will probably have good information tomorrow. I would say that definitely, he is going to be out for a little while."
Pike had x-rays, which were negative and he came back to the field to start the third quarter despite the suffering the injury to the wrist, which was covered by a padded sleeve.
The first offensive series of the second half for the Bearcats ended in a missed 41-yard field goal try by Jake Rogers.
Collaros then entered the game under center for Cincinnati on the next offensive series, and the sophomore rumbled 75 yards for a touchdown on a quarterback draw to give Cincinnati a 24-10 lead.
"I actually didn't see the signal [the play before], so we had to call timeout," said Collaros. "We got the plan, and (running back) Jake Ramsey and the offensive line opened a big hole. Jake Ramsey crushed the linebacker. I just cut off of his butt, and I guess I split two, and just tried not to get caught."
Pike later removed the sleeve and was seen on the sidelines with ice on his arm, but he didn't come back in the game.
The Bulls took advantage of an interception, which led to a Daniels one-yard QB sneak to the end zone in the final minute of the third quarter.
Collaros continued his impressive play, leading Ben Guidugli with a 43-yard pass, which was at first ruled a touchdown then overturned. The ball was put back 15 yards to the 16 when Guidugli was penalized for taking off his helmet. Cincinnati benefited from a pass interference penalty in the end zone and Collaros scored on a three-yard QB draw, stretching the ball over the goal line with 13:14 remaining.
Rogers booted a 29-yard field goal with 6 1/2 minutes left.
"I don't want to bore you with the details, but I have been down this road before," Kelly said of the QB problem. "We had some things that were prepared for the worst case scenario. We got it again today in an environment that you don't want to have to do that. Again, we played good defense. We were solid in all phases that allowed us to get a really good win against a really good [team]. That is the best defense that I have seen in a long time."
Rogers kicked a 37-yard field goal just over five minutes into the game, but the Bulls went ahead 7-3 with 6:14 remaining in the first quarter on Daniels' 28-yard TD pass to Jessie Hester.
Daniels drove USF to the Cincinnati 27, but on fourth down, his pass to Patrick Richardson fell incomplete.
The game then turned in Cincinnati's favor on the first play of the second quarter when Aaron Webster cut in front of a receiver, came up with an interception and rumbled 83 yards to the USF three. On the next play, Pike found Armon Binns on the right side of the end zone for a 10-7 lead.
"They completed a lot of third down plays, a lot of them," said USF coach Jim Leavitt. "We couldn't get off the field, and that's credit to them and not to us. B.J. forced the ball a little bit, but he's a young guy. He's trying and he worked hard, and I thought they did a good job scheming defensively. We didn't have the answers, but we are trying a little bit there."
On the ensuing possession, Delbert Alvarado was well off the mark on a 50-yard field goal try for the Bulls.
The Bearcats widened the margin to 17-7 with 4 1/2 minutes remaining until halftime thanks to an incredible diving catch in the end zone by Binns. Pike converted a 3rd-and-17 with a 25-yard pass to D.J. Woods to move the ball to the Cincinnati 34. Mardy Gilyard caught a 27-yard pass, leading to Pike's eight-yard connection to Binns in the back of the end zone.
USF's Eric Schwartz kicked a 50-yard field goal on the final play of the half to get the Bulls within 17-10.
The Bulls play at Pittsburgh next week...Pike has thrown a touchdown pass in 16 straight starts...Cincinnati has won the last four meetings in the series...Gilyard had five catches for 75 yards...USF had 12 penalties totaling 113 yards.
10/16 01:56:32 ET