Cincinnati (AP) — Standing on the sideline in a sweat suit and baseball
cap, injured quarterback Tony Pike watched his backup do a nearly
Sophomore Zach Collaros threw only two incompletions
while passing for 253 yards and three touchdowns Saturday, steadying
fifth-ranked Cincinnati to a 41-10 victory over Louisville in the
Bearcats' first game without their marquee quarterback.
Bearcats (7-0, 3-0 Big East) are off to their best start since 1954
despite losing Pike, a senior whose strong arm is the perfect fit for
their no-huddle, spread offense. He didn't suit up four days after
having surgery on his non-throwing forearm, watching from the sideline
with his left arm tucked inside his jacket.
His understudy proved to be a quick study against lowly Louisville (2-5, 0-3).
his first collegiate start, Collaros went 15 of 17, repeatedly finding
receivers running open through one of the conference's worst defenses.
His 31-yard pass to Mardy Gilyard made it 31-10 midway through the
third quarter and left the senior receiver tied for the school record
with 22 career touchdown catches.
Collaros also ran for 52 yards
against a defense that is by far the worst in the conference at
stopping the run. He gave way to third-string quarterback Chazz
Anderson for the final series of the third quarter with Cincinnati up
Isaiah Pead added a pair of touchdown runs, including a 67-yarder in the third quarter.
went well for Louisville during its most lopsided loss to Cincinnati
since a 38-0 drubbing in 1951. The Cardinals fell to 4-13 against Big
East teams during coach Steve Kragthorpe's three seasons. They also
lost top running back Victor Anderson, who hurt his shoulder in the
Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly is adept at changing
quarterbacks because of injuries. He used five of them last season —
Pike broke his left forearm, had a plate and six screws inserted, and
returned after missing only two games. Wearing a cast on the forearm,
Pike led the Bearcats to their first Big East championship.
damaged the plate late in the first half of a 34-17 win at South
Florida, where Collaros took over and ran for two touchdowns. Pike had
surgery last Tuesday. Cincinnati is hoping to have him back for a game
next Saturday at Syracuse.
The game drew 35,099 fans, the largest
crowd in Nippert Stadium's history — one more than the previous mark.
Fans saw Collaros make only one bad throw, overshooting a wide-open
Gilyard in the end zone on Cincinnati's opening possession. The other
incompletion came on a pass tipped at the line.
completed 10 consecutive throws, showing that the nation's
fourth-highest-scoring team wasn't going to fall apart without Pike.
The Bearcats didn't punt until there were seven minutes left in the