Cincinnati 69, Rutgers 38
Isaiah Pead score a career-high five touchdowns - four running, one receiving - and Cincinnati's offense put together a bevy of big plays on Saturday night, beating Rutgers 69-38 in the highest-scoring game in Big East history.
The Bearcats (4-6, 2-3) piled up 41 points in the first half alone and finished tied for third-most points in school history. Pead had a career-high 213 yards on 31 carries, becoming the first Bearcat to run for 200 yards since 2004.
Zach Collaros was 23 of 39 for 366 yards, throwing for four touchdowns and running for another. The Bearcats picked up 661 yards, the second-most in school history.
Rutgers (4-6, 1-4) has lost all four games since defensive tackle Eric LeGrand suffered a spinal cord injury that has left him paralyzed from the neck down. The Scarlet Knights gave up their most points in nine years.
They kept up for a while behind receiver Mark Harrison, who had career highs with 10 catches for 240 yards and four touchdowns. It wasn't nearly enough.
The Scarlet Knights are having their worst season since 2003, the last time they had a losing record at 5-7.
Pead paced Cincinnati with touchdown runs of 24, 9 and 24 yards. He also caught a 34-yard pass for Cincinnati's first score.
The Scarlet Knights used one of their wildcat tricks to get a quick lead and scored on their opening play of each half, but couldn't keep up with Collaros' rapid-fire completions or Pead's cutback runs through a slow-to-react defense.
The Scarlet Knights stunned the Bearcats on their first play of the game. Receiver Mohamed Sanu took the snap in a Wildcat formation and threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to running back Jordan Thomas, who was uncovered along the sideline. Sanu is 5 of 7 with three touchdown passes this season.
Cincinnati more than matched the trick play with a lot of big ones.
Collaros stood his ground against a heavy pass rush and threw a 34-yard touchdown to Pead down the right sideline on the Bearcats' first drive. Pead ran 24 yards for a touchdown on the Bearcats' next possession, putting Cincinnati ahead to stay, then pitched to receiver D.J. Woods on a reverse for a 9-yard touchdown.
No matter what type of defense Rutgers played, Cincinnati found a hole in it.
Usually, a big one.
Pead's 9-yard touchdown leap - he soared over the pylon and the line judge got bowled over, signaling a touchdown from his knees - highlighted the wide-open half. It ended with another Cincinnati flourish. Collaros led the Bearcats 62 yards in only 33 seconds, hitting Woods with a 16-yard touchdown pass with 5 seconds to go.
Collaros was 15 of 21 for 273 yards with two touchdown passes and a TD run in the half alone, helping Cincinnati pile up 416 yards. Given the state of its defense, it would need more.
Rutgers' Chas Dodd threw a 66-yard touchdown to Harrison on the opening play of the second half, cutting the lead to 41-31. Cincinnati responded with Pead's 24-yard touchdown run and Collaros' third TD pass of the game for a 55-31 lead.