For football fans who love plenty of offense, Rutgers and Cincinnati put on a show. For the Rutgers’ coaching staff, however, it’s may be a time for head-scratching. After scoring just 10 points last week, Cincinnati rarely failed Saturday night as the Bearcats stunned the Scarlet Knights with a 69-38 victory in a Big East Conference victory at Nipper Stadium.
Both quarterbacks, Chas Dodd for Rutgers and Zach Collaros for Cincinnati, threw four touchdown passes as the clubs combined for a league-record 107 points. Collaros went 23-of 39 for 266 yards; Dodd went 19-of-29 for 335 yards. Mark Harrison caught 10 of Dodd’s passes for 240 yards and all of the freshman’s touchdown passes.
It wan’t just the passing game which doomed Rutgers (4-6, 1-4 Big East). Isaiah Pead ran 31 times for 213 yards and four touchdowns as Cincinnati (4-6, 2-3) posted 295 yards on the ground. Rutgers, on the other hand, could not establish a rushing offense as the Bearcats held the Scarlet Knights to minus-9 yards in 27 carries.
The rapid-fire scoring began early as Mohamed Sanu, in the “Wild Knight” formation, tossed a 51-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Thomas with 13:45 remaining in the first quarter. Collaros followed with a 34-yard scoring pass to Pead at 12:15, then Pead ran in from 24 yards out at 9:06.
The first half closed the same way: Pead’s 9-yard scoring run made it 34-17 at 3:00; Dodd tossed 5 yards to Harrison with 43 seconds remaining, then Colaeros completed a 33-second drive with a 16-yard pass to Woods with 5 seconds left for the 41-24 halftime lead.
It didn’t stop when the teams returned for the second half as both teams scored in the first four minutes. Dodd found Harrison for a 66-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the second half, but Pead ran 24 yards for a touchdown to restore the 17-point margin at 48-31. Dodd connected with Harrison for a score again, for 36 yards, but Collaros threw two more touchdowns and Pead ran for one more to pull away.
Rutgers must defeat Louisville on Friday and West Virginia on Dec. 4 to be bowl-eligible. Friday’s game is at 11 a.m. at Rutgers Stadium; it will be broadcast on ESPN2.