Scores

Final

(5) Cincinnati 28

(8-0, 5-0 away)

Syracuse 7

(3-5, 3-4 home)

Coverage: ESPNU

12:00 PM ET, October 31, 2009

Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY

1 2 3 4 T
#5CIN 7 7 7 728
SYR 7 0 0 07

Top Performers

Passing: Z. Collaros (CIN) - 295 YDS, 4 TD

Rushing: I. Pead (CIN) - 16 CAR, 77 YDS

Receiving: A. Binns (CIN) - 5 REC, 138 YDS, 2 TD

Backup QB Collaros tosses 4 TDs as Cincinnati rocks Syracuse

Associated Press

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Zach Collaros makes a practice of practicing his quarterback scrambles in practice. You know what they say about practice.

Collaros threw four touchdown passes, three off broken plays, the Cincinnati defense forced two critical turnovers and the Bearcats (No. 8 BCS, No. 5 AP) remained perfect with a 28-7 victory over Syracuse on Saturday.

Fast Facts

• Cincinnati is 8-0 for the first time since 1954 (finished 8-2).

• Cincinnati has won five straight and six of their last seven against Syracuse. Syracuse hasn't beaten a top 10 team since 2002 against Virginia Tech.

• Syracuse QB Greg Paulus' 9-yard TD pass to Cody Catalina in the first quarter was the 12th passing TD by Syracuse this season (10th by Greg Paulus). That is one more than they had last season.

• Cincinnati TE Kazeem Alli caught his first TD pass since last November, also against Syracuse. Two of Alli's four career TD receptions have come against Syracuse.

-- ESPN Stats & Information

"We do a scrambling drill every day," Collaros said after just his second start in place of injured quarterback Tony Pike. "We have good chemistry with the receivers.

"All I know is I like to improvise a little bit."

To the dismay of the Orange (3-5, 0-3 Big East), who registered eight tackles for loss but only one sack.

"It's hard to run around and get someone open to make a big play," first-year Syracuse coach Doug Marrone said. "You have to have great vision. You have to keep the play going. We didn't finish."

Collaros was 22 of 28 for 295 yards and no turnovers. Always a threat to run, he managed just 22 yards on nine carries, preferring to use his strong right arm to inflict the damage.

Collaros is a remarkable 47 of 63 (75 percent) for 749 yards, nine touchdowns and one interception this season and has rushed for 213 yards and two more scores.

"He's definitely a kid that understands what's going on out there," Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly said.

Collaros hit Armon Binns on scoring passes of 81 and 13 yards off scrambles, Kazeem Alli for 16 yards off a botched field goal, and Adrien Robinson for 4 yards as Cincinnati (8-0, 4-0 Big East) won its 14th straight regular-season game to remain in contention for the BCS national championship.

"He's not a drop-your-eyes scrambler," Kelly said. "He's going to keep his eyes downfield. Syracuse is pretty good up front. There were too many times where he was flushed out of the pocket. We would have liked to have managed the game a little bit better from the pocket, but Zach is really good outside on the perimeter.

"We got our job done, and we want to get the heck out of here."

Cincinnati is one win off the best start in school history -- the 1951 team won nine straight to begin the season. Its mistake-free offense -- the Bearcats did not have a turnover and remain the only team in the nation not to lose a fumble this season -- and opportunistic defense made the difference.

"It's an amazing feeling," Cincinnati linebacker J.K. Schaffer said. "We're right where we want to be."

The turnovers cost the Orange dearly. Drew Frey intercepted Greg Paulus's pass in the back of the end zone late in the second quarter and defensive tackle Derek Wolfe recovered a fumble on a first-and-goal carry from the Cincinnati 7 by Delone Carter late in the third.

"They were driving on us," Frey said. "We definitely needed some type of spark. When they get down in the red zone, our defense usually steps up, and we were fortunate enough to make a play. I read the quarterback's eyes, and it said No. 1."

That would be standout Syracuse wideout Mike Williams, who along with Cincinnati star Mardy Gilyard were hardly noticed. Gilyard finished with six catches for 62 yards, while Williams caught four passes for 34 yards in his return from a one-game suspension. They entered the game 1-2 in the Big East in receiving, Williams with 118.7 yards per game and Gilyard with 96.3.

"He's a leaper. He makes big plays," Frey said. "One of the focal points of the game was to stop No. 1 in particular. For the most part, I think we did that. Communication was the main point, knowing where he was on the field at all times."

Collaros had three TD passes and only two incompletions in his first college start a week ago, a 41-10 victory over Louisville, and was able to scramble away from trouble and find wide open receivers most of the afternoon against the Orange.

Even when his receivers were covered, it didn't matter. Facing a second-and-9 and leading 14-7 early in the third quarter, Collaros rolled right and, just when he seemed out of time, hit Binns in the corner of the end zone despite solid coverage by Da'Mon Merkerson.

Paulus was 12 of 17 for 85 yards with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Cody Catalina and his 11th interception of the season, and heard a round of boos after his errant throw.

"We got all the way down there and executed exactly the way we wanted to," Paulus said. "We just have to close the deal."

Cincinnati didn't waste time getting on the board. Two plays after a holding call nullified a 50-yard reception by D.J. Woods, Collaros scrambled and hit Binns all alone in the right flat, and he raced 81 yards to give the Bearcats a 7-0 lead after four plays from scrimmage.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
CIN
SYR
1st Downs2115
Total Yards422283
Passing295182
Rushing127101
Penalties6-447-55
3rd Down Conversions6-117-14
4th Down Conversions1-11-1
Turnovers02
Possession29:0630:54

Passing Leaders

CincinnatiC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Collaros22/2829510.540
SyracuseC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Nassib7/10979.700

Rushing Leaders

CincinnatiCARYDSAVGTDLG
Pead16774.8033
Ramsey7273.907
SyracuseCARYDSAVGTDLG
Carter19502.6011
Bailey7344.9013

Receiving Leaders

CincinnatiRECYDSAVGTDLG
Binns513827.6281
Gilyard66210.3026
SyracuseRECYDSAVGTDLG
Davis55110.2014
Bailey33913.0030

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERCINSYR
TD07:24Armon Binns 81 Yd Pass From Zach Collaros (Jake Rogers Kick) 70
TD04:13Cody Catalina 9 Yd Pass From Greg Paulus (Ryan Lichtenstein Kick) 77
SECOND QUARTERCINSYR
TD14:11Kazeem Alli 16 Yd Pass From Zach Collaros (Jake Rogers Kick) 147
THIRD QUARTERCINSYR
TD12:15Armon Binns 13 Yd Pass From Zach Collaros (Jake Rogers Kick) 217
FOURTH QUARTERCINSYR
TD09:53Adrien Robinson 4 Yd Pass From Zach Collaros (Jake Rogers Kick) 287