Scores

Final

Connecticut 45

(4-5, 1-4 American)

(4) Cincinnati 47

(9-0, 5-0 American)

Coverage: ABC

8:00 PM ET, November 7, 2009

Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH

1 2 3 4 T
CONN 7 3 14 2145
#4CIN 10 20 7 1047

Top Performers

Passing: Z. Collaros (CIN) - 480 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: J. Todman (CONN) - 26 CAR, 162 YDS, 4 TD

Receiving: M. Gilyard (CIN) - 12 REC, 172 YDS

Collaros accounts for 3 TDs to help No. 5 Cincy survive UConn

Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- A young quarterback came of age, kept his team unbeaten and possibly won a starting job, too.

Sophomore Zach Collaros threw for 480 yards -- the second-best passing performance in Cincinnati's history -- and showed beyond-his-years composure on the clinching drive of a wild 47-45 victory over Connecticut on Saturday that let the Bearcats match the best start in their history.

Fast Facts

• Zach Collaros threw for 480 yards, ran for 75 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead the Bearcats. The 480 passing yards were the second most in school history.

• Cincinnati is off to its best start since 1951 when it won the MAC title. Cincinnati is 4-0 all-time at home against Connecticut.

• Jordan Todman ran for 162 yards and four touchdowns for the Huskies, who have five losses this season by a combined 15 points.

• The Bearcats have won 10 straight Big East games.

• Connecticut dropped to 1-15 all-time against AP-ranked opponents.

-- ESPN Stats & Information

Their near-perfect quarterback replacement was the driving force.

"It's an amazing feeling being out there when everything is clicking," Collaros said. "It was a lot of fun."

Cincinnati (9-0, 5-0 Big East) is off to its best start since 1951, when it won the Mid-American Conference title. The stakes are much higher this time -- the Bearcats are keeping themselves in the conversation about national title contenders. The win over Connecticut (4-5, 1-4) provided more talking points.

The best one: Where would Cincinnati be without Collaros?

He's been so sensational in his three starts in place of the injured Tony Pike -- 79 of 89 for 1,100 yards with eight touchdown throws -- that coach Brian Kelly has changed his mind about automatically benching Collaros as soon as Pike is ready to go.

Although Pike began practicing fully last week after getting a special splint for his injured non-passing forearm, Kelly is considering letting Collaros start again against West Virginia on Friday night. Until now, Kelly has said it was Pike's job when he's ready.

"He's made it hard," Kelly said. "OK, I've changed my mind based on the way he's played the last three games. I think I have to reconsider my decision."

The sophomore has taken big steps in each of his three fill-in starts. In the first three quarters alone on Saturday, he threw for 447 yards, topping everyone except Greg Cook's 554-yard passing game in the school record book.

His most important work came after Cincinnati let most of a 20-point lead slip away, forcing the Bearcats to grind it out down the stretch. Collaros went 4 for 4 for 33 yards on the final drive, completed by Isaiah Pead's 14-yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-1 play with 1:52 left that made it 47-38.

Cincinnati finished with a school-record 711 yards of offense. Collaros had a hand in three touchdowns -- he threw for one and ran for two more. His 559 yards passing and running set a school record.

"Collaros made a lot of good plays," UConn coach Randy Edsall said. "His athleticism really helps him out quite a bit. I think Brian will have a tough decision, but that's his problem."

Zach Frazer threw a 9-yard touchdown pass with 13 seconds left that cut it to 47-45, and Cincinnati recovered the onside kick to finish it off. Frazer was 19 of 32 for 261 yards.

UConn couldn't keep up with Cincinnati's high-powered offense, run by a quarterback who's no novice to winning.

Collaros went 30-0 as a starter in his last two years of high school and had one of those perfect moments on Saturday. He reared back and let fly a 41-yard pass to Armon Binns, who made a spectacular over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone while being tackled for interference.

Collaros bounced off two defenders on a 28-yard touchdown run that made it 37-17 midway through the third quarter, a seemingly comfortable lead. At that point, Kelly was considering letting Pike get in for a few throws to work off some of the rust.

The Huskies pulled off several big plays that took the game down to the closing minutes, just like all of theirs this season. Connecticut's losses have come by a combined 15 points.

"It never gets easier to take," running back Jordan Todman said. "We're going to have to deal with it. It's been a tough, tough year. We have to learn to finish."

Todman ran 46 yards for a touchdown and Robert McClain ran back a punt 87 yards for another score. When Todman went in from 1 yard out for his third touchdown of the game, it was 40-32 early in the fourth quarter -- the most points Cincinnati has allowed all season.

Todman's 2-yard run -- his fourth of the game -- cut it to 40-38 with 5:03 left, but Frazer was sacked on the conversion try, keeping Cincinnati ahead and putting the pressure on Collaros to finish the Huskies off.

He did.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
CONN
CIN
1st Downs2427
Total Yards462711
Passing261480
Rushing201231
Penalties2-107-73
3rd Down Conversions4-124-12
4th Down Conversions2-22-2
Turnovers00
Possession27:1532:45

Passing Leaders

ConnecticutC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Frazer19/322618.210
CincinnatiC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Collaros29/3748013.010

Rushing Leaders

ConnecticutCARYDSAVGTDLG
Todman261626.2446
Dixon8273.4012
CincinnatiCARYDSAVGTDLG
Ramsey12917.6044
Collaros13755.8228

Receiving Leaders

ConnecticutRECYDSAVGTDLG
Easley68714.5128
Moore47719.3052
CincinnatiRECYDSAVGTDLG
Gilyard1217214.3054
Binns510821.6141

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERCONNCIN
TD12:03Isaiah Pead 1 Yd Run (Jake Rogers Kick) 07
TD07:27Jordan Todman 6 Yd Run (Dave Teggart Kick) 77
FG04:57Jake Rogers 41 Yd 710
SECOND QUARTERCONNCIN
TD14:12Zach Collaros 4 Yd Run (Jake Rogers Kick) 717
FG09:47Dave Teggart 42 Yd 1017
FG04:49Jake Rogers 27 Yd 1020
TD01:48Armon Binns 41 Yd Pass From Zach Collaros (Jake Rogers Kick) 1027
FG00:00Jake Rogers 34 Yd 1030
THIRD QUARTERCONNCIN
TD09:59Jordan Todman 46 Yd Run (Dave Teggart Kick) 1730
TD07:03Zach Collaros 28 Yd Run (Jake Rogers Kick) 1737
TD02:08Robert McClain 87 Yd Punt Return (Dave Teggart Kick) 2437
FOURTH QUARTERCONNCIN
FG14:51Jake Rogers 35 Yd 2440
TD13:21Jordan Todman 1 Yd Run (Jordan Todman Pass To Marcus Easley For Two-Point Conversion) 3240
TD05:03Jordan Todman 2 Yd Run (Two-Point Pass Conversion Failed) 3840
TD01:52Isaiah Pead 14 Yd Run (Jake Rogers Kick) 3847
TD00:13Marcus Easley 9 Yd Pass From Zach Frazer (Dave Teggart Kick) 4547