Cincinnati leaves Wolfpack flustered
CINCINNATI - Six sacks, three more turnovers. Sure felt like a throwback game for Cincinnati’s defense.
Zach Collaros scrambled for two touchdowns and threw for two more, and Cincinnati’s defense had its way for much of the game last night, helping the Bearcats pull away to a 44-14 victory over North Carolina State.
The Bearcats (3-1) put together one of their most complete wins in coach Butch Jones’s two seasons, with the defense playing a starring role - much like it did in 2008, when they won the first of their two Big East titles.
“That’s what Cincinnati is,’’ said linebacker J.K. Schaffer, who had one of Cincinnati’s two interceptions. “If you look at Cincinnati three years ago, their defense got after it. And we want to get back to that. We’ve done that last game and this game, and we want to do it every single game.’’
N.C. State (2-2) couldn’t handle the Bearcats’ defensive pressure or keep up with Collaros, who repeatedly scrambled out of grasps and made pinpoint throws on the run. He ran 13 and 10 yards for touchdowns, and hooked up with running back Isaiah Pead on a 25-yard screen pass for another score. Pead ran for 167 yards and scored twice.
The Wolfpack’s Mike Glennon threw touchdown passes of 87 and 49 yards to T.J. Graham, but had two interceptions that set up early Cincinnati touchdowns and set the tone.
Cincinnati rebounded from a loss at Tennessee by returning a fumble and two interceptions for touchdowns during a 59-14 win over Akron last Saturday. The turnovers kept coming last night.
Cincinnati scored on three consecutive possessions for a 21-0 lead against a Wolfpack defense depleted by injuries. Two touchdowns were set up by interceptions.
The Bearcats have eight interceptions in four games and are among the nation’s leaders in forcing turnovers - 16 in all, scoring off 13 of them.