Both Cincinnati and Louisville wanted to start the Big East schedule on the right foot.
Both programs have first year head coaches. For Louisville’s Charlie Strong he knows how important it is to start strong -especially at home.
However, Cincinnati (3-3, 1-0 Big East) had other plans as Zach Collaros had a career night with a five touchdown performance in a 35-27 win over Louisville.
Coach Strong spoke to the media after the game and knows his team missed a golden opportunity. (Louisville Courier video)
Three of Collaros’ five touchdown passes were thrown to Bearcats’ senior wideout Armon Binns who had eight catches for a game-high 145 yards receiving.
Cincinnati’s other receiver D.J. Woods had only two catches, but the receptions were for touchdowns. However, on Woods’ final touchdown catch, he suffered a head injury and had to leave the game.
Louisville started the game well behind the power running of six-foot, 215 pound senior Bilal Powell.
Powell rushed for a career-high 209 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries that kept Louisville (3-3) in the game and the Cardinals managed to have a 24-21 lead at halftime.
Powell’s big highlight was an amazing 85-yard touchdown run that started with the senior running through multiple tackles before breaking free for the long run.
“That was an unbelievable run,” Louisville coach Charlie Strong said. “Everyone else needs to play like him.”
Even though Collaros had a great passing night, the Bearcats’ junior running back Isaiah Pead had his third consecutive game of more than 100 yards and was able to help cancel out Powell’s strong performance.
Pead didn’t get into the end zone, but his strong running kept the Bearcats’ offense on the field and set up Collaros big night.
Pead had 21 carries for 145 yards.
After Powell’s big run, Louisville offense went dormant after halftime.
The Cardinals squandered opportunities to score with two failed field goal attempts and the Cincinnati defense was able to make enough defensive plays in the end to deny Louisville a chance to tie the game.
Louisville gambled on fourth-and-goal from the 12 with 4:20 left instead of going for points with hopes of Cardinals’ defense being able to stop Cincinnati. However, Adam Froman’s pass was knocked away by Camerron Cheatham and Cincinnati got the football back to run out the clock.
“We have to go win games like this,” UofL coach Charlie Strong said. “It was a great opportunity for us to go get a good start in the conference, but it just didn’t happen.”