No. 8 Cincinnati dominates No. 19 South Florida, but Pike hurt in victory

In what was supposed to be a tough game in a tough environment for Cincinnati, the No. 8 Bearcats easily disposed of No. 19 South Florida 34-17 at Raymond James Stadium on Thursday night. And they did it with their starting quarterback missing the entire second half.

Tony Pike suffered an injury right before halftime and was replaced by backup Zach Collaros, who supplied a touchdown run of 75 yards midway through the third quarter. He then hooked up with Ben Guidugli on a 43-yard pass completion to set up his second touchdown of the game, this time from three yards out with 13 minutes remaining in the game.

This was an impressive victory for Cincinnati, especially considering Pike didn’t play the entire second half. To beat a good South Florida team on the road with their backup quarterback should give the Bearcats leverage when the BCS standings are released for the first time on October 20.

That said, should anyone be surprised by this outcome? The Bulls were undefeated coming into this game, but their only substantial win was against a Florida State team that was obviously overrated from the start. And while freshman quarterback B.J. Daniels is fun to watch, he has a long way to go as a passer. He looked like he was playing in a pick up game tonight with the way he often ran backwards from the snap and never stayed in the pocket.

But allow me to give credit where credit is due – Cincinnati’s defense played well tonight as it suffocated USF’s running game and never allowed Daniels to set his feet and throw (whether he wanted to or not). Everyone takes about the Bearcats offense (and rightfully so), but Brian Kelly’s team has played well defensively this season too.

Kelly told Erin Andrews after the game that it “doesn’t look good” for Pike, who could miss a couple weeks with a wrist injury. While that’s unfortunate, Cincinnati has an easy stretch of games over the next couple weeks and could certainly get by with the shifty Collaros.

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