Competitive Collaros Leads 'Cats To Dramatic Win

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According to UC offensive lineman Alex Hoffman, his roommate Zach Collaros is the most competitive player in college football.


Collaros motion.jpg 

"I know that I'm a little biased and that sounds ridiculous to say, but I honestly believe that,' Hoffman said.


"I don't like losing at anything - I don't care what it is," said Collaros.  "Especially an argument with him."


The Bearcat quarterback's competitive side was never more obvious than in Saturday's dramatic 37-34 win at USF.  When the Bulls scored a touchdown with 1:27 left to take a four point lead, Zach was excited.


"I've never really had an opportunity to go down and win a game like that," said Collaros.  "It's what you always dream of, you know?  There was no panic at all on the sideline and I really didn't have to say anything.  Everybody was locked in and we knew what we had to do."


"We face Zach in the two minute drill in practice all of the time," said defensive end Dan Giordano.  "It was nice to watch him run it from the sideline for a change."


The Bearcats began the winning drive at their own 30-yard line with 1:22 on the clock and two time outs to work with.


"The two time outs were huge because we didn't have to force the ball downfield," said Collaros.  "I was able to throw a check-down to Isaiah Pead for a few yards and I threw a drag to Kenbrell Thompkins that he turned into a 40-yard gain." 


"I told Zach that the mark of a great quarterback is going on the road and leading your team to victory in the two-minute drill," said head coach Butch Jones.  "We executed flawlessly."


On the final drive, Collaros was 4-6 for 69 yards and he hit 3 different receivers.  The senior from Steubenville, OH scored the game-winning touchdown on a 2-yard run with 12 seconds remaining.


"He responded like great players respond," said Coach Jones.  "He's extremely competitive and he led us to victory." 


"That showed character and determination," said Isaiah Pead.  "I felt like we overcame a lot of adversity today and that's what it's going to come down to down the stretch."


"I created some of that adversity myself," said Collaros.  "On that second quarter interception, I was trying to throw the ball out of bounds - you have to believe me on that.  I was not throwing a backhand 20-yard pass.  That was supposed to go out of bounds."


Zach more than made up for the ugliest of the 711 passes he has thrown at UC, finishing 26-41 for 389 yards and 3 touchdowns passing, and 21 yards and 2 touchdowns running.  His friend B.J. Daniels posted similar numbers for USF, passing for a career-high 409 yards and 3 scores. 


"B.J. is a great competitor and I love watching him play," said Collaros.  "I find myself sometimes on the sideline watching him instead of doing what I'm supposed to be doing.  He played a heck of a game, but luckily there were only 12 seconds left when he got the ball back at the end."


With the win, the Bearcats are alone in first place in the Big East at 2-0.  They are also already bowl-eligible at 6-1 overall.


"I'm excited to get this program back to a bowl," said Coach Jones.  "But we're not satisfied - absolutely not.  The season is still relatively young, and our team has great confidence.  This bye week is going to serve a purpose and we have to do a great job.  I think you've seen a number of teams across the country have been sluggish coming off their bye week, so this is a very big week for us."


"This team has an edge about itself and we refuse to lose," said Pead.  "Every game is a championship game right now because the Big East is wide-open."


"Great character teams and teams with great leadership win games on the road, and to win the conference, you have to win games on the road," said Collaros.  "It's a great win for us.  We're going to celebrate tonight, get into the bye week, and recover health-wise."


He'll probably manage to turn that into a competition.


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Speaking of young Sam, enjoy this week's photo as he proudly displays his Zach Collaros jersey...and his trusty sword.


Sam in 12 jersey.jpg

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