Offense wins Bearcat Bowl on last play

Using a complicated scoring system devised by University of Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones, the offense defeated the defense 57 to 55 on the last play of Bearcat Bowl IV, a 36-yard touchdown reception by Lynell Payne.

With rain coming down in sheets, the game was called with 3:59 left in the final quarter.

"I thought our kids came out under adverse conditions and handled it pretty well," Jones said. "It was kind of a watered down version of the spring game. This is just another evaluation to see what guys we can win with in the fall."

Bearcat Bowl IV included four 10-minute periods pitting the first team offense against the second team defense and the first team defense against the second team offense.

On the first possession of the game, the first team offense moved right down the field and scored on an 11 yard touchdown run by Darrin Williams, who replaced Isaiah Pead after the starter went down with bruised knee at practice Thursday.

One of the unique features of the game was that Jones picked out a fan several times throughout the game and let them choose from a sheet which play the offense would run.

The third fan call of the game turned out to be huge success. The third fan chose a reverse pass. D.J. Woods took the reverse then stopped short of the line of scrimmage and launched a 60 yard to Vidal Hazelton, who was tackled at the 4 yard line.

"I definitely was surprised (with the pass)," said Hazelton. "We worked on that play in practice and it definitely didn't look that pretty, so when we got in the game I didn't expect it. It was just a great pass by (Woods)."

Hazelton, who sat out last year after transferring from USC, finished with four receptions for 83 yards.

"It was just a little taste to come out here and get a chance to play football," Hazelton said. "I haven't had a chance to put a jersey on and go out there and bang for a while."

Zach Collaros did not disappoint after a nearly Wally Pipping Tony Pike last season, finishing Bearcat Bowl IV with 218 yards and two touchdowns while completing 18-of 20 passes. Collaros completed his first 11 attempts.

"Zach, I thought the last week of spring practice, he really clicked he really got a great grasp of the offense and he looked a lot more comfortable in the pocket," Jones said.

With 20 seconds left in the first half, Collaros hooked up with Orion Woodard for a 47-yard reception down to the 6 yard line.

After a pass interference on Romel Dismuke in the closing seconds of the first half gave the offense another chance to score, Collaros found D.J. woods in the back of the end zone for the first string offense's third touchdown of the day.

Woods finished with 88 yards and a touchdown on six receptions to go along with his 60-yard completion to Hazelton.

"D.J. played exceptionally well," Jones said. "He's been a model of consistency all spring so I thought he had a good performance and I thought we blocked good on the perimeter for him on the bubbles as well."

The offense led 49-44 until Sean McClellan picked off a screen pass with ten seconds left in the third period to put the defense up one.

Trailing by six a few plays before the game was called off, Chazz Anderson seemed to hook up with Lynell Payne for a 36 yard touchdown in the back of the endzone, but he was called out of bounds. Just two plays later Anderson found Payne open in nearly the same spot for a touchdown that gave the offense the win.

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