Rutgers' choice didn't work out. In fact, nothing the Scarlet Knights defense did worked.
Collaros led a Bearcats offense that rolled up 416 yards and 41 points – before halftime! – as Cincinnati's domination of Rutgers continued with a 69-38 smothering of the Scarlet Knights on Saturday in front of 30,265 at Nippert Stadium.
It was the most points Rutgers allowed in a game since an 80-7 loss to West Virginia in 2001, puts the Scarlet Knights (4-6, 1-4 Big East) in last place in the conference, and one loss away from being eliminated from bowl eligibility.
"That's about as poorly as we played or coached here, maybe ever, at least in some phases," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. "There's no one other to blame than me. It's my job, and we certainly didn't get it done."
As it stands, Rutgers must defeat Louisville in the home finale Friday, then win for the first time in school history at West Virginia on Dec. 4.
"We have fighters in that room," Schiano said. "They're embarrassed, as I am."
Cincinnati (4-6, 2-3) amassed 661 yards of offense, and running back Isaiah Pead scored five touchdowns (4 rush, 1 reception) and ran for 213 yards on 31carries.
Collaros finished 23 of 39 for 366 yards and four touchdowns, with the final score coming on a 4-yard pass to Anthony McClung with 5:17 to play the Bearcats ahead by 24 points.
"For them to score that many points, it's definitely embarrassing," Rutgers cornerback Brandon Bing said. "They put up what, 69? That's embarrassing. That's not what our defense is built on."
The defensive problems began almost immediately as the Bearcats mixed the pass and run in the spread offense to break big play after big play in scoring three touchdowns in each of the first two quarters.
Collaros was 15 of 21 for 273 yards and two scores by halftime as he niftily slid in the pocket to avoid Rutgers blitzes and find the matchup on a defensive back that was favorable. Whether it was Armon Binns on Brandon Bing or D.J. Woods, Callaros repeatedly located the open receiver and delivered an accurate pass.
Despite Rutgers scoring on its first offensive play, a 51-yard pass from Mohamed Sanu out of the Wildcat to Jordan Thomas just 1:13 into the game, the Bearcats never were rattled and remained comfortably in front much of the night.
"I thought coming in we had a good game plan," Rutgers defensive end Alex Silvestro said. "We didn't stop the run. We didn't stop the pass. We didn't stop anything. It was kind of a nightmare."
The Scarlet Knights' inability to slow down the Bearcats offset the most prolific output of their offense, led by freshman quarterback Chas Dodd. He completed 19 of 29 for 335 yards and four scores, but also threw two interceptions.
Rutgers receiver Mark Harrrison set career-highs of 10 catches for 240 yards and matched a school record with four touchdowns.
"It's mixed emotions a little bit," Harrison said. "I'm happy with what I did, but a loss is a loss." But the crux of how overmatched the Rutgers defense was came late in the first half.
Dodd connected with Harrison for a 5-yard score to pull Rutgers within 34-24 with 43 seconds remaining, and the Scarlet Knights got the ball to start the second half.
However, by the time the halftime was reached, Collaros led another touchdown score, driving the Bearcats 62 yards in 33 seconds. He found an open Woods, who was being trailed loosely by free safety Khaseem Greene.