Collaros, Wolfe continue to come up big for Bearcats

A fourth quarter field goal and few defensive stands were enough to allow Big East-leading Cincinnati to escape Heinz Field with a win against Pittsburgh.

The No. 23 Bearcats improved to 7-1 and 3-0 in the conference and now have a firm grasp on the conference lead. Second-place Lousville sports a 3-1 conference mark with its lone loss coming Oct. 15, a 25-16 setback to Cincy.

Once again, Steubenville’s Zach Collaros led the offensive charge for the ‘Cats.

Collaros threw for 214 yards, completing 19 of his 32 pass attempts. He failed to throw a touchdown and was intercepted twice. However, Collaros did damage with his legs, rushing for a pair of scores in finishing with 20 yards.

Beaver Local’s Derek Wolfe continued the top season of his career for the Bearcats’ defense.

Wolfe charted five tackles to go with two key, fourth-quarter sacks. One of those sacks of Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri came on a third-down play that resuled in a punt and diverted a Panthers’ scoring opportunity.

The former Beavers’ two-way standout has seven sacks for the season and is tied with Pitt’s Aaron Donald for the conference lead. He’s second in the conference in tackles for a loss with 12 and through eight games, has 37 stops total.

Cincinnati’s latest victory moved the Bearcats into the Top 25 of the BCS standings for the first time this season, checking in at No. 23.

Next up is a meeting with Geno Smith and the West Virginia Mountaineers at noon Saturday inside the friendly confines of Paul Brown Stadium. The game will be televised nationally.

Road contests with Rutgers and Syracuse follow before the regular-season finale, Saturday, Dec. 3 at home against Connecticut.

Division II

  • Martins Ferry’s Marco Richchetti had six tackles and a forced fumble in West Liberty’s loss to Concord. Bridgeport’s Nate Maleski had four tackles, as did Wheeling Park’s Alec Wood. Wood also had a pair of fumble recoveries, one he returned 74 yards for the Hilltoppers’ initial touchdown en route to West Virginia Conference Defensive Player of the Week accolades. Buckeye Local’s Isaac Omaits had three tackles, a sack and an interception. Brooke’s Bryan Spruill’s lone tackle was a sack.

The Hilltoppers complete their season this Saturday on the road at UNC-Pembroke.

  • John Marshall’s Mark Sampson had two catches for 51 yards including a touchdown in Fairmont State’s 35-31 win against West Virginia State.

Division III

  • Barnesville’s Dalton Smith passed for 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns but was victimized by three interceptions as Muskingum lost its fifth game in a row in a 28-26 defeat at the hands of Capital. Cambridge’s James Beatty finished with 10 tackles, including a sack.
  • Martins Ferry’s Jeremy Murray ran for 155 yards and a touchdown, averaging 5 yards per carry as No. 2 Mount Union wrapped up the Ohio Athletic Conference title with a nailbighting 25-20 win against Baldwin-Wallace. The lifted Mt. Union to yet another Ohio Athletic Conference championship and earned the Purple Raiders an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III National Tournament.

Mt. Union will visit New Concord this weekend to meet Muskingum.

  • Buckeye Trail’s Dan Starr had five stops as Marietta snapped a lenghy losing skid with a win against Otterbein.
  • East Liverpool’s Ethan Ludewig posted 10 stops, including one for a loss but Thiel came up short against Washington & Jefferson. The Presidents’ Brian DeFranco, a Steubenville Central product, had a pair of tackles.
  • Zanesville’s Lucas Graham snagged a pair of touchdown passes for Denison, finishing with two receptions for 32 yards as the Big Red knocked off Oberlin.

Hughes may be reached at mhughes@timesleaderonline.com