Homecoming at South Florida (4-3, 0-3) was spoiled by Kenbrell Thompkins' homecoming of sorts. Cincinnati(6-1, 2-0) won 37-34 on their final possession. The Miami-native caught his second longest catch of the season midway through the third quarter. Moments later Adrien Robinson pulled down his third touchdown.
Thompkins pocketed yet another 70+ yard game, his third in the last four contests.
Coming out of summer KT was struggling to perform and he only earned his starting spot with potential. Now his hard October work has transformed that amorphous word into tangible results.
He clearly belongs with the starters. At times Zach "The Shovel Pass" Collaros even chooses the transfer downfield.
Thompkins finished with a career high 114 yards receiving including a big catch on the final UC drive.
An erratic performance by leader Zach Collaros ended well. He drove his troops to two fourth quarter touchdowns. Into the hordes of combative fans, on 3rd and 13 Collaros hit a leaping Alex Chisum.
The unlikely touchdown gave UC their penultimate score. South Florida was unable to counteract the drive immediately thanks to sophomore Deven Drane's third career interception.
And then UC was bitten, by a player Cincinnati recruited very, very hard.
Andre Davis leapt high to catch a fade route on Drane. Davis escaped the UC recruiting machine in Tampa, Florida to choose the hometown team. Minutes earlier another recruit UC pursued with vigor (Alex Chisum) appeared to sink the Bull ship.
When USF did score in the waning moments Collaros was forced to conjure up another miracle. What transpired was the stuff of legend. Eight plays in 1:27 traversing seventy yards. The best quarterback in the BIG EAST won Saturday. No one can argue Daniels' tremendous athleticism, but the execution and versatility of Collaros reigned.
In the last four games Cincinnati has outscored their opponents 86-27. A increasingly-poised Zach Collaros constructed three fourth quarter touchdown drives.
Littered in gold
Both Cincinnati and South Florida committed egregious penalties. Despite a relatively-quiet campaign regarding penalties UC stacked hanky upon hanky Saturday afternoon.
The Sunshine State never looked so yellow. Entering the game averaging just 3.8 penalties per UC witnessed ten flags hit the turf. Of course Cincinnati was not the only team infringing upon the rules of the game.
USF earned more than their share of yellow flags too. More than a 100 Cincinnati yards were courtesy of South Florida penalties. An absurd amount.
Hand it to Collaros' Crew for capitalizing though.
An obviously improved UC team boosted the road record to 3-5 in the Butch Jones Era.
Injuries to cornerback Dominique Battle and right guard Austen Bujnoch were not immediately diagnosed. Drew Frey left but returned within the game.
In an uneasy world of conference alterations, defections, and additions UC can count on thing. They are certainly exiting the weekend alone in first place. At 2-0 the Bearcats return to a familiar perch atop the league.
You must retreat 23 months to find the last time UC led the BIG EAST Conference. Back then it was a consistent place of prominence. Perhaps the Bearcats have returned to stay.