Cincinnati loses QB Zach Collaros

CINCINNATI -- No. 23 Cincinnati lost quarterback Zach Collaros to a lower leg injury during the second quarter against West Virginia on Saturday.

Collaros retreated toward his end zone while trying to avoid the rush and was tackled by Bruce Irvin, forcing a fumble. Collaros' right leg twisted underneath him as he went down. Julian Miller recovered the fumble in the end zone, giving the Mountaineers a 17-7 lead.

Collaros held both hands against his forehead as he lay on the field in pain. He put no weight on the leg when he was eventually helped to a cart and taken off. He returned to the field in street clothes to start the second half, using crutches. His right foot and ankle were heavily wrapped.

Head linesman Thomas Considine went over to Collaros as he slowly made his way toward the bench on crutches, patting him on the back.

It was a huge setback for the Bearcats, who rely on the senior quarterback's passing and running. Sophomore Munchie Legaux had thrown seven passes all season. His second attempt was intercepted by the Mountaineers, who appeared content to play for field position after Collaros went down.

Cincinnati came into the game in control of the Big East at 7-1 and 3-0, the only team with a perfect league record. Collaros' injury leaves the race wide open.