Three Akron turnovers go for touchdowns as Cincinnati wins

CINCINNATI -- Zach Collaros threw for a touchdown and ran for another Saturday, and Cincinnati's defense returned three turnovers for touchdowns in the first half, setting up a 59-14 victory over winless Akron that provided the Bearcats a chance to rest.

The Bearcats (2-1) got ahead 49-0 in the first half and rested most of their starters, getting ready for a game Thursday night at home against North Carolina State.

Both of the Bearcats' wins have come against overmatched opponents. They beat Austin Peay 72-10 in the opener, then got manhandled at Tennessee 45-23.

Akron (0-3) has been outscored 142-17 while losing to Ohio State, Temple and Cincinnati. The Zips have dropped 16 consecutive road games since 2008. Their quarterbacks had a particularly tough time in this one, combining for five turnovers. The Bearcats returned one fumble and two interceptions for scores.

Collaros played the first half only and was 10 of 16 for 157 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown pass. He also ran 7 yards for a score.

There was some intrigue for Cincinnati at the outset. Isaiah Pead ran for touchdowns on Cincinnati's first play in its first two games, going 40 yards against Austin Peay and 65 yards at Tennessee.

Could he do it again? No.

Akron's opening kickoff skittered out of bounds, putting the ball at the 40. Pead, who came into the game averaging 11.5 yards per carry -- tops in the nation among runners with 20 attempts -- was dragged down after a 2-yard gain on the opening play.

It was the only time Akron slowed the Bearcats down in front of a crowd of only 24,991.

Pead's 1-yard touchdown run completed an opening drive that took just 3 minutes, 19 seconds and set up the short afternoon for Cincinnati's starters. He carried only six times for 16 yards before settling in on the sideline.

Akron's quarterbacks were a big part of the problem.

Sophomore Clayton Moore had a fumble that was returned for a touchdown and two sideline interceptions that were run back for scores. He fumbled while getting sacked, and linebacker Maalik Bomar returned the ball 54 yards for a 14-0 lead.

Moore got benched briefly after his sideline throw was picked off by Dominique Battle and returned 36 yards for a 21-0 lead in the second quarter. Junior Patrick Nicely took over and had an interception that set up a touchdown.

Moore returned and threw behind a receiver on the sideline. Camerron Cheatham returned the interception 53 yards for a 49-0 lead late in the half. Zips quarterbacks were 8 of 19 for 97 yards with three interceptions, three sacks and two fumbles in the half.

Cincinnati led 59-0 when the Zips got their first touchdown of the season. Keith Sconiers got behind the secondary and caught a 51-yard pass from Moore with 12:37 left in the game. Moore threw an 11-yard touchdown pass with 50 seconds left after a Cincinnati fumble, leaving him 16 of 30 for 213 yards.