Austin Peay knew it was overmatched against a Big East team determined to get off to a fast start.
Still, the Governors didn't think it would be quite this bad.
Isaiah Pead ran for Cincinnati's first two touchdowns Saturday night, and Zach Collaros threw for the next four - all in the first half - leading the Bearcats to a 72-10 victory over Austin Peay.
The Bearcats dominated an Ohio Valley Conference team that has only eight seniors, scoring the third-most points in their history. Austin Peay's sloppy play helped it become such a blowout - two interceptions, three lost fumbles, eight penalties.
''Especially at our level, you can't make mistakes - (eight) penalties, three fumbles and two interceptions, you're not going to have a chance to win,'' coach Rick Christophel said. ''By the same token, we have got to do a better job defensively at being more physical and more aggressive. If we don't, we're not going to win a football game this year.''
Cincinnati scored on six of its seven first-half possessions against a defense that features one senior starter. Pead ran 40 yards for a touchdown on the Bearcats' first play. He also scored on a 13-yard run and finished with 87 yards.
''We knew they were going to come out hard and we had to weather the storm,'' running back Ryan White said. ''They came out and scored on the first play of the game. It is something we had to deal with. I don't think we dealt with it right. That's something we have to work on.''
Collaros, the Big East's top returning passer, played only the first half and was 12 of 19 for 134 yards. His 34-yard pass to D.J. Woods completed a 95-yard drive in the second quarter. Collaros also threw a pair of touchdown passes to Anthony McClung in the last 39 seconds of the first half for a 41-0 lead.
Austin Peay is coming off a 2-9 season and has dropped its last nine games overall.
''We put 10 points on the board, so we didn't get really embarrassed,'' quarterback Jake Ryan said. ''This one hurts a lot. We came into this thinking we could give these guys a game. Toward the end we started to move the ball, but this hurts a lot.''
Cincinnati is coming off a 4-8 season that took much of the buzz out of the football program. After Brian Kelly left for Notre Dame, the Bearcats went back to losing games in front of small home crowds.
Their opener in Jones' second season was much better, though played in front of a crowd of 23,282. Last year, they went to Fresno State and got beat 28-14 in 94-degree heat, wearing down as the game went along. No such problems on Saturday in 93-degree weather against an overmatched opponent.
Austin Peay has only 18 winning seasons in its 74 years of football. This one started badly.
Cincinnati won the coin toss, and freshman Ralph David Abernathy IV returned the kickoff 60 yards. On the Bearcats' first play, Collaros handed off to Pead and threw a downfield block on safety Amius Smith, opening the way for the Big East's top returning runner to go 40 yards untouched.
The Bearcats had a 14-play, 95-yard drive in the second quarter that left the Governors' defense running on fumes. Collaros threw a 34-yard pass to D.J. Woods, who ran past cornerback Sheldon Wade to make the catch for a 27-0 lead.
The half also ended badly for Austin Peay.
Collaros threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to McClung with 39 seconds left, and Cincinnati recovered a fumble on the kickoff. Austin Peay dropped seven defenders into pass coverage, but Collaros found McClung wide open in the middle of the field for a 29-yard touchdown that made it 41-0.
Cincinnati went with its reserves in the second half.
Ryan was 16 of 23 for 150 yards with two sacks, a fumble and two interceptions that went off his receivers' hands.