- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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Cincinnati answered the bell, withstanding an opening-week bye and hitting early and often Thursday in its 34-10 rout of Pitt. But the biggest story line may revolve around the Panthers.
Yes, Munchie Legaux overcame a few bad passes in his first season-opening start to throw for more than 200 yards and rush for more than 100 yards, adding two touchdown passes along the way. But what about the Pitt defense, which surrendered a 58-yard touchdown run to George Winn on its first play and watched Legaux scamper for a 77-yard gain in the third quarter?
Yes, the Bearcats' pass rush was responsible for six sacks on the night. But has the Panthers' offensive line made any strides from a year ago, as it left Tino Sunseri in an all-too-familiar position at Nippert Stadium?
And yes, Winn (95 rushing yards, two touchdowns) and Ralph David Abernathy IV (91 total yards, two TDs) may have made Cincinnati fans forget about reigning conference player of the year Isaiah Pead for at least one night. But what was a veteran quarterback like Sunseri thinking in wasting the final five seconds of the first half, throwing the ball away too late from the 2-yard line?
Pitt needed to get back on the field and put a season-opening, two-touchdown home loss to an FCS team behind it as quickly as possible. Instead the Panthers were outplayed from start to finish, kicking off the Paul Chryst era with a pair of ugly losses. Things won't get any easier next week, as Pitt faces ACC power and future conference opponent Virginia Tech.
If Pitt's preview of life in the ACC is anything like these past two weeks, the rest of the Big East may have trouble containing its laughter.