Saturday, November 5, 2011
Final: Cincinnati 26, Pitt 23
By Andrea Adelson
Call 'em the Comeback Cats.
For the third consecutive Big East game, Cincinnati came from behind to win. This time, the Bearcats overcame a 10-point third-quarter deficit to beat Pitt 26-23 and remain in first place in the league standings. At 7-1 and 3-0 in the Big East, the Bearcats are the team everybody is chasing. They could even afford to lose a game and still win the Big East because they already beat the only other team with a loss -- Louisville.
The big difference in the second half for Cincinnati was the way it was able to get after Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri. After a first half in which Sunseri looked confident and comfortable, he was out of sorts because the pressure got to him. Sunseri had two turnovers in the second half -- an interception and a fumble -- that the Bearcats converted into 10 points — and that obviously made a huge difference.
But the Bearcats could not put the Panthers away because they could not sustain their own drives. Zach Collaros threw an interception late in the fourth quarter, and Pitt was unable to capitalize. The Panthers went for it on fourth-and-6 from the Cincinnati 36, rather than attempt a long field goal, and Sunseri threw a bad incompletion.
Cincinnati went three-and-out, giving Pitt yet another chance. The Panthers drove 56 yards to get into field goal range, but Kevin Harper missed a 50-yard field goal with 14 seconds left.
The Bearcats won despite going 2-of-13 on third down and getting outgained by Pitt. But as has been the case all year, the Bearcats just find ways to win.