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(Saturday, November 5th)
Final Score: (23) Cincinnati 26, Pittsburgh 23
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Kevin Harper missed a game-tying 50-yard field goal with nine seconds left, sealing the win for the 23rd-ranked Bearcats as Cincinnati stayed undefeated in Big East play with a 26-23 win over the Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field.
The Bearcats (7-1, 3-0 Big East) hold a half-game advantage over the Louisville Cardinals for first place in the conference.
Zach Collaros threw for 214 yards on 19-of-32 passing, but had two interceptions.
Isaiah Pead carried the ball 22 times for 118 yards, and Collaros ran for two scores.
"Isaiah Pead is a special running back. He did a great job. Zach Collaros, their quarterback is special and did a great job. You also have to give them credit defensively, they were very good against the run," Pittsburgh head coach Todd Graham said.
Anthony McClung had four receptions for 73 yards and Kenbrell Thompkins caught five balls for 39 yards.
Tino Sunseri completed 24-of-38 passes for 218 yards, a touchdown and interception for the Panthers (4-5, 2-2), who've lost three of their last four games.
Sunseri had 64 yards rushing and a touchdown and Zach Brown added 54 yards on 11 carries.
It was Pittsburgh's first game without leading rusher Ray Graham, who tore the ACL in his right knee in last Wednesday's game against Connecticut. Graham ran for 958 yards and nine touchdowns on 164 carries this season.
Antwan Reed made a great play on the ball and broke up a pass on 3rd-and-6 to give Pittsburgh's offense one last chance to tie or win the game with 1:56 left as they started its final drive at the 11-yard line.
Derek Wolfe forced Pittsburgh to use its last timeout with 1:11 left after he sacked Sunseri for a six-yard loss to force 3rd-and-16. But Sunseri stepped up in the pocket and found Devin Street for a 21-yard completion to move the chains.
On 3rd-and-7 three plays later, Anthony Gonzalez picked up six yards to set up Harper for the game-tying 50-yard field goal. But his kick sailed wide right.
"That ball seemed to stay in the air forever," Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones said. "Again, it was a great college football game. It's unfortunate that someone has to lose."
Cincinnati's Tony Miliano split the sticks from 27 and 40 yards, and Harper made field goals of 52 and 24 yards as the game was tied at six early in the second quarter.
Todd Thomas made the first big defensive play of the game as he intercepted Collaros and returned the ball 39 yards to the Cincinnati four-yard line. Sunseri scored on Pittsburgh's first play of the drive to make it 13-6.
Unfazed by the mistake, Callaros led the Bearcats 85 yards on 12 plays before tying the score with a seven-yard TD run with 4:50 remaining in the second quarter.
Harper added a 42-yard field goal to regain the lead for Pittsburgh, 16-13 at the half.
The Panthers opened the second half with a quick five-play, 60-yard TD drive that saw Sunseri find Hubie Graham for a four-yard score to make it a 23-13 game.
Tony Miliano's 32-yard field goal pulled the Bearcats within 23-16 and Walter Stewart stripped Sunseri on Pittsburgh's next drive and recovered the ball at the Panthers' 27-yard line.
Collaros hit Anthony McClung for a 22-yard gain to the three, and kept it himself for a three-yard score to tie the game at 23 late in the third quarter.
Camerron Cheatham intercepted Sunseri's pass three plays into Pittsburgh's ensuing drive, with the turnover leading to Miliano's fourth field goal of the game, this one from 41 yards out to give Cincinnati a 26-23 lead.
Cincinnati is looking for its third Big East title in the last four years...The Bearcats came into the game ranked third nationally in turnover margin, each team turned the ball over twice...Cincinnati has outscored its opponents 96-38 in the second half over its last five games.
11/06 00:09:31 ET