PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 05: Zach Collaros #12 of the Cincinnati Bearcats escapes a tackle from Greg Williams #38 of the Pittsburgh Panthers on November 5, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Cincinnati Vs. Pitt: Panthers Fall To Bearcats, 26-23

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Bearcats Relentless On Way To 26-23 Win

The Pittsburgh Panthers dropped an important game to the Cincinnati Bearcats Saturday night, 26-23. The game determined the leader in the Big East standings. Though the Panthers held a 10-point advantage in the third quarter, the Bearcats fought back and scored the final 13 points of the game.

The Bearcats started off the scoring on their first possession, just over a minute into the game, with a Tony Miliano field goal. The remainder of the first quarter was a field goal stalemate, with Cincinatti kicking two and Pitt kicking one, making the score 6-3 at the end of the first frame.

The Panthers scored twice out of the gates in the second quarter, putting 10 points on the board in less than 30 seconds. After a Kevin Harper field goal, a Zach Collaros interception led to a 4-yard rushing touchdown by Tino Sunseri. But as was the theme of the game, Cincinnati answered on a 7-yard rushing touchdown by Collaros to tie the game at 13. The Panthers were able to kick another field goal going into half.

The third quarter started out promising for Pittsburgh, who came out of the locker room and scored on the opening possession of the second half on a 4-yard touchdown pass by Sunseri to open the game up and extend the Panthers lead to 10. But again, the Bearcats refused to go down, tying the score 23-23 just before the end of the third.

The only score of the fourth quarter came just seconds in as Miliano put the Bearcats up 26-23. That kick provided the final margin, as the Panthers were just unable to put together a full drive. A late interception by Sunseri also hurt the Panthers' cause. With the win, the Bearcats take the top spot in the Big East at 7-1 (3-0), while the Panthers move back under .500 to 4-5 (2-2).

For more coverage of this game and all things Pittsburgh, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh.


Cincinnati Vs. Pittsburgh Halftime Score Update:

The Pittsburgh Panthers are looking to grab the top spot in the Big East tonight, after another puzzling loss by the West Virginia Mountaineers earlier today to the Louisville Cardinals. The Panthers, however, are locked in a battle with the Cincinnati Bearcats at the moment, leading 16-13 at the half.

The Bearcats struck first with a field goal just over a minute into the game. The Panthers were quick to answer, just over three minutes later, with a 52-yard Kevin Harper field goal to knot the score at 3-3. The field goal flurry continued on the next Cincinnati possession, when Tony Miliano hit another field goal to put the Bearcats up 6-3. Not to be outdone, Harper kicked another field goal to end a long drive early in the second quarter, to tie the game back up at 6-6. Then the Panthers, gifted with a Zach Collaros interception, used a 4-yd TD run by Tino Sunseri to jump out to a 13-6 lead.

Cincinnati, however, roared back with an 85-yard drive capped by Collaros TD rush from seven yards out with just under six minutes left in the first half. The Panthers wrapped up the scoring though on another field goal by Harper with just over a minute left in the half to make the halftime score 16-13 in the Panthers favor.

Aside from the performances of Harper and Miliano, both quarterbacks have been efficient despite Collaros' ill-advised throw. Isaiah Pead has topped the 100-yard mark for the Bearcats on the ground, but the Panthers have yet to get it going in that department.

Stay tuned for the second half here on SB Nation Pittsburgh.

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