Pittsburgh Game Captains: Tino Sunseri, Jarred Holley, Kevin Harper
Pittsburgh won the toss and elected to receive. Cincinnati defends the north goal.
Thursday's attendance of 33,562 at Nippert Stadium was the largest at UC's home field since 33,909 fans attended the Miami (Ohio) contest on Oct. 9, 2010.
UC's victory Thursday gives the Bearcats their fourth win in the last five meetings against Pitt. Pitt holds an 8-4 lead in the series and a 3-2 advantage in games played at Nippert Stadium.
The Bearcats retain possession of the River City Rivalry Trophy. With Pitt's pending move to the Atlantic Coast Conference, tonight's contest marked the last game in the rivalry for the foreseeable future.
UC moves to 5-1 in ESPN Thursday Night primetime games.
The Bearcats improve to 79-38-10 all-time in season openers, having won 10 of their last 17 lid lifters. UC improves to 6-2 in BIG EAST Conference openers since joining the league, with six consecutive victories. UC is 4-2 all-time in season-opening BIG EAST games.
Similar to last season, UC jumped out to a fast start in the first quarter, outscoring the Panthers 14-0. UC also led 17-0 at halftime. The Bearcats outscored their opponents 62-0 in the first quarter and 142-13 in the first half last season at Nippert Stadium.
The Bearcats posted four quick touchdown drives on the night, lasting eight seconds, 1:43, 47 seconds and 3:06.
The UC defense recorded four tackles for loss and three sacks during Pitt's first three drives of the game. DL Walter Stewart, LB Nick Temple and DL John Williams each recorded sacks for the Bearcats before the end of the first quarter.
The UC defense ended with 11 tackles for loss, six sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery. Those numbers are ahead of last season when the Bearcats led the nation in tackles for loss (112, 8.6 per game) and ranked second in sacks (46, 3.5 per game) last season.
NEXT UC GAME: The Bearcats play host to Deleware State at 7 p.m. on Sept. 15. The game will be available on ESPN3.
Cincinnati took a quick 7-0 on its first play from scrimmage when RB George Winn ran 58 yards for a touchdown at 13:36 in the first quarter. It marked the second consecutive year the Bearcats scored on their first offensive play. Former RB Isaiah Pead scored on a 40-yard run 18 seconds into the Austin Peay game on Sept. 3, 2011.
The Bearcats grabbed a 14-0 advantage at 10:04 in the first quarter when QB Munchie Legaux connected with RB Ralph David Abernathy IV on a 15-yard touchdown strike. It marked Abernathy's first career offensive touchdown.
PK Tony Miliano converted a 39-yard field-goal attempt with 2:51 left before halftime to push UC's lead to 17-0.
Pitt got on the scoreboard when PK Kevin Harper hit a 37-yard field goal with 7:00 left in the third quarter to cut the Bearcats' lead to 17-3.
Two plays later Cincinnati pushed its lead to 24-3 when RB George Winn scored his second touchdown of the night on a 9-yard run with 6:05 left in the third quarter. The drive was spurred on by a 77-yard run by QB Munchie Legaux.
The Bearcats increased their lead to 31-3 at 13:54 in the fourth quarter on a 12-yard run by RB Ralph David Abernathy IV.
PK Tony Miliano made a 46-yard field goal at 3:55 in the fourth quarter to give UC a 34-3 lead.
Pitt scored with 34 seconds remaining in the game when QB TIno Sunseri connected with TE Drew Carswell on a 9-yard touchdown pass.
UC QB Munchie Legaux accounted for a career-high 322 yards of total offense against Pitt - running six times for a career-high 117 yards and completing 14 of 28 pass attempts for 205 yards and two TDs with no interceptions.
Legaux gained 77 yards rushing on one play in the third quarter, setting up UC's first touchdown of the second half. The rush was UC's longest since Isaiah Pead ran for 80 yards against Miami (Ohio) on Oct. 9, 2010.
RB Ralph David Abernathy compiled 115 all-purpose yards while posting career highs for pass receptions (four), receiving yards (71) and receiving TDs (two).
Abernathy had a trio of big plays, recording three receptions for 15 yards or more (15-, 19- and 25-yards) for 59 yards.
RB George Winn rushed 11 times for a career-high 95 yards and a career-best two touchdowns against Pitt.
LB Greg Blair led UC with 10 total tackles against Pitt. He intercepted a third-down pass from Pitt QB Tino Sunseri in the end zone with 5:49 left in the second quarter. It marked Blair's first career interception. Blair's brother DeJuan Blair played basketball at Pitt during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons.
DL Walter Stewart registered nine total tackles and a career-high four tackles for loss, to go with two sacks and a forced fumble.
DL John Williams finished with a career-high 1.5 sacks, two tackles for loss and four tackles.