Bearcats Drop Big East Opener to Panthers

Final Stats

PITTSBURGH - Special teams miscues proved to be Cincinnati's undoing in a 38-20 loss to Pittsburgh.

Those miscues started on the opening kickoff of UC's first-ever BIG EAST Conference game when the Bearcats surrendered a 69-yard kickoff return to Terrell Allen. UC's defense responded to the challenge and held Pitt to a field goal.

In the second quarter, a blocked punt set up a Pitt six-yard TD drive, quarterback Tyler Palko taking it the final five yards. A penalty on the ensuing kickoff put UC on its 15 where an interception led to another field goal and a 16-0 halftime deficit.

The Bearcats showed life in the third quarter with a 5-play, 73-yard scoring drive, keyed by Dustin Grutza's 56-yard hook-up with Earnest Jackson. The Panthers retaliated with a touchdown almost as quickly, Rashad Jennings' 13-yard run capping a six-play, 52-yard drive, and later in the quarter took a 30-7 lead with a 79-yard punt return by Darrell Revis.

Grutza rallied UC with TD passes of 47 yards to Brent Celek and 22 yards to Jackson. The freshman finished with 180 yards on 9-of-19 passing. Bradley Glatthaar, who scored UC's first TD on a five-yard run, had 63 yards in 16 carries.

The game was fairly even statistically. Pitt out-gained UC, 321-312, in total offense. The Bearcats actually had two more first downs than the Panthers and owned an edge in time of possession.