The University of Cincinnati football team is back on the road Saturday, taking on Pittsburgh at Heinz Field. The Bearcats, winners of five in-a-row, sit atop the BIG EAST Conference standings at 6-1 (2-0). UC is in the midst of a span that has them playing four of five games on the road. Pittsburgh (4-4, 2-1 BIG EAST) knocked off Connecticut inside Heinz Field, 35-20, on Oct. 26, 2011. The teams will play for the River City Rivalry Trophy, a 46-inch tall, 96-lb replica of a riverboat telegraph - a device for signaling the engine room - and a silhouette of the Ohio River.
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Series Record: Pittsburgh leads 8-2
Last Meeting: 12/4/10 @ UC (Pitt W, 28-10)
In Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh leads 5-2
Rankings (AP/Coaches): 23/22
2011 Record: 6-1, 2-0 BIG EAST
Last Game: Oct. 22, 2011 in Tampa, Fla., UC defeated USF 37-34
Saturday marks the 11th matchup between the Panthers and Bearcats. Prior to last year's 28-10 win by Pittsburgh in the snow at Nippert Stadium on Dec. 4, 2010, the Bearcats had won two straight in the series.
Butch Jones is in his second season at the helm of the UC program and is 10-9. Jones most recently led Central Michigan University to a pair of Mid-American Conference Championships and three-straight bowl appearances. He holds a 37-22 overall record and a 24-8 mark in league games.
TODD GRAHAM is in his first season at Pittsburgh with a 4-4 record. In six years as a collegiate head coach with stops at Tulsa and Rice, he holds an 47-27 career mark. This is his first matchup against the Bearcats as a head coach.
STREAKS, STORYLINES, SIDEBARS
The University of Cincinnati, one of the five oldest football programs in college football, is in its 124th football season with an all-time record of 557-551-51 (.502).
Head coach Butch Jones is in his second season at the helm of the program, returning 16 starters, including nine on defense.
UC also brought back the BIG EAST Conference's top retuning passer (Zach Collaros), rusher (Isaiah Pead), tackler (JK Schaffer) and leader in all-purpose yards and receptions (DJ Woods) along with 51 letterwinners from the 2010 squad.
With its 6-1 record, UC has surpassed its 2010 win total (4) and is bowl eligible after not playing in the postseason a year ago.
UC is atop the BIG EAST standings with a 2-0 league mark. The Bearcats control their own destiny in the conference standings.
UC sits at No. 22 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 23 in the Associated Press Top-25, its first time being ranked since 2009.
UC is one of three teams nationally (Michigan, Wisconsin) whose football and men's basketball teams both appear in the polls.
Entering the week, UC leads the BIG EAST Conference in rushing offense (200.0), scoring offense (41.0), rushing defense (72.7), net punting (39.7) and turnover margin (1.9).
The Bearcats are +13 overall in turnover margin and are averaging 1.9 tpg which leads the BIG EAST and ranks third in the FBS.
UC has outscored its opponents 154-61 in the first half this season, despite being held to 23 first-half points in the last three games.
UC's 27-0 win over Miami was its first shutout since Sept. 2, 2006.
P Pat O'Donnell leads the BIG EAST and ranks No. 9 nationally with his 45.5 net punting average.
DT Derek Wolfe leads the league in tackles for a loss (1.4) and ranks second in sacks (0.7). Wolfe has a team-high 5.0 sacks and 10 TFLs