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Halftime: Cincinnati 14, Pitt 7

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CINCINNATI – Tony Pike beat the blitz and found Marcus Barnett for a 21-yard touchdown pass to complete a 99-yard scoring drive, then connected with Dominick Goodman for the go-ahead points.

No. 19 Cincinnati took a 14-7 lead over No. 20 Pitt into halftime of the River City Rivalry tonight before a sellout crowd at Nippert Stadium in a Big East game that could determine the conference championship.

Pinned by a Dave Brytus punt at its 1-yard line, Cincinnati responded with a 16-play drive that covered seven minutes, 54 seconds and saw the Bearcats convert three third-and-longs and a fourth-and-short.

Pike completed a 12-yard pass to Marcus Barnett on third-and-10 at the Pitt 49 and a 5-yarder to Dominick Goodman on fourth-and-1 at the Pitt 28 before the first quarter ended, then found Barnett on third-and-9 at the 21 before Pitt defensive end Jabaal Sheard could get to the ball.

The Bearcats took the lead on an 11-play, 83-yard drive highlighted by Goodman turning an inside slant on a third-and-4 into a 33-yard gain to the Pitt 6. Three plays later, Pike found Goodman standing all alone in the back of the end zone for a touchdown with 3:33 remaining in the half.

Pitt scored on its opening possession, a 10-play, 69-yard drive capped by McCoy’s 6-yard run. Bill Stull completed a 21-yard pass to Oderick Turner on third-and-13, and Aundre Wright drew a holding penalty by safety Cedric Tolbert on a third-and-4 at the 12 to set up McCoy’s scoring run that gave the Panthers a 7-0 lead with 9:20 remaining in the first quarter.

Cincinnati’s Mardy Gilyard was stripped by Antwuan Reed on the ensuing kickoff, and Nate Nix recovered at the Bearcats’ 34. The Panthers lost 12 yards over the next four plays and were forced to punt, which was downed at the Cincinnati 1 by Michael Toerper.

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