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November 5, 2011Cincinnati's best group through one half was the defensive line.
First a run stop by John Hughes. Amazing pouncing agility. Rob Trigg keeps Ronald Jones inside with a strong tackle.
Dan Giordano and Monte Taylor nearly created sacks too.
Walter Stewart made a glorious second down tackle late in the half. It truly forced Pitt into a stall. Brandon Mills ended the drive with a second effort tackle.
The group did an excellent job of forcing Pitt QB Tino Sunseri around the pocket and occasionally out.
Tino Sunseri sold Chris Williams on a pump fake, scurrying 14 yards for a first down.
On the next series Chris Williams provided tremendous inside rush. He knocked down Sunseri discontinuing a promising drive. Williams almost initiated a diabolic sack late in the second quarter. Sunseri stepped up in the pocket the moment Williams arrived off the edge.
Williams had a good half.
Truly special tams
Thanks to kick returner Ralph Abernathy Cincinnati was vaulted into great starting field position. His second return, a 35-yard return was the best. Jameel Poteat made his first two career kickoff returns.
Pitt's special teams were even better.
The 52-yard field goal for Kevin Harper is a collegiate record for Heinz Field. He squared the game at 3-3 when he booted it through. Miliano sent his three point retort through the opposing uprights moments later.
It tied the overall Heinz Field record. Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Jeff Reed also had a 52-yard field goal. Wow.
Pitt's Harper also nailed a 42-yarder in the waning moments of the half.
Largely respected as a premiere wide receiver entering the season D.J. Woods has played four straight games without 50 receiving yards. His caught 2.7 receptions per game in October.
Isaiah Pead rushed for 79 yards in the first stanza, good enough to tie his entire USF output.
This season Pead will have four 100+ yard rushing games after Pitt game.
UC was able to hold Pitt to a field goal on their third drive. The momentum appeared to be nudging Pittsburgh into the endzone, but Cincinnati stiffened. Cornerbacks Camerron Cheatham and Deven Drane made consecutive stops to end the Pitt progress.
On second down Cam kept his ground to bring his mark down. Drane found himself in an unenviable matchup of checking 6'5" receiver Mike Shanahan.
Wanting too much
For the second straight game Zach Collaros attempted to make a spectacular play when perhaps the opportunity did not exist. Facing South Florida
This time Collaros released a pass as a lineman blasted into his ribs. He did not miss his mark by much, but the end result was Pittsburgh 1st and goal from UC's four yard line.
Seconds after learning Isaiah Pead's fumble was overturned Zach jumped off his right foot and threw a bizarre pass to Pead. It was completely unnatural and risky. That he completed it in no way lessoned the danger to both the team and his body.
You play with the creativity, but you gasp at the boldness.
Much like the South Florida game Collaros redeemed himself. He gave Cincinnati their first touchdown of the game with a 7-yard rush through the line.
After his career high 419 passing yards last week Tino Sunseri motored Pitt to three scores on his first four possessions. Sunseri capped off a one play drive with his own rushing touchdown to Pitt up for the first time 13-6.