BLAWNOX -- Many Pitt football players remained mingling on the field and in the locker room after Pitt lost out on a morale victory by defeating Cincinnati 24-17.
"These kids are heartbroken right now. They did everything that they could to pull it off but it just wasn't meant to be, I guess," said Pitt head coach Dave Wannstedt.
Pitt spotted the Bearcats (6-2, 1-2) an early 10-0 lead and then clawed back to tie the game in the second quarter. Cincinnati regained the lead when Doug Jones rushed into the endzone from three yards out to make the score 17-10 heading into halftime. From there, many Pitt players thought the morale victory was theirs.
"This is a ranked team and we were almost lost losing to them. It was aweome," said runningback Larod Stevens-Howling. "Then we took the lead and it's like, 'the hell's this."
The Panthers scored 14 unanswered points in the second half to take a 24-17 lead. Cincinnati had an opportunity to tie the game but quarterback Ben Mauk was intercepted late in the fourth quarter. The actual victory was Pitt's first over a ranked oppenent since Dave Wannstedt took the job.
"We would have liked the morale victory, but this is just as good, I guess. The good news is that we have another shot next weekend on the road against a Louisville team that we expect to be heavily favored," Wannstedt said.
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