(Saturday, November 8th)
Final Score: Cincinnati 26, (20) West Virginia 23 (OT)
Morgantown, WV (Sports Network) - Cincinnati blew a 13-point lead in the final two minutes of regulation but rebounded to upend No. 20 West Virginia, 26-23, in overtime.
"A lesser team would have folded under those circumstances," said Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly. "Obviously, giving up the points we did late, all of the momentum was with West Virginia. We got the big stop to hold them to the field goal in OT, and then we were able to score the TD."
Tony Pike completed 16-of-30 passes for 178 yards and the game-winning touchdown -- a one-yard pass to Kazeem Alli in the extra session. Pike also ran for a score for Cincinnati (7-2, 3-1 Big East), which pulled into a tie with West Virginia and Pittsburgh for first in the conference with the win.
Cincinnati travels to Louisville next Friday before hosting Pitt on November 22.
Jacob Ramsey rushed for 83 yards on 18 carries, and Dominick Goodman had six catches for 81 yards for the Bearcats, who may have bounced West Virginia from the top-25 the week after ousting then-No. 24 South Florida from the rankings.
Pat White completed 20-of-38 passes for 219 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for the Mountaineers (6-3, 3-1), who had won five straight to take the top spot in the Big East. White rushed for 41 yards on 20 carries, and Noel Devine added 58 yards on 19 attempts for the Mountaineers, who scored 13 points in the last 1:11 only to fall in overtime.
Facing a fourth down at their own six-yard line, the Bearcats, ahead 20-7, opted to take a safety with 1:11 left instead of risking a blocked punt. White led the Mountaineers on a seven-play, 62-yard drive, though, and his two-yard TD pass to Dorrell Jalloh and two-point conversion made it a 20-17 game, but with only 18 seconds left.
Pat McAfee's onsides kick bounced right to Bearcats Mardy Gilyard -- who opened the game with a 100-yard kickoff return for a score -- and Marcus Barnett, but the two knocked into each other, and the ball bounced right to West Virginia's Mortty Ivy, who recovered at the Mountaineers 44.
White hit Jalloh for a 21-yard gain, and McAfee nailed a 52-yard field goal as time expired to the tie the game.
McAfee knocked in a 27-yard field goal to put West Virginia on top in overtime, but a 10-yard completion from Pike to Goodman with a roughing-the- passer penalty tacked on put Cincy at the seven-yard line. Ramsey rushed for five yards on the next play, then Pike rolled out and found Alli wide open in the right corner of the end zone for the game-winning score.
The Mountaineers fell despite outgaining Cincy 317-260.
"That was one heck of a football game and how we battled back, I am so proud of our football team," said West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart. "I'm proud to be their head football coach. That was character in the second half. I am just as proud as I could be for our guys."
Gilyard got the Bearcats off to a great start, taking the opening kick back 100 yards for a score and an early 7-0 lead. Jake Rogers' 46-yard field goal gave Cincy a 10-0 lead with 8:41 remaining in the first.
White led the Mountaineers 77 yards in seven plays, though, to climb back into the game. A 30-yard connection from White to Jock Sanders was immediately followed by White's 19-yard scoring pass to Alric Arnett, and the Cincy lead was cut to 10-7 with 5:47 to play in the first.
Devine coughed up the ball at the West Virginia 33 late in the first quarter, setting up Rogers' 31-yard field goal, and a 13-7 Cincy lead.
Pike's five-yard TD run with 5:23 left in the first half put the Bearcats up 20-7. That lead held until the final minutes, when West Virginia staged its comeback.
West Virginia had won all but two of the previous 16 meetings, with one tie, prior to Saturday. The win for Cincy snapped a three-game win streak the Mountaineers held in the series...McAfee has made 10-of-11 field goals this season, with two from 52 yards...Sanders had five grabs for 52 yards for West Virginia...The Bearcats converted only 2-of-13 third downs. The Mountaineers were 4-of-20.
11/09 01:16:20 ET