A fourth quarter field goal and few defensive stands were enough to allow Big East-leading Cincinnati to escape Heinz Field with a win against Pittsburgh.
The No. 23 Bearcats improved to 7-1 and 3-0 in the conference and now have a firm grasp on the conference lead. Second-place Lousville sports a 3-1 conference mark with its lone loss coming Oct. 15, a 25-16 setback to Cincy.
Once again, Steubenville's Zach Collaros led the offensive charge for the 'Cats.
Collaros threw for 214 yards, completing 19 of his 32 pass attempts. He failed to throw a touchdown and was intercepted twice. However, Collaros did damage with his legs, rushing for a pair of scores in finishing with 20 yards.
Beaver Local's Derek Wolfe continued the top season of his career for the Bearcats' defense.
Wolfe charted five tackles to go with two key, fourth-quarter sacks. One of those sacks of Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri came on a third-down play that resuled in a punt and diverted a Panthers' scoring opportunity.
The former Beavers' two-way standout has seven sacks for the season and is tied with Pitt's Aaron Donald for the conference lead. He's second in the conference in tackles for a loss with 12 and through eight games, has 37 stops total.
Cincinnati's latest victory moved the Bearcats into the Top 25 of the BCS standings for the first time this season, checking in at No. 23.
Next up is a meeting with Geno Smith and the West Virginia Mountaineers at noon Saturday inside the friendly confines of Paul Brown Stadium. The game will be televised nationally.
Road contests with Rutgers and Syracuse follow before the regular-season finale, Saturday, Dec. 3 at home against Connecticut.
The Hilltoppers complete their season this Saturday on the road at UNC-Pembroke.
Mt. Union will visit New Concord this weekend to meet Muskingum.
Hughes may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org