PITTSBURGH (AP)—Tony Pike’s 29-yard touchdown pass to Armon Binns with 33 seconds remaining finished No. 5 Cincinnati’s frantic comeback from a 21-point deficit, and the Bearcats beat No. 14 Pittsburgh 45-44 on Saturday to secure a BCS berth and their second consecutive Big East title.
The first de facto Big East championship game since the conference began playing football in 1991 was a high-scoring classic. Freshman Dion Lewis’ three touchdowns and 194 yards rushing in a Tony Dorsett-like performance carried Pitt (9-3, 5-2) to leads of 31-10, 38-24 and 44-38, only to have the Mardy Gilyard-led Bearcats (12-0, 7-0) rally each time.
Gilyard gave the Bearcats a much-needed jolt with a 99-yard kickoff return only 70 seconds before halftime after Pitt had opened its 21-point lead, then he made it 31-24 in the third quarter with a 68-yard scoring catch.
Gilyard’s 49-yard kickoff return also led to Pike’s 8-yard scoring pass to D.J. Woods that cut Pitt’s lead to 38-30 early in the fourth quarter.