Cincinnati 22

(4-4, 1-3 away)

Syracuse 16

(1-7, 1-4 home)

Coverage: GamePlan

12:00 PM ET, October 29, 2005

Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY

1 2 3 4 T
CIN 7 7 0 822
SYR 7 6 3 016

Top Performers

Passing: D. Grutza (CIN) - 150 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: D. Rhodes (SYR) - 21 CAR, 51 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: E. Jackson (CIN) - 7 REC, 86 YDS

Cincinnati rallies, hands Syracuse sixth straight loss

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- Linebacker Kevin McCullough returned a fumble for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter and Cincinnati rallied past Syracuse 22-16 on Saturday, the Orange's sixth straight loss.

It was the first win on the road this season for Cincinnati (4-4, 2-2 Big East) and its first win in four games in the Carrier Dome. The loss for Syracuse (1-7, 0-5) dropped its record in the dome to 1-4 for only the second time since the building opened in 1980. The 1982 team finished 1-5 at home en route to a 2-9 season, and the last time Syracuse started 1-7 was in 1978 under Frank Maloney.

The Bearcats clinched it on defense against one of the worst passing attacks in the nation. Syracuse entered the game ranked 109th, averaging 131 yards per game.

On third-and-5 play from his 36, quarterback Joe Fields was hit by Anthony Hoke and lost the ball, and McCullough scooped it up at the 17 and ran it in for the clinching score.

Just moments earlier, Fields was shaping up as the hero in his first start of the season. After Syracuse was pinned at its 1-yard line by a punt, Fields hit Tim Lane with a 42-yard pass down the right side. One play later, Fields rolled right and found Rice Moss for 50 yards to the Cincinnati 8. The Bearcats stiffened, and Syracuse went ahead 16-14 on a 27-yard field goal by John Barker.

Syracuse entered the game ranked 11th nationally against the pass, but the Orange had trouble stopping Cincinnati's Dustin Grutza, who used a crisp, short passing game to lead the Bearcats to a 14-13 halftime edge.

Grutza, a redshirt freshman, entered the game completing 51.5 percent of his passes with nine interceptions and seven touchdown passes. Using swing passes and flanker screens and often throwing on the run, he repeatedly frustrated the Orange.

Grutza finished 16-for-25 for 150 yards, but threw only five passes in the second half as the Bearcats went with the run. Bradley Glattharr gained 69 yards on 15 carries and Greg Moore had 64 on 10 carries while the Cincinnati defense held the Orange to just 52 yards rushing on 40 carries.

Kareem Jones returned the game's opening kickoff 52 yards to give Syracuse great field position, and Fields drove the Orange 48 yards for a 7-0 lead. Damien Rhodes scored from the 4 on fourth down.

Grutza then found Bill Poland alone in the right corner of the end zone to tie it 7-7 midway through the first period.

Cincinnati took advantage of a roughing-the-kicker penalty against Anthony Smith and some trickery to go ahead 14-7 early in the second quarter. Grutza's 8-yard run off a fake field goal gave the Bearcats a first down at the Syracuse 25, and he scored five plays later on a 2-yard run.

The Orange scored quickly after Kevin Lovell missed a 37-yard field goal for Cincinnati late in the second quarter. Rhodes made a leaping catch of a screen pass from Patterson and raced 70 yards down the left side before Mike Mickens tackled him at the 1.

Rhodes, who finished with 155 all-purpose yards, scored on the next play, but Ricky Krautman's extra-point kick was wide right.