River City Rivalry

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River City Rivalry
PittPanthers.png Cincinnati University Bearcats textlogo.svg
Pitt Panthers Cincinnati Bearcats

Sport(s) Football
Total meetings 12
Series record PITT: 8-4
First meeting October 15, 1921
PITT: 21-14
Last meeting September 6, 2012
CIN: 34-10
Next meeting TBD
Largest win PITT: 38-0
Longest win streak PITT 7 (1921–2007)
CIN 2 (2008–2009 and 2011-2012)
Current win streak CIN: Won 2

The River City Rivalry was an annual game played between former Big East rivals University of Pittsburgh and University of Cincinnati. The rivalry itself was relatively brief, played annually from 2005, during which season the rivalry trophy was introduced through the 2012 season, Pitt's last year in the Big East. Before the rivalry was titled, the two teams played each other in 1921, 1922, 1979, and 1981. The game has only been played as a regular season matchup in either Cincinnati or Pittsburgh at each respective University's home football stadium.

Paddlewheel Trophy[edit]

The Paddlewheel Trophy is the rivalry trophy that was created in 2005 when the Bearcats joined the Big East Conference to which the Pittsburgh Panthers already belonged. Prior to 2005, the teams had met previously on only four prior occasions, most recently in 1981. However, the teams decided to create a trophy that would help their new conference rivalry grow and reflect the sports rivalry that already existed between the cities' professional football and baseball teams. The trophy is designed and named in honor the historic link between the cities from the days in the 19th and early-20th centuries when Paddle wheel-powered boats traveled between the two cities along the Ohio River. The trophy stands 46 inches (120 cm) tall and weighs 95 pounds (43 kg). Mounted on the base is an authentic brass, engine-room telegraph that is a working model that was set for use on a ship in Seattle, Washington. The face of the trophy's telegraph was redesigned with logos from both teams on either side that can light up. The lever can be pulled to the side of the school who has won which also causes the ringing of bells. The front includes a steel plate featuring a carved outline of Allegheny, Monongahela Rivers and Ohio River as it runs from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati. The 22 by 8.5 inches (56 by 22 cm) base is made out of Ipê wood. The trophy was designed by the architectural firm of Robert Busch and Karl Wallick, the steel plate was manufactured by Vulkane of Cincinnati, and the remaining trophy was manufactured by Trophy Awards Manufacturing. Over 175 man-hours of design and labor went into its construction.[1]



The 2009 matchup between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh was described by one national columnist as the most "fascinating game I've ever seen."[2] The game functioned as a Big East championship game, with Cincinnati entering first in the conference, and Pittsburgh at second. Additionally, the Bearcats entered the game undefeated and trying to earn a spot in the BCS National Championship Game, while the 9–2 Panthers were trying to secure their first BCS bowl since the 2004 season. The Panthers had an early 31-10 lead, however, the ensuing kickoff was returned for a touchdown by Mardy Gilyard to make it a 31-17 game at halftime. Cincinnati completed the comeback, tying the game at 38 late in the 4th quarter. Pittsburgh running back Dion Lewis scored a touchdown with 1:36 left in the game, but a mishandled snap by Andrew Janocko prevented the Panthers from converting the extra point. The Bearcats then drove down the field and scored on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Tony Pike to Armon Binns with 33 seconds remaining. Bearcats kicker Jake Rodgers converted the extra point attempt, and Cincinnati held on to win 45-44. Following the game, Cincinnati rose to a #3 ranking in the final BCS standing while Pitt dropped to #17. The game has been described as "one of the most crushing losses in the history of Pitt football."[3]

Game results[edit]

Pittsburgh leads the all-time series 8–4.[4]

# Date Winner Score Location Series
1 October 15, 1921 Pittsburgh 21-14 Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, PA PITT 1-0
2 September 30, 1922 Pittsburgh 38-0 Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH PITT 2-0
3 October 13, 1979 Pittsburgh 35-0 Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA PITT 3-0
4 September 19, 1981 Pittsburgh 38-7 Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA PITT 4-0
5 October 8, 2005 Pittsburgh 38-20 Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA PITT 5-0
6 September 8, 2006 Pittsburgh 33-15 Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH PITT 6-0
7 October 20, 2007 Pittsburgh 24-17 Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA PITT 7-0
8 November 22, 2008 Cincinnati 28-21 Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH PITT 7-1
9 December 5, 2009 Cincinnati 45-44 Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA PITT 7-2
10 December 4, 2010 Pittsburgh 28-10 Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH PITT 8-2
11 November 5, 2011 Cincinnati 26-23 Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA PITT 8-3
12 September 6, 2012 Cincinnati 34-10 Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH PITT 8-4


  1. ^ Berk, Dave (2005-10-06). "River City Trophy Breakdown". BearcatInsider.com. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  2. ^ Doyel, Gregg (2009-12-05). "Cincy exits on high, Pitt crushed after fascinating game". CBSSports.com. Retrieved 2009-12-07. 
  3. ^ Starkey, Joe (2006-12-06). "Pitt's toughest loss in decades". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  4. ^ "Pittsburgh vs Cincinnati". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2008-12-13. 


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