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Updated: Saturday, November 30, 2002 7:59 PM EST
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Cincinnati 31, UAB 23
UAB Blazers
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Cincinnati Bearcats
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CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- Gino Guidugli threw a pair of touchdown passes to DeMarco McCleskey as Cincinnati remained in contention for a share of the Conference USA title with a 31-23 victory over Alabama-Birmingham.

Guidugli, who completed 14-of-22 passes for 243 yards, tossed a 15-yard TD strike to McCleskey to give the Bearcats (6-6, 5-2) a 24-23 lead with 8:50 remaining in the contest.

McCleskey capped the scoring with a 14-yard TD run with 3:30 to go. He also caught a seven-yard TD pass from Guidugli in the first quarter and paced Cincinnati on the ground with 82 yards on 23 carries.

The win, coupled with losses by East Carolina and Louisville, left Cincinnati in sole possession of second place in the tight Conference USA race behind Texas Christian.

With a win at East Carolina next week, the Bearcats will become bowl eligible and share the Conference USA crown with TCU, which accepted a bid to the Liberty Bowl after defeating Memphis on Saturday.

Nick Hayes kicked field goals of 23 and 27 yards early in the fourth quarter to give UAB (5-7, 4-4) a 23-17 lead.

Tyjuan Hagler's 15-yard interception return with 2:20 remaining in the second quarter staked Cincinnati to a 14-10 halftime lead in the seasaw affair.

The Bearcats allowed just 49 yards through the air as UAB's Darrel Hackney completed just 6-of-17 passes.

The Blazers had more success on the ground, rushing for 239 yards, paced by Dan Burks, who ran for 80 yards on 19 carries.

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