|A bevy of Rutgers miscues led to a 35-23 upset loss to Kent State on Saturday in Piscataway, N.J. (US Presswire)|
Big East scoreboard
Pittsburgh 47, Temple 17: The Panthers earned their first conference win with an entertaining display of offense. Pitt (4-4, 1-3 Big East) led 31-7 at halftime and rolled up 528 yards of total offense. Panthers QB Tino Sunseri, RB Ray Graham and WR Devin Streetlooked like pro prospects against their in-state rivals. Temple (3-4, 2-2 Big East) stuggled with its zone defense.
Kent State 35, No. 19 Rutgers 23: Scarlet Knights QB Gary Nova had a nightmare of a game. Nova, who entered the game with just three interceptions, threw six picks Saturday as Rutgers (7-1, 4-0 Big East) was upset by Kent State. The Golden Flashes (7-1, 4-0 MAC) were led by Traiyon Durham, who had 22 carries for 128 yards and a score. Although this enda Rutgers' perfect season, the Scarlet Knights are in line to win the Big East.
Syracuse 37, South Florida 36: The Bulls (2-6, 1-4 Big East) really had to go out of their way to blow this one. USF led 23-3 at halftime and led by 9 in the fourth quarter. Lindsey Lamar and B.J. Daniels combined for 279 yards rushing. The teams combined for more than a 1,000 yards of total offense. Syracuse (4-4, 3-1 Big East) rallied for the win after a furious final 84-yard drive culminating with a Ryan Nassib touchdown pass to Alec Lemon with three seconds remaining. Nassib threw for 328 yards and four touchdowns.
No. 16 Louisville 34, Cincinnati 31, OT: The Cardinals got a huge win over the visiting Bearcats on Friday night. Louisville (8-0, 3-0 Big East) was led by sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who finished with a career-high 416 yards and two touchdowns. Cincinnati (5-2, 1-1 Big East) quarterback Munchie Legaux, who famously claimed to be better than Bridgewater earlier in the week, was abysmal, throwing for just 157 yards and three interceptions. The Cards remain in the driver's seat for the Big East crown, as it appears that it's a two-horse race with them and Rutgers.
Play of the week: Early in the fourth quarter of Louisville's overtime win over Cincinnati, Bridgewater hit Damian Copeland for a 51-yard gain. Not ony was the play critical, given the score at the time (24-17, Cincinnati) and the Cardinals' field position (their own 7), but it was also a beautiful throw and catch. Bridgewater led Copeland almost perfectly, but Copeland made up for it with a full-extension dive and catch.
They said what? Cincinnati LB Greg Blair: “We just hate losing to these dudes," Blair told Cincinnati.com of Louisville. “Anybody but these dudes. We hate Louisville. It's the Big East. We're right down the road from each other. We just hate those guys.”
RapidReports defensive player of the week: Cincinnati's Blair. As he said, he hates those guys, but he loves tackling them. Blair had 19 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for a loss. He's the Bearcats' leading tackler and 15th in the nation in tackles per game.
RapidReports offensive player of the week: Louisville's Bridgewater. He certainly wanted to give Legaux the clear answer to who is better between the two of them. Despite a slow start, Bridgewater was 24 of 41 for 416 yards, two TDs and an interception.
A possible spot on the bench for: Temple LB Blaze Caponegro. The Owls entered this week ranked seventh in the Big East against the run and provided Graham with wide patches of open space in the loss. Caponegro and several other Owls linebackers had trouble defending Graham on short dump-offs up the middle and wheel routes to the outside. Graham finished with a season-high 109 rushing yards and four catches for 71 yards.
Rutgers QB Nova. As quarterback at Rutgers, the primary job is to maintain possession and get the ball to Jawan Jamison. Nova did not do his job against Kent State. Nova threw six interceptions as the Scarlet Knights lost to Kent State in Piscataway, N.J. Nova has been solid throughout the year, though he has not progressed well -- evidenced by the six picks against Kent State. He narrowly beat Chas Dodd for the starting job, and coach Kyle Flood may want to take another look.
His seat is getting uncomfortable: South Florida coach Skip Holtz. There is really no excuse for losing the way the Bulls did Saturday. Although there were no real egregious coaching errors, something must be said for a team folding in crunch time the way South Florida did -- again.
Why you care about these 3 stat lines
1. Louisville WR DeVante Parker's explosive gains: Parker had three catches of 17 yards or more against Cincinnati, including TDs of 64 and 30 yards. On the go-ahead 64-yard TD with 1:56 left, Parker caught a pass from Bridgewater along the left sideline, cut back to elude two defenders and dashed across the field for the score. Faced with massive expectations heading into the season, Parker opened the year with five games of 47 receiving yards or fewer. Parker's breakthrough game could be a sign of things to come.
2. Sunseri's passing efficiency: The Panthers' senior quarterback surgically picked apart the Owls' secondary in the first half, going 15 of 19 for 230 yards and two TDs. As a junior, Sunseri ranked 82nd in FBS in passing efficiency (124.09). He entered tthe game ranked 16th in passing efficiency (159.59) and could move near the top 10 after the impressive performance. Through eight games, Sunseri has 13 TDs and two INTs.
3. The resurrection of RB Graham: Slowed by a frustrating recovery from a serious knee injury, the accomplished senior running back lacked burst for most of the first half of the season. On Saturday, Graham had three TDs and 180 yards of total offense. Graham looked explosive on downhill runs and showed elusiveness in making lateral cuts against the Owls. NFL scouts in attendance at Heinz Field may have taken notice.
Key number: 5. Cincinnati's Legaux had three interceptions to increase his total to five over the past two weeks. The junior QB inexplicably forced a throw to TE Travis Kelce in the end zone on a back-breaking INT in overtime. The questionable decision-making is one reason why Legaux isn't as highly regarded as Bridgewater.
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Big East, follow bloggers Evan Hilbert and Matt Rybaltowski @CBSBigEast.