Maybe the Big East isn’t the best conference around, but now that we are getting into conference play, at least we know we are going to be getting some interesting – and significant – games. Before, fans of the BE were stuck with blowout wins (or in some cases, embarrassing losses) over bad teams and losses to fellow BCS opponents. Now, we have games between teams that will compete on a level playing field, meaning we might actually have some watchable games.
Rutgers 27 Connecticut 24
This is one that I was dead wrong about. I did not think the Scarlet Knights had the offensive fire power to take down UConn and their potent running game, but I was wrong. Freshman QB Chas Dodd led his team down the field for 10 points in the final 3:53, including the game-winning field goal by the awesomely named San-San Te with 18 seconds left.
If you told me that Mohamed Sanu would be held to just two catches and 11 yards, I probably would have put the odds of Rutgers throwing for 300+ yards somewhere between slim and none, and a whole lot closer to none. However, Dodd threw the ball at will, hitting tons of big plays to overcome another solid outing by UConn RB Jordan Todman (123 yards).
Rutgers now gets a jump ahead on the rest of the league with an early conference win. They had rough games out of conference, but the slate is clean in the Big East. Could they be the team that gives WVU a run for its money?
Syracuse 13 South Florida 9
Less than 130 yards passing for each of the two teams, plenty of turnovers to go around, and 22 combined points…far from a thing of beauty. Even so, Syracuse loves it, because they are now 4-1, and pending further evaluation, a team to be dealt with in the Big East.
Syracuse pulled this one off because they were able to consistently move the ball on the ground. Delone Carter and Antwon Bailey formed a pretty solid combination, rushing for 186 yards between them. They were the workhorses on a 14 play 98 yard drive that gave the Orange the lead in the fourth. Syracuse held South Florida to just one field goal on defense. The Bulls TD came on a kick-off return.
Notre Dame 23 Pitt 17
Pitt outgained the Irish by around 60 yards, but two turnovers and red zone inefficiency were their undoing. The Panthers rallied from a 17-3 deficit on the arm of Tino Sunseri, but it wasn’t enough. They had two opportunities for winning drives in the final five minutes, but Notre Dame’s defense stiffened.
Louisville 56 Memphis 0
Like I said on Friday: Memphis is not very good. The Tigers made UofL look like the 2008 Florida Gators on offense. Adam Froman threw when he wanted to, but more often, it was Bilal Powell blowing through holes on the ground to the tune of 204 yards on just 18 carries. The Cards didn’t turn the ball over and held Memphis to just 223 yards.
West Virginia 49 UNLV 10
Another shellacking. Geno Brown bounced back well from a rough night in Baton Rouge with a 12-16 outing, tossing for 220 yards and three TD’s. The Mountaineers rushed for 219 yards as a team, with 11 different guys getting carries, none more than six times. Noel Devine had 82 yards and a TD on just three carries.
Cincinnati 45 Miami (OH) 3
This wasn’t the worst blowout of the weekend according to the score, but it may have been the most comprehensive beat down. 45-3 was the halftime deficit and Cincinnati had over 600 yards on offense. Butch Jones has to be feeling better about his team.
1. West Virginia 4-1 (0-0) – There’s a pretty good chance they’ll be favorites in all seven BE games
2. Rutgers 3-2 (1-0) – Quality win vs. UConn gives them #2
3. Syracuse 4-1 (1-0) – Didn’t think I’d even be putting them this high
4. UConn 3-3 (0-1) – Still in the conversation
5. Cincinnati 2-3 (0-0) – Might be my dark horse pick in this conference
6. South Florida 3-2 (0-1) – Ugly loss this weekend
7. Louisville 3-2 (0-0) – Who knows?
8. Pitt 2-3 (0-0) – Still don’t think they’re terrible