Big East Conference News and Notes

8:34 AM, Oct 8, 2012   |    comments
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CINCINNATI: The Bearcats dominated in an instate matchup taking down Miami- Ohio 52-14, to collect the Victory Bell for the seventh straight season. It was also the Bearcats' seventh consecutive win overall dating back to last season. The Bearcats' 4-0 start is the best since 2009 when the team finished 12-0 in the regular season. The offensive eruption came largely on the ground with Cincinnati accumulating a season-high 272 yards, while scoring four touchdowns on the ground. Running back George Winn rushed for 128 yards and a pair of scores for his second multi-touchdown game of his career. Quarterback Munchie Legaux had three total scores (two passing and one rushing) which matched a career high. Legaux only rushed for 22 yards and threw for 157 on 13-of-23 passing. Cincinnati's defense surrendered 379 yards of total offense but were stingy against the run with the RedHawks managing only 59 yards rushing. The team had six tackles for loss and entered play 28th in the nation in the category. Cincinnati will play its second straight game at home and fourth overall this season when the Bearcats host Fordham next weekend.

CONNECTICUT: In a battle of two of the Big East's best defenses, UConn fell 19-3 to nationally ranked Rutgers. The Huskies are now 1-18 all-time against ranked opponents. The only win came in 2007 in a win over No. 11 South Florida. UConn's defense was as advertised, especially in the first quarter holding Rutgers to 43 total yards in the first quarter and only six points in the first half, while forcing two turnovers. Jory Johnson led the charge with a game-high 10 tackles. Connecticut held on to its league-leading tackles for loss total with seven in the game for 46 total this season. Jory Johnson led the way with 10 total tackles while Sio Moore had nine and 1.5 for loss. The Husky offense was limited to 244 yards of total offense. The Huskies were especially ineffective on the ground with 53 yards rushing with a 1.9 yards per carry average. Lyle McCombs, the Big East's third leading rusher entering play, had only 32 yards on 12 carries. Chandler Whitmer threw for 191 yards while completing only 14-of-32 passes and throwing four interceptions. Those interceptions added to a fumble equaled a season-high in turnovers by UConn. Next up Connecticut returns home to welcome in Temple, fresh of its first Big East win, a team the Huskies lost to 30-16 in the last meeting in 2010.

LOUISVILLE: With the week off, Louisville stayed at No. 18 in the top-25. The Cardinals will put that ranking, and their perfect 5-0 start, on the line next weekend in a road contest against Pittsburgh. It will be the squad's third straight road contest.

PITTSBURGH: A late rally from the Panthers fell short on Friday night as Pittsburgh was handed a 14-13 loss by the Syracuse Orange in the Carrier Dome. It was the first loss by Pittsburgh against the Orange since 2004. Despite holding the Orange scoreless through the final three quarters, Pittsburgh couldn't dig itself out of an early deficit. The offense struggled mightily on the ground against the Orange with a net average of 0.7 yards per carry and 27 total rushing yards. The bulk of the blame for that was the five sacks taken by quarterback Tino Sunseri which resulted in minus 33 yards. Sunseri still had a good game despite the pressure, completing 25-of-33 passes for 319 yards. Sunseri is now second in the Big East in passing yards this season (1,463). Ray Graham managed only 57 yards rushing on 24 carries, while scoring the Panthers' only touchdown. Devin Street caught a career-high 10 passes for 130 yards to lead all receivers. Pittsburgh's defense held down the Big East's leading passer Ryan Nassib, limiting the Orange to only 185 yards through the air. Pittsburgh has quite a challenge ahead of it next week as the Panthers look for their first conference win this season in a battle with No. 18 Louisville.

RUTGERS: After a dominating defensive effort led to a 19-3 victory over Connecticut, the Scarlet Knights moved up to No. 20 in the most recent top-25. Rutgers is now 5-0 this season giving Kyle Flood's squad a 5-0 mark for the first time since 2006 and the third time since 1976. It was also the first win as a ranked team by the Scarlet Knights since 2007. Flood along with Urban Meyer of Ohio State are the only first-year coaches to still be undefeated at this point in the season. Rutgers is now the 15th ranked team in the nation in total defense after allowing only 244 total yards to the Huskies. The Scarlet Knights are 43-4 since 2000 when holding opponents to less than 300 yards. The defensive unit was particularly punishing against the run allowing only 53 yards and a 1.9 yards per carry average. Rutgers is the second-best team against the run in the nation this season (60.6 yapg). Khaseem Greene had eight tackles in the game and is now ninth in school history in career tackles. The defense also added to the team's offensive output with Wayne Warren scoring on a 25-yard interception return in the fourth quarter. Big East leading rusher Jawan Jamison ran for 110 yards for his sixth straight game of more than 100 yards. He is one of only three players in Rutgers history to accomplish that feat. Gary Nova completed 18-of-27 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown. As part of a two-game homestand Rutgers will play host to Syracuse in the final game between the squads as Big East foes.

SOUTH FLORIDA: A blocked field goal with little more than a minute left in regulation doomed South Florida in a 37-28 loss to the Temple Owls on Saturday. After Maikon Bonani's 45-yard attempt was blocked, Temple running back Montel Harris scored on a 35-yard rushing touchdown to seal the Bulls' fate. The Bulls lost despite having more first downs (23-22) and total yards (384-383). The Bulls struggled to stop the Owls' running attack, surrendering 216 yards on the ground on 51 carries. B.J. Daniels threw for 219 yards and a touchdown on 18-of-31 passing and rushed for a score, however he also threw a costly interception. The rushing touchdown gives Daniels 24 for his career which ties a school record. It is the second time this season he has thrown for and rushed for a touchdown. Demetris Murray rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown and Lindsey Lamar added 57 yards and a score of his own. Kayvon Webster led the team in tackles for the second straight week with eight. South Florida is on bye next week giving the Bulls an extra week to prepare for a tough road contest against No. 18 Louisville.

SYRACUSE: The Orange got out to an early 14-0 lead and then held on for a 14-13 win at home over Pittsburgh in the final matchup between the squads as members of the Big East. It was the first win for Syracuse against Pittsburgh since 2004, ending a seven-game losing streak. In the game, wideout Marcus Sales caught six passes for 63 yards to become only the sixth receiver in Syracuse history to record 100 career receptions. Also on that list is Alec Lemon (150) who caught five passes for 42 yards to extend his streak of games with a reception to 20. Ryan Nassib, who led the Big East in passing yards entering play, threw for a season-low 185 yards and also threw an interception. As a team Syracuse rushed for 120 yards on 33 carries led by Jerome Smith (10 carries, 61 yards), while Adonis Ameen-Moore scored a touchdown from a yard out on his first carry of the season. The Orange defense played well, especially against the run, holding the Panthers to just 27 yards on 37 carries. The defense was also responsible for one of the Orange's two touchdowns as Dyshawn Davis returned a fumble 52 yards for a score in the first quarter. Brandon Sharpe had a career-high four sacks in the contest. Left tackle Justin Pugh made his first start of the season after recovering from a shoulder injury. Syracuse has a stern test ahead of it next weekend when it travels to Piscataway, New Jersey to tangle with No. 20 Rutgers.

TEMPLE: In its first Big East Conference game since 2004, Temple won in a second half shootout 37-28 over South Florida on Saturday. It was also the fourth consecutive win in conference openers, the three previous coming as members of the Mid-American Conference. Also making a major comeback in the game was running back Montel Harris. The former Boston College Eagle, looked more like the player that earned All-ACC honors in 2010, rushing for 133 yards on 24 carries including a pair of rushing touchdowns. It was his 23rd career 100-yard rushing game which leads all active players. In his eighth straight start under center, Chris Coyer threw for 167 yards and a touchdown on 16-of-20 passing, while also rushing for 64 yards and a score on 13 carries. Matt Brown also had a rushing touchdown and 59 yards as the Owls piled up 216 yards on the ground. Tyler Matakevich led the defense, which allowed 383 total yards, with a career-high 15 tackles, including two for a loss. Temple will travel up to Hartford, Connecticut next weekend to take on Connecticut.

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