Big East Week 5 Wrap Up
What a league opener – Pitt (3-2, 1-0) unlocked play against #16 USF (4-1, 0-1) at home and walloped the Bulls, 44-17 on ESPN’s national broadcast. The Bulls are 0-7 all-time when appearing on ESPN for a Thursday night contest. After losing heartbreakers to Iowa and Notre Dame, the Panthers stood tall, especially RB Ray Graham who took over the game with his amazing foot speed totaling 226 yards and 2 TD’s. Tino Sunseri played well going 22 of 33 for 216 and a score. For USF, the defense appeared lifeless and with no energy contrary to their previous outings. No pass rush and missed tackles kept the D on the field far too long allowing Pitt to exert itself in the first half and dominate time of possession, converting 9 of 15 third down attempts.
Coming into the game second in the nation in turnover margin, visiting Rutgers (3-1, 1-0) squeaked by Syracuse (3-2, 0-1) in double overtime, 19-16. Kicker San San Te saved the day hitting four FG’s for the Scarlet Knights. It was the third OT game this season for the Orangemen, who won the other two. The Knights capitalized at the right time. Rutgers had five takeaways to offset their four turnovers and 13 penalties. When Te kicked the 47-yard FG in the second extra period, the Rutgers D went to work forcing a fumble to end Syracuse’s chances.
Cincinnati (4-1, 0-0) visited Miami University and grinded-out a victory, 2 7-0. QB Zach Collaros delivered, going 16 of 30 for 251 yards against an impressive pass coverage defense that caused the hurler to toss two end-zone picks. The ground game was not what Bearcats fans are used to, but RB Isaiah Pead still dashed for two scores. The Cincy pass rush was outstanding as well as the run D opening the second half with a goal-line stance. Cincinnati has won the last six games in the nation’s oldest non-conference rivalry, played 116 times since 1888.
UConn (2-3, 0-0) hosted Western Michigan of the MAC and couldn’t quite get it done, falling 38-31 in a game of all offense. The teams combined for 941 yards of offense and were tied at 17 going into the fourth quarter. Husky QB Johnny McEntee proved he should be the starter completing 22 of 39 for 300 yards and four scores while Lyle McCombs balanced things out with 136 yards on 24 touches. Breakdowns in the secondary were costly for UConn, and 10 penalties didn’t make things better. With 45 seconds left, TE Ryan Griffin fumbled after making a 26-yard grab at the WM 13-yard line.
The defense came to play but wasn’t quite up to the task as host Louisville (2-2, 0-0) lost to Marshall, 17-13. Cards QB Teddy Bridgewater made his first collegiate start and was respectable going 20 of 29 for 221 yards and one score; however, he also threw 2 INT’s with the game-winning miscue coming in the 4th quarter. The Louisville defense did a nice job up until the end, failing to make the big stop when needed.
#22 West Virginia (4-1, 0-0) ran away with a huge ground effort, crushing Bowling Green, 55-10. Instead of their usual bombs-away offensive scheme, the Mountaineers’ runners hustled with freshman Dustin Garrison totaling 291 yards and 2 TD’s on 32 carries. Geno Smith did his part with 238 passing yards and three scores as the Mountain Men jumped all over BG from start to finish and the D held the MAC’s highest scoring offense to 217 total yards. The Falcons entered the game averaging 38.5 points.