Big East Wrap Up Week 2
A young Louisville Cardinal squad (1-1, 0-0) fell at home, 24-17, to Florida International. The Panthers never trailed, getting their first win in six tries against the Big East. Cards QB Will Stein was explosive, passing for a career-high 349 yards and 2 TD’s but without a running threat, a comeback wasn’t possible.
Mistakes abounded for the UConn Huskies (1-1, 0-0) as they fell to host Vanderbilt, 24-21, Saturday night. The defense was tough but the offense turned the ball over four times (1 fumble and 3 INT’s) allowing Vandy to rally in the fourth quarter and steal the win. Lyle McCombs picked up where he left off last week rushing for 141 yards in a bright spot for the Huskies.
The Bearcats of Cincinnati (1-1, 0-0) looked great early but the D couldn’t make the plays when they needed it most, falling to host Tennessee, 45-23. Isaiah Pead led Cincy with 155 yards rushing; however, 104 of those yards came in the first quarter. The first half was competitive but after the break, the momentum was with the Vols as UT opened the second half with a 10-play, 70 yard drive for a score.
Pitt (2-0, 0-0) bested the FCS Black Bears of Maine, 35-29. It was closer than expected because the Bears wouldn’t go away and the Panthers couldn’t put them away. Junior RB Ray Graham, who leads the nation averaging 161 yards per game, was exceptional again scampering for 121 yards with 3 TD’s and added five receptions for another 30. Pitt QB Tino Sunseri was pulled after tossing for 224 yards. He threw 2 INT’s and was sacked seven times.
Visiting Rutgers (1-1, 0-0) needed to figure out how to run the ball as well as pass, as they tried to rally but feel short against host UNC, 24-22. QB Chas Dodd impressed going 24 of 47 for 243 yards and two scores with no turnovers. The Scarlet Knights had multiple opportunities but couldn’t capitalize. A running attack that manages only 1 yard for the game is obviously in need of improvement.
The defense of host #22 South Florida (2-0, 0-0) came to play, smothering Ball State 37-7 in Tampa. The Cardinals were held to 225 yards and didn’t get a score until the game was already decided. The Bulls scored after a forced fumble on the opening kickoff hitting the end zone after just 8 seconds had elapsed. QB B.J. Daniels was prolific, hurling for a career-best 359 yards. Once USF started substituting in the fourth quarter, Ball State was able to avoid the shutout.
Syracuse (2-0, 0-0) hosted a gritty FCS Rhode Island, getting by the Rams, 21-14. QB Ryan Nassib threw for a career-high 318 yards and three TD’s but the game was much closer than it should have been as the running game stalled. The RI defense stuffed the Orange at the point of attack limiting the hosts to 36 yards on 25 touches and sacked Nassib three times.
It looked as if host #18 West Virginia (2-0, 0-0) was caught napping in the first half but awakened after the break, pulling away from Norfolk State, 55-12. The Mountaineers fell behind 12-10 at halftime and had to endure much-deserved boos from the faithful. QB Geno Smith & company came alive with a second half explosion, tossing for 371 yards and four scores, amassing 533 total yards and scoring on their first seven possessions of the second half.