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Big East Conference News and Notes

11:51 AM, Nov 12, 2012   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -

CINCINNATI: The Bearcats looked strong yet again as Cincinnati rolled to a 34-10 win over Temple at Lincoln Financial Field. Cincinnati is now 7-2 this season and 3-1 in conference play. The win over Temple was just the first road victory of the season for the Bearcats. With the win Cincinnati has become bowl eligible for the sixth time in seven seasons. In total Cincinnati has been to 13 bowl games where it has a record of 7-6. Cincinnati rolled of 472 yards of total offense which was just over 200 more that the defense allowed to Temple (267). Cincinnati has now surpassed 425 yards of total offense in eight of its nine games this season and 17 times under head coach Butch Jones. Brendon Kay got the start at quarterback for the struggling Munchie Legaux. Kay threw for 244 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while completing 13-of-21 pass attempts He hooked up with Kenbrell Thompkins for a 75-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. The pass finished off a drive that lasted only 15 seconds which was the second-shortest scoring drive of the season for the Bearcats. Drew Frey grabbed his seventh career reception and first of this season. Cincinnati's offense will have to be on top of its game next weekend when the Rutgers Scarlet Knights come to Nippert Stadium.

CONNECTICUT: It took 10 weeks but Connecticut finally got into the win column in conference play by holding on for a 24-17 victory over Pittsburgh. The Huskies are 4-6 overall this season and 1-1 in Big East play. Connecticut scored all 24 of its points in the first half while the Panthers had all 17 of theirs in the second half. Connecticut dominated in the first quarter out-gaining Pittsburgh 141-39 in total yards in the first 15 minutes. Chandler Whitmer completed 19-of-25 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown but was also intercepted once. Ryan Griffin hauled in Whitmer's touchdown pass and finished with six receptions for 84 yards. Griffin now has a career-high five touchdown receptions this season. Lyle McCombs looked more like he did last season as he rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. It was only the second time this season McCombs has rushed for over 100 yards. Special teams also played a role in the scoring for the Huskies with Nick Williams returning a punt 80 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. It was Williams' second punt return for a touchdown of the season. Yawin Smallwood led the team with nine tackles, but Sio Moore led in tackles for loss (3) and sacks (2). Connecticut has a tough road contest ahead next weekend when the Huskies invade Papa John's Cardinal Stadium to face Louisville.

LOUISVILLE: The Cardinals' hopes for a perfect season were dashed as then No. 11 Louisville was upset in the Carrier Dome, 45-26 by Syracuse. With the loss Louisville falls to 9-1 overall this season and 4-1 in Big East competition. The Cardinals' conference record drops them a half game behind Rutgers for the top spot in the Big East standings. The loss also pushed Louisville all the way down to No. 20 in the top 25. In a game that featured nearly 1,000 yards of total offense, Louisville ended up on the short end in total yards (524-472). The Cardinals had only 48 rushing yards in the game and 424 yards through the air. Teddy Bridgewater threw for all of those yards while completing 36-of-49 passes with three touchdowns and an interception. Eli Rogers was Bridgewater's favorite target in the game, with 10 receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown. Louisville's defense was beat up on the ground, surrendering 278 yards rushing to the Orange, including three touchdowns, two of which came on runs of 35 yards or more. Louisville will try to bounce back next weekend when it hosts Connecticut.

PITTSBURGH: Coming off a devastating overtime loss to Notre Dame, Pittsburgh came out slow against Connecticut and was unable to make up for it as the Panthers fell 24-17 last weekend. It was the second straight loss for the Panthers, who have lost consecutive games three times this season. Pittsburgh is now 4-6 overall and just 1-4 in league play. Pittsburgh trailed 24-0 at the half and was out-gained 141-39 in total yards in the first half. Pittsburgh roared back in the second half with 17 points but was unable to complete the comeback bid. The loss came despite a slim advantage for Pittsburgh in total yards (350-345). The majority of those yards came through the air (302) with the Panthers managing only 48 yards on the ground. Tino Sunseri completed 19- of-34 pass attempts for 302 yards and two scores to lead the offense. The Big East's leading receiver, Devin Street, checked in with 76 yards on six receptions. Ray Graham was limited to only 41 yards on 15 carries in the game a week after racking up 172 yards against Notre Dame. Pittsburgh will have a week to regroup before battling Rutgers on Nov. 24.

RUTGERS: Two weeks after suffering its first loss of the season Rutgers rebounded with a 28-7 win at home over Army. In a game that was tied 7-7 heading into the final quarter, Rutgers was able to finally take the upper hand by scoring 21 unanswered points in the fourth period. Rutgers moves to 8-1 overall this season. Rutgers win moved it up a single spot in the top 25 to No. 22. With Louisville's loss, Rutgers also takes over first place in the Big East (4-0). The Big East's second leading rusher Jawan Jamison rushed for 90 yards on 20 carries. Although he did not score a touchdown himself, Jamison did throw for a score with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Coleman in the second quarter. It was one of two touchdown receptions by Coleman, who finished with three receptions for 53 yards. Gary Nova completed passes to 10 different players and finished 14-for-17 for 123 yards and both a touchdown and interception. Rutgers' defense surrendered a season-high 282 yards on the ground to the run-option offensive attack of Army and as a team Rutgers was out gained by a 337-252 yard margin in total offense. Four different players recorded double figure tackle totals for Rutgers led by Khaseem Greene who finished with 22. It was the fifth highest single game tackle total in Big East history. Lorenzo Waters (16), Steve Beauharnais (14) and Scott Vallone (12) each finished with more than 10 tackles as well. The defense also put points on the board when Duron Harmon returned a fumble recovery 73 yards for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Up next Rutgers will face a much different offense when the Scarlet Knights travel to Nippert Stadium to take on Cincinnati.

SOUTH FLORIDA: The Bulls were rewarded for their first conference win, a 13-6 victory over Connecticut, with a week off this past weekend. Now South Florida must gear up for a non-conference matchup against in-state rival Miami- Florida.

SYRACUSE: In one of the most shocking upsets of the weekend, Syracuse routed the previously unbeaten Louisville Cardinals 45-26 in the Carrier Dome. It was the first win for Syracuse against a ranked opponent this season and the first win for head coach Doug Marrone against the Cardinals. With the win Syracuse evened its overall record to 5-5 and its league mark to 4-2. In a game that pitted two of the top signal callers in the conference, Ryan Nassib bested Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater. Nassib needed only 15 completions to rack up 246 yards and three touchdowns. Nassib now has 738 career completions which is the all-time Big East record. Nassib also passed Donovan McNabb for second on the Syracuse all-time passing list (8,460 yards). A pair of those touchdowns went to Alec Lemon, who finished with nine receptions for 176 yards in the game. No other receiver on the team had more than two receptions. Syracuse was also proficient on the ground with the Orange finishing with 278 yards and three touchdowns. Jerome Smith led the way with 144 yards and a 35-yard touchdown run on 18 carries. It was Smith's four straight 100-yard rushing effort. Prince-Tyson Gulley came two yards short of reaching the century mark but got into the end zone twice, including a 55-yard run in the second quarter. Syracuse will be out of league play and will face a test from an SEC school when it heads south to take on Missouri next Saturday.

TEMPLE: The Owls' woes continued this past weekend as Temple lost in another rout 34-10 to Cincinnati at home. The defeat was the fourth straight for Temple, all of which have come by at least 24 points. In fact the loss to Cincinnati was the closest game during the four-game winning streak in terms of final score. After a promising start to the season, Temple is now 3-6 overall and 2-4 in conference play. Chris Coyer got the start at quarterback but struggled, completing only 5-of-16 passes for 56 yards while also being intercepted. He was replaced in the second half by Clinton "Juice" Granger who completed 7-of-15 passes for 86 yards and a touchdown. Matt Brown was the lead rusher in the game with 35 yards on nine carries. Montel Harris had been rolling in the previous weeks but finished with only 19 yards on eight carries. Coyer also added 34 yards on the ground. Jalen Fitzpatrick played three different positions in the game (wide receiver, running back and quarterback). Fitzpatrick finished with 31 yards receiving and 15 yards on the ground. Brandon McManus became Temple's career leader in field goal attempts (79) with a 20-yard attempt in the first quarter. He needs just four points to pass running back Bernard Pierce (324 points) as the lead scorer all-time at Temple. Tyler Matakevich failed to reach double-digits in tackles for the first time in five weeks, but still led the team in tackles with eight. John Youboty had a pair of sacks which was a career-high. Temple steps out of league play next week with a road trip to West Point to face Army.

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