There is still more than a month to go before Rutgers faces Louisville in the final week of the regular season, but it is becoming more likely each week that at least a part of the BIG EAST championship picture will be decided when that game is played Nov. 29.
Rutgers and Louisville both improved to 7-0 with wins Saturday, giving the BIG EAST two of the nation’s 11 undefeated teams. Cincinnati fell from the ranks of the unbeaten with a tough road loss. Syracuse showed that it will be heard from in the conference race, while Pittsburgh scored a solid road victory in Week 8.
Rutgers coach Kyle Flood became the first coach in school history to win his first seven games, and the Scarlet Knights are 4-0 in BIG EAST play for the second time in league history. Temple, which had won its first two BIG EAST games, fell to 2-1 in the circuit and 3-3 overall.
Louisville had to come from behind to win as well, but not before USF would stage a comeback of its own. The Bulls erased a 21-10 fourth-quarter deficit with an 11-yard touchdown catch by WR Eli Rogers with 1:35 remaining to take a 27-25 victory
. QB Teddy Bridgewater was sharp throughout, completing 21 of 25 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. Bridgewater completed passes to nine Louisville receivers as WR Damian Copeland had career highs with five catches for 93 yards and a touchdown.
USF got three touchdown passes from QB B.J. Daniels and a career high from RB Lindsey Lamar, who rushed for 110 yards on 15 carries, but it wasn’t enough for the Bulls, who have lost five straight for the first time in program history.
Syracuse improved to 2-1 in BIG EAST play Friday
as the Orange turned in their best start-to-finish effort in a 40-10 win against Connecticut at the Carrier Dome. Syracuse built a 20-10 halftime lead and outscored the Huskies by a 20-0 count in the final 30 minutes. QB Ryan Nassib threw for 251 yards and two touchdowns, while RB Jerome Smith rushed for a career-high 133 yards on 19 carries.
Connecticut was led by QB Chandler Whitmer, who threw for 296 yards and a touchdown, but the Huskies fell to 3-5 overall and 0-3 in BIG EAST play.
Pittsburgh snapped a two-game slide with a 20-6 win at Buffalo
. The Panthers took an early lead with two first-quarter field goals and added touchdown runs by RB Rushel Shell and RB Ray Graham, while the Panthers defense kept Buffalo out of the end zone, limiting the Bulls to just two field goals. Pitt improved to 3-4 on the season.
Cincinnati similarly didn’t allow an offensive touchdown, but Toledo found the end zone on defense and special teams and kicked five field goals to hand the Bearcats a 29-23 loss
and end Cincinnati’s eight-game winning streak. RB Ralph David Abernathy IV had 192 all-purpose yards for the Bearcats, who fell to 5-1 overall.