BIG EAST teams were a combined 5-0 in nonconference games in Week 3 of the 2012 season, while Rutgers scored a big road win in a league game to join Cincinnati atop the standings.
Rutgers relied on its recent trademarks of an efficient running game, big plays at the right time in the passing game and overall solid efforts on defense and special teams to score a 23-13 win against USF Thursday night in Tampa, Fla. Head coach Kyle Flood remained unbeaten in his brief career as he leaned on RB Jawan Jamison for a school-record 41 carries and 151 rushing yards. QB Gary Nova completed 23 of 42 passes for 277 yards, while WR Tim Wright had eight catches for a career-high 125 yards. USF got 242 passing yards from QB B.J. Daniels, but the Bulls were undone in part by four turnovers, including three interceptions.
Rutgers — one of just two teams nationally to play three road games in September — takes a 3-0 record into Saturday’s game at Arkansas.
The nonconference ledger was highlighted by the first career head coaching win for Pittsburgh’s Paul Chryst, who led his Panthers to a 35-17 decision against No. 13 Virginia Tech at Heinz Field. Pitt raced to an early 21-0 lead, forcing turnovers on three of Virginia Tech’s first four possessions, and had an answer each time the Hokies tried to counter. Pittsburgh’s offensive line was solid throughout the game, leading to 254 rushing yards for the Panthers while allowing just one sack. RB Ray Graham found the end zone three times — with two touchdown runs and one TD catch — and freshman RB Rushel Shell went for 157 yards on 23 carries. QB Tino Sunseri threw for 283 yards and three scores, while WR Mike Shanahan caught five passes for a career-high 111 yards.
No. 19/20 Louisville improved to 3-0 as the Cardinals made a sizable early lead hold up in a 39-34 victory against North Carolina at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Louisville raced to a 29-0 second-quarter lead and held a 36-7 cushion at halftime, but had to hold off a furious Tar Heel rally in the second half to get the win. QB Teddy Bridgewater enjoyed another big day as he completed 23 of 28 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns, while RB Jeremy Wright rushed for 114 yards and a TD on 20 carries.
Connecticut came away with a solid road win as the Huskies were 24-21 winners against Maryland — and former Connecticut coach Randy Edsall — in College Park, Md. The Huskies limited the Terrapins to just 205 yards of offense and Connecticut got a key play on special teams, thanks to a 58-yard punt return for a touchdown by WR Nick Williams in the first quarter. RB Lyle McCombs and QB Scott McCummings added rushing touchdowns for the Huskies, who play the second of back-to-back road games Saturday at Western Michigan.
Syracuse picked up its first win of the season as the Orange held off Stony Brook 28-17 at the Carrier Dome. Syracuse reeled off 549 yards of offense, thanks to another 300-yard day from QB Ryan Nassib. Nassib completed 22 of 35 passes for 335 yards and three touchdowns, surpassing the 300-yard mark for the third time in as many games this season. WR Marcus Sales had five catches for 117 yards.
Cincinnati capped the day with a 23-7 win against Delaware State at Nippert Stadium. The Bearcats finished with a 467-261 advantage in total offense, but the game remained close thanks to six Cincinnati turnovers. RB George Winn became the third different Cincinnati player to rush for 100 yards this season as he finished with 147 yards on 24 carries, while QB Munchie Legaux completed 20 of 27 passes for 208 yards and two TDs.