There were 11 unbeaten teams nationally entering the ninth week of the college football season, and a wild weekend left just six of the nation’s 124 FBS teams without a loss.
One of those teams resides in the BIG EAST, where Louisville sits with an 8-0 overall record and a 3-0 conference mark on the heels of a thrilling overtime win. Rutgers was one of the aforementioned unbeaten teams that lost this week, though the Scarlet Knights lead the BIG EAST title chase at 4-0 in the conference.
The most exciting game in an exciting week took place Friday, as Louisville edged Cincinnati in overtime 34-31. The Cardinals erased a 10-point second-half deficit, took a seven-point lead with 1:56 left in regulation, saw Cincinnati force overtime with 1:03 left and got the winning points on a field goal in the first OT period.
Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater threw two touchdown passes to WR DeVante Parker in the fourth quarter on his way to a career-high 416 passing yards. Parker had four catches for 120 yards, while RB Jeremy Wright and RB Senorise Perry had a touchdown each for the Cardinals.
Cincinnati (5-2, 1-1 BIG EAST) dropped its second straight despite two rushing touchdowns from the dynamic RB Ralph David Abernathy IV, who finished with 204 all-purpose yards.
Syracuse (4-4, 3-1 BIG EAST) showed that it will be a factor in the BIG EAST race as the Orange rallied for a fourth-quarter comeback of its own to beat USF 37-36 in Tampa. Syracuse trailed 23-3 at halftime, but reeled off 21 straight points to open the third quarter to hold a 24-23 lead. USF had an answer as the Bulls took a 33-24 lead in the fourth quarter, but Syracuse’s second come-from-behind effort was capped with a 1-yard touchdown pass from QB Ryan Nassib to WR Alec Lemon with three seconds remaining.
Nassib threw for 328 yards and four second-half TDs to engineer the comeback, while WR Marcus Sales had nine catches for 125 yards and two TDs. RB Jerome Smith turned in his second straight 100-yard game, finishing with 127 yards on 28 carries.
It was another heartbreaker for USF, which has lost its last two games by a combined three points. The Bulls finished with 369 rushing yards, with a pair of 100-yard efforts as RB Lindsey Lamar had 145 yards and a TD on 10 carries, while QB B.J. Daniels went for 134 yards on 12 attempts. Daniels surpassed 10,000 yards of total offense in his career (10,279), becoming just the third BIG EAST player to hit five digits.
Pittsburgh emphatically played its way back to .500 as the Panthers picked up their first BIG EAST win of the season with a 47-17 victory against Temple at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh built a 31-7 halftime lead and was solid across the board to improve to 4-4 overall and 1-3 in the BIG EAST. QB Tino Sunseri threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns, RB Ray Graham rushed for 109 yards and two TDs, and WR Devin Street caught six passes for 140 yards and a score.
Temple was led by RB Montel Harris, who rushed for 72 yards and a touchdown, and LB Tyler Matekevich, who had 10 tackles to reach double figures for the fourth time in as many starts.
Rutgers fell in nonconference action as the Scarlet Knights dropped a 35-23 decision to Kent State at High Point Solutions Stadium. The Scarlet Knights gained 409 yards of offense, but were unable to offset seven turnovers as they fell to 7-1.