Down To The Wire In BIG EAST Games
Last week’s BIG EAST action saw two league teams use late rallies to pick up key conference wins. Louisville erased a 10-point second-half deficit to beat Cincinnati 34-31 in overtime last Friday, but not before the Bearcats forced the extra period with a touchdown with 1:03 remaining. Just one day later, Syracuse came from behind twice to win 37-36 at USF as the Orange erased separate leads of 20 and nine points in the second half. Three weeks ago, Temple got the tying points in its win against Connecticut with 19 seconds left and never led until the game-winning field goal in overtime in a 17-14 victory. Louisville needed a touchdown pass with 1:35 left to rally past USF 27-25 Oct. 20.
Moving The Chains
The two most potent offenses in the BIG EAST meet Saturday in the BIG EAST Network Game of the Week as Syracuse visits Cincinnati. The Orange have averaged a BIG EAST-leading 461.9 yards per game, thanks in large part to the play of quarterback Ryan Nassib, who has thrown for 2,487 yards. Cincinnati is second in the league in total yards, but the Bearcats have averaged a league-leading 34.1 points per game, thanks in part to dynamic all-purpose threat Ralph David Abernathy IV.
Panthers Back On Track
Pittsburgh began the season with back-to-back losses, but the Panthers have found their way under first-year head coach Paul Chryst. Pitt has won four of its last six games, including a tough, 20-6 win at Buffalo Oct. 20 and a solid wire-to-wire performance in a 47-17 win against Temple last Saturday. The improved play of quarterback Tino Sunseri and the wide receiver tandem of Devin Street and Mike Shanahan have been the difference. Sunseri leads the BIG EAST in pass efficiency rating (164.8) and has thrown just two interceptions – the fewest of any BIG EAST starting signal-caller – while Street and Shanahan are first and third, respectively, in the league in receiving yards. Pittsburgh visits No. 4 Notre Dame Saturday.
Defense Rules At Rutgers
Rutgers’ defense has ranked among the nation’s best all season, so it’s no surprise that individual players have made the cut for national honors. Linebacker Khaseem Greene is a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award as the nation’s top defensive player, while Steve Beauharnais was named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award as the country’s top linebacker. Cornerback Logan Ryan has been tabbed as a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award, which goes to the nation’s top defensive back.