- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Buckle up for a wild finish to the Big East season.
Cincinnati beat Syracuse 30-13 to keep its Big East and BCS hopes alive. The Big East will not know its BCS representative until the games end next weekend. West Virginia, Cincinnati and Louisville remain in the hunt. If all three teams win next weekend, the Mountaineers would get the BCS bid based on their higher BCS ranking. Each team would be 1-1 against the other.
The Bearcats (8-3, 4-2) rebounded from a dismal loss to Rutgers last week with a huge win over a struggling Syracuse win, and Isaiah Pead was a major reason why. The running back had 246 all-purpose yards -- 80 yards rushing, 112 yards receiving and 54 yards in returns. He and backup quarterback Jordan Luallen helped key an offense that only scored three points last week.
It could have very well been more. Luallen had two big runs that ended at the Syracuse 1. Cincinnati settled for field goals both times. Coach Butch Jones said earlier this week he would use Munchie Legaux and Luallen, and he stuck to that promise. Luallen finished with 77 yards on eight carries and was a nice change of pace for the Bearcats.
Syracuse (5-6, 1-5) has now dropped five straight since beating West Virginia for its only Big East victory. Even off a bye, the Orange couldn't solve their offensive problems. Antwon Bailey had 135 yards rushing, but Ryan Nassib struggled once again and was pressured continuously.
Syracuse had one last shot to try for a comeback, but Cincinnati batted down a fourth-and-goal pass in the end zone late in the fourth quarter. The Orange has one last chance to become bowl eligible Saturday against Pitt (5-6), another team hoping to make a bowl game. Cincinnati hosts UConn (5-6), which also hopes to become bowl eligible.