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Monday, November 12, 2012
Big East weekend rewind: Week 11

By Matt Fortuna

Here's one more look back at what went down this past weekend in the Big East:

The good: Connecticut finally notched a Big East 'W.' Rutgers got back on the winning track. And Syracuse and Cincinnati turned in dominating performances a week after their tight battle, which went the Bearcats' way.

The bad: Louisville, which had risen to No. 9 in the BCS rankings and was carrying the banner for the conference, laid a gigantic egg in Syracuse, getting blown out 45-26. Lots of credit to the Orange, but make no mistake, this was a huge blow for the conference, which was already getting disrespected by computers and pollsters who had two two-loss teams ahead of the unbeaten Cardinals.

The ugly: Oh, Pitt. What shall we do with you? A week after taking the No. 3 team in the country to triple-overtime on the road, you fall behind 24-0 to a UConn team that has not moved the ball well in more than a month. Now your bowl chances are very slim, and you really have nowhere to look but in the mirror following some mind-boggling defeats this season.

The replacements: Brendon Kay's first start for Cincinnati could not have gone better, as the fifth-year senior completed 13 of 21 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns, adding 71 rushing yards on seven carries. His second-half opponent, Clinton Granger, replaced Chris Coyer, who has been ineffective throughout Temple's four-game losing streak. Here's guessing one of these teams' QB situations will be a lot clearer than the other's heading into this week.

Send it in, Jerome! Jerome Smith has now rushed for 100 or more yards in four straight games for Syracuse, who notched another huge home upset under coach Doug Marrone. The Orange are on the brink of returning to bowl eligibility, and their re-established running game is a big reason for that, with Syracuse winning three of its past four games.

Nice to see you again: Oh hey, UConn's rushing game. Lyle McCombs had his first 100-yard game since Sept. 22. In fact, he had not rushed for even 50 yards in a game since September, and the Huskies had not scored a second-half touchdown since then, either. But the nation's 116th-ranked rushing attack put up 132 yards while holding Pitt to 48, this after Ray Graham picked apart Notre Dame's defense for 172 rushing yards a week earlier.

Wild finish awaits: Rutgers is the only team without a Big East loss, but it will have its hands full this week at Cincinnati. Rutgers and Louisville both control their own destinies when they meet in the Nov. 29 regular-season finale, but the Bearcats can turn this into a completely chaotic race if they take down the Scarlet Knights this weekend.