Monday, November 26, 2012
Big East weekend rewind: Week 13
By Matt Fortuna
One last look back at the holiday weekend that was in the Big East.
The good: Pitt and UConn (both 5-6) kept their bowl hopes alive with upset wins over Rutgers and Louisville, respectively. Syracuse and Cincinnati won, too, keeping their slim hopes alive for shares of the Big East title. For the Bearcats, that would be four in a five-year span.
UConn RB Lyle McCombs hasn't let his relatively small size affect his durability.
The bad: Rutgers' and Louisville's losses take some major luster off their de facto conference title game matchup Thursday night in Piscataway, N.J. South Florida, meanwhile, fumbled the ball eight times at Cincinnati. Eight.
The ugly: See Sunday night's BCS standings? Yup. No Big East teams. (Three non-AQ teams are ranked, however, as well as four-loss Michigan and four-loss Oklahoma State.)
Get well soon: Rutgers' Jawan Jamison was limited by his ankle injury again. Scarlet Knights quarterback Gary Nova missed some time after his shoulder took a nasty hit on the frozen ground of Heinz Field, and linebacker Khaseem Greene left after a hit on a punt return, but got back into the game . . . Both starting quarterbacks -- UConn's Chandler Whitmer (hit to head) and Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater (wrist, leg) -- were injured. Bridgewater returned, but ultimately throwing a fateful pick in triple overtime.
So long: Temple's return to the Big East (2-5) came to a close in Friday's loss to Syracuse. The young Owls squad had plenty of ups and downs in a transition year, from playing just 11 games (4-7) to dealing with backfield injuries all season. Their two conference wins were two more than most anticipated, but expectations will increase in Year 2.
Backs carrying the way: Syracuse rushed for 260 yards on the backs of three major contributors. Temple's Montel Harris closed his storied career with 106 rushing yards. Cincinnati's George Winn continued to impress with his 119-yard, two-touchdown performance. Pitt's Ray Graham closed out his home career with a bang, going for 113 yards and a score. And Lyle McCombs lifted UConn to a second straight win with a second straight 100-yard performance, this one for 133 yards.
By the thousands: Jerome Smith eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark Friday for Syracuse. Alec Lemon eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark. Together they have given the Orange their first 1,000 rushing/receiving combo since 1989, when Michael Owens and Rob Moore accomplished the feat. Moore currently coaches the Syracuse receivers.