Monday, September 10, 2012
Big East weekend rewind: Week 2
By Matt Fortuna
One last look back at a rather disappointing weekend for the conference:
The good: The Big East won three games this weekend against opponents from other conferences, with Cincinnati beating conference rival Pitt on Thursday. Quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater and B.J. Daniels shined the brightest, as Bridgewater built off his remarkable opener against Kentucky by going 30-of-39 for 344 yards with two touchdowns in Louisville's win over Missouri State. Daniels, meanwhile, overcame a slow start to put in a 363-yard performance in USF's comeback over Nevada.
George Winn rushed for two touchdowns and 95 yards in the Bearcats' win over Pittsburgh.
The bad: The Big East failed its first two tests against the ACC, as UConn's offense stalled against NC State and Temple looked like a shell of itself against Maryland. A chance for the conference to rebound awaits this weekend, with three inter-conference matchups on deck between the Big East and ACC.
The clutch: Daniels delivered for the Bulls when it mattered most, leading an 11-point comeback with less than three minutes remaining and giving USF a big nonconference win going into its Big East opener Thursday against Rutgers. Daniels threw a pair of 50-plus-yard touchdown passes in the closing minutes, and he never turned the ball over, either.
The most impressive loss: No, there aren't any moral victories. So instead Syracuse gets recognition here. Not too many people outside of Central New York felt the Orange even belonged on the same field as USC, but they kept it to a five-point game heading into the fourth quarter before falling 42-29. As colleague Andrea Adelson said, this is the best 0-2 team in the nation.
The best handling of a Week 1 bye ever: Cincinnati coach Butch Jones was not a fan of sitting at home when everyone else opened their seasons. After Thursday, he might be suggesting that the Bearcats do that more often. They opened with a bang against Pitt, from George Winn's 58-yard touchdown run on their first offensive play to sacking Tino Sunseri six times. Questions surround Pitt, and it was only one game, but the Bearcats look like they aren't ready to surrender their recent standing near the top of the Big East anytime soon.
Up next: USF and Rutgers meet Thursday in Tampa, Fla., in a game that could have conference-title implications down the road. UConn faces old coach Randy Edsall in Maryland, with Louisville hosting UNC and Pitt hosting Virginia Tech to round out the Big East/ACC slate Saturday. Cincinnati and Syracuse host FCS opponents Delaware State and Stony Brook. Temple is off.