Monday, September 24, 2012
Big East weekend rewind: Week 4
By Matt Fortuna
Here's a look back at what was an up-and-down weekend for the Big East.
The good: The Big East now has two ranked teams after Louisville took care of business at FIU and Rutgers won at Arkansas. Pitt also looks to have made its slow early-season start a distant memory after it destroyed Gardner-Webb.
The most surprising aspect of Rutgers' win over Arkansas was how the Scarlet Knights did it: With the arm of Gary Nova.
The bad: The conference went just 3-4 as a whole, losing to a pair of opponents each from the Big Ten and the MAC. Three of the four losses were certainly winnable contests.
The ugly: What was arguably Temple's best chance to beat Penn State since 1941 went up in flames in a 24-13 loss. The Owls were just 3 of 12 on third down, notched 237 yards of offense and surrendered nearly 500 yards to a Nittany Lions team hardly known for its ability to move the ball.
Biggest surprise: We knew Rutgers could be good after three weeks, and we knew the Scarlet Knights had a chance to pull off a win in SEC country. We just didn't think it would be on the arm of Gary Nova, who threw for 397 yards and five touchdowns on 25-of-35 passing. Nova was inconsistent through the first three weeks but came up huge when his team needed him most.
Biggest disappointment: USF suffered another letdown, this time at underdog Ball State. The Cardinals stunned the Bulls late with a remarkable 19-yard touchdown catch by Willie Snead with 1:02 to go, and B.J. Daniels was picked off to end the game after driving the offense deep in the final minute. USF's 518 yards of offense should be enough, especially at Ball State, but its defense -- and 11 penalties -- hampered the team. Things won't get easier next week against Florida State.
Human … finally: Teddy Bridgewater was brought down to earth at FIU. The Miami native's homecoming was not the smoothest, as the sophomore who entered Week 4 completing 81.8 percent of his passes finished just 19-of-36 for 194 yards with two touchdowns and two picks. The interceptions were his first of the season. He did add 16 rushing yards and another score on four carries.
Kryptonite: The MAC. Yes, the MAC. Can we at least get these contests moved to midweek, like the rest of #MACtion, if they're going to be so competitive? They really shouldn't be when featuring BCS-conference schools, but Western Michigan took down UConn and Ball State topped USF, both at home. The Huskies' offense and the Bulls' defense have been major letdowns so far.