Sunday, October 21, 2012
What we learned in the Big East: Week 8
By Matt Fortuna
Here's a look at what can be drawn from the past two days in the Big East.
1. It is down to two. All three undefeated Big East teams had scares at times Saturday, but only Cincinnati fell, losing 29-23 at Toledo. The Rockets are good, but a MAC team taking down an undefeated and ranked Big East team is simply bad for the conference. Rutgers and Louisville are now the teams to beat, and they play each other in the regular-season finale Nov. 29, although a lot obviously can change between now and then. (The Bearcats are still 1-0 in Big East play, remember.)
2. Rutgers can throw when it needs to. The Scarlet Knights proved this in a Week 4 shootout at Arkansas, and they proved it again Saturday at Temple. Trailing 10-0 at halftime, Rutgers outscored the Owls 35-0 in the second half behind four Gary Nova touchdown passes, with a Khaseem Greene fumble return for good measure.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had a solid game passing and rushing to lead Louisville.
3. UConn is in serious trouble. Three straight losses are bad enough. When the No. 6 defense in the country gives up 40 points, including 27 unanswered, to a team that turned it over four times a week earlier? That's bad news for the Huskies, who are on the brink of missing a bowl game for the second straight year and have a bye week coming up.
4. Teddy Bridgewater is really, really good. Probably not something learned just this weekend, but definitely validated. The sophomore completed all 11 of his first-half passes and finished the game 21-of-25 for 256 yards with two touchdowns, including the game-winning, 11-yard touchdown pass to Eli Rogers with 1:35 left. The Louisville sensation added 74 rushing yards on 10 carries, too.
5. Pitt is made for bad elements. Wind? Rain? Bring it on. The Panthers rushed for 126 yards in a throwback 20-6 win at Buffalo, more than their previous two games combined. Buffalo is not Lousiville, but holding a team to six points has to be encouraging for a defense that surrendered 45 at home a week earlier. Now the Panthers need to be efficient in conference play.