BY CHRISTOPHER MOGOLLON
BIG EAST INSIDER
South Florida – The Bulls defense proved that they are the real deal, shutting down Steve Slaton and the rest of the West Virginia offense. An unfortunate injury to Pat White helped USF pull off the close victory 21-13 but that doesn't take away how they were able to hold West Virginia to just 188 rushing yards – WVU’s lowest total all season. South Florida scored their first touchdown when linebacker Ben Moffitt took a White pass back for six and the senior finished the game with two interceptions and nine tackles, two of them for losses. South Florida forced a whopping six turnovers, three of those interceptions. South Florida took a 14-0 lead right before the half and it was fitting. Matt Grothe was nearly sacked but the West Virginia secondary thought his knee was down and kind of gave up on the play, this was when receiver Carlton Mitchell was able to get open and catch a 55 yard touchdown. Grothe didn't have a great game -- throwing two interceptions and just 135 yards, but he held on for the win. The speed of the defense is what won the game for the Bulls and ended the national title hopes for WVU. There was a total of ten turnovers in the game.
Cincinnati – With their 52-23 victory at San Diego State, the Bearcats are now 5-0 and they have started to get the attention of the nation. Cincinnati is ranked in both polls, 20th in the AP. This is the first time they have been ranked since 1976. The offense exceeded efficiency with a total of 547 total yards. Ben Mauk continues to play well throwing for 257 yards and four touchdowns. Junior Dominick Goodman caught seven of those passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Marcus Barnett caught two touchdowns both in the 2nd quarter including an 80-yard score. The Cincinnati run defense was very good holding the Aztecs to 65 rushing yards (2.7 per carry).
Back to Losing:
Syracuse – After getting a huge victory over Louisville last week, the Orange were back to their old ways with a 17-14 loss at Miami (OH). The game was very sloppy, combining for a total of 17 penalties and four turnovers. The biggest mistake of the game occurred on a 4th and short -- the Red Hawks were planning on punting the ball back to Syracuse, instead a Syracuse player jumped offsides which gave Miami a first down. Later on that drive that Miami scored a touchdown, which proved to be a big one. Syracuse just could not stop the run, as their linebackers were exposed again allowing 286 yards on the ground. The bright spot was Andrew Robinson who played well, throwing for 236 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. The line gave up a couple of big sacks and committed some crucial penalties to hold the Orange to only two touchdowns.
Pittsburgh – When the Panthers got off to a 2-0 start there was a little excitement in Pittsburgh, but after three straight losses, including two blowouts, Dave Wannstedt is back on the hot seat. They were taken behind the woodshed in Virginia losing 44-14. The Cavaliers put up 27 points in the first quarter scoring four touchdowns, two passing and two on the ground. Freshman LeSean McCoy was decent rushing for 85 yards and one touchdown but with no passing attack, it was tough to move the ball. The Pittsburgh defense allowed three touchdowns through the air.
Under the Radar:
Connecticut is 5-0…yeah their football team is 5-0. After dominating Pittsburgh, the Huskies continued rolling by crushing Akron 44-10. They put the game away in the third quarter scoring three touchdowns. Sophomore Andre Dixon rushed for 116 yards averaging a remarkable 9.7 yards per carry. Donald Brown rushed for 65 yards, both Brown and Dixon scored a touchdown.
Back to Business:
Louisville was coming off two loses and took out their frustration on NC State in their 29-10 win. Brian Brohm was 20/33 throwing for 251 yards and a touchdown. Brock Bolen got most of the carries rushing for 115 yards and a touchdown. The secondary allowed 249 passing yards but the Louisville defense forced five turnovers.
Freshman Spotlight: Even though Mike Ford of USF got only five carries he rushed for 42 yards, picking up a big chunk of yards on a crucial 35 yard run. Ford was great in South Florida's win at Auburn rushing for 74 yards and then 83 at home versus Elon. As the season progresses look for Ford to get more touches.
Big East Player of the Year Update: Because of two early losses, Louisville has lost a lot of the attention and hype it was getting before the year. Regardless receiver Harry Douglas just continues to dominate the receiving statistics. Douglas leads the conference in receptions, yards per game and touchdowns. Douglas is averaging 169.8 yards per game and is ahead of Ray Rice for the most all-purpose yards.