Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Inside the Big East - Week Eight


Both Louisville and South Florida took care of business as home this week.

No. 19 South Florida defeated Syracuse 45-13 despite a rough first half. South Florida quarterback Matt Grothe was able to orchestrate drives all game with his arm and legs, finishing with 248 yards passing and three total touchdowns. His two touchdown passes to sophomore wide receiver A.J. Love and senior Taurus Johnson in the third quarter put the game away. Two more Bulls, Carlton Mitchell and Benjamin Williams, were standouts—each caught three balls for over 60 yards.

Grothe rushed for a season high 72 yards and added his third rushing touchdown of the year. The Bulls’ offense was highly efficient in the second half and their offensive line was dominant, allowing very little pressure from the Syracuse D-Line.

With this loss, the Syracuse Orange have clinched their fourth straight non-winning season. The SU offense was able to run the ball very well in the first half, as running back Curtis Brinkley finished with 112 yards and two touchdowns. This was the fourth straight 100-yard game for Brinkley. But in the second half, the Syracuse offense was inept, unable to convert a single first down in the fourth quarter and finishing with seven total yards in the second half. Quarterback Cameron Dantley was less than impressive, finishing the game with only 129 yards passing, but with limited protection it was difficult for the junior to establish any rhythm.

Now that Syracuse is 1-6 the only news that awaits Orange fans is when Coach Greg Robinson will be fired. With this loss, Robinson falls to 2-22 in Big East games.

Louisville’s running game dominated in their 42-23 victory over Middle Tennessee State. After a lackluster first half, the Cardinals broke out in the second on the shoulders of running backs Victor Anderson and Brock Bolen. The freshman Anderson rushed for 161 yards including a career high 88-yard touchdown run. This was the freshman’s third 100-yard game of the year. Bolen was even stronger around the goal line, as the short-yardage back rushed for three touchdowns. Quarterback Hunter Cantwell came out throwing but was not very successful--his two interceptions kept MTSU around until the third quarter.

The Cardinals defense took over after halftime. They allowed a total of -11 yards on Middle Tennessee State’s first five possessions of the second half. Linebacker Chris Campa led all Cardinals with seven tackles.

No. 23 Pittsburgh crushed Navy, 42-21, and extended their winning steak to five. The Panthers’ offense was rolling from the first snap, scoring 35 points in the first half. Running back LeSean McCoy continued to run the ball well, racking up a season high 156 yards and three touchdowns. The sophomore star averaged 8.7 yards a carry and caught two balls for 46 yards. Quarterback Bill Stull did throw two interceptions but for the most part, he was efficient and his 255 yards passing were nearly a season high. Wide receiver Jonathon Baldwin has become a playmaker for the Panthers. The freshman caught three balls including a 60-yard bomb late in the game, and his 101 yards receiving yards were a career high. But it was the defense that was most impressive--the Navy offense finished with 194 rushing yards, 119 yards less than their season average.