Football: Big East Notebook

September 29th, 2008

Connecticut and Pittsburgh gained an early head start in the race for the 2008 BIG EAST title, while four other conference teams picked up wins outside the league in Week 5.

When asked how his team was able to overcome an 11-point second-half deficit Friday, Connecticut head coach Randy Edsall simply replied, “Guts.” The Huskies were on the short end of a 21-10 score in the third quarter and were without the services of starting quarterback Tyler Lorenzen, who suffered a fractured foot earlier in the game. But Connecticut got a TD pass from backup Zach Frazer to get within striking distance and rode a 45-yard interception return by linebacker Lawrence Wilson to a 26-21 win at Louisville.

Connecticut received yet another terrific performance from running back Donald Brown, who had 190
yards and a touchdown on 33 carries against Louisville’s highly ranked run defense. The Cardinals,
meanwhile, had a pair of 100-yard rushers themselves in tailbacks Bilal Powell (112) and Victor Anderson

(100). The Huskies became the first team in the nation with a 5-0 record.

Pittsburgh likewise had to come from 11 points behind to win its BIG EAST opener Saturday as the
Panthers scored 21 unanswered points to close a 34-24 win at Syracuse. The Orange held a 24-13
lead in the third quarter on Cameron Dantley’s touchdown pass to Van Chew, but the Panthers were
able to tie it on the first of two fourth-quarter touchdowns by running back LaRod Stephens-Howling.
Stephens-Howlling had 71 rushing yards and two scores, while LeSean McCoy added 149 rushing yards
on 28 carries for the Panthers, who have won three straight. Syracuse fell to 1-4 despite a 119-yard
effort from tailback Curtis Brinkley and Dantley’s two TD passes.

USF joined Connecticut as two of the nation’s seven 5-0 teams as the Bulls rolled to a 41-10 win
at North Carolina State Saturday night. The Bulls finished with a 520-265 advantage in total yards,
scored two safeties, and held the upset-minded Wolfpack to just 26 rushing yards. Quarterback Matt
Grothe connected on his first 11 passes and completed 20 of 29 for 259 yards and a touchdown for
the game.

Cincinnati gained a road win with a 17-15 decision at Akron Saturday as Jake Rogers nailed a 48-yard
field goal midway through the fourth quarter to erase a one-point deficit. The win came with a price,
however, as Bearcat quarterback Tony Pike suffered a fracture in his non-throwing arm and was forced
to leave the game. Pike — himself an injury replacement for Opening Day starter Dustin Grutza — had
completed 23 of 34 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns before coming out of the game. He is
expected to miss at least three weeks.

West Virginia returned to its familiar form with a 27-3 win against Marshall Saturday at Milan Puskar
Stadium. The Mountaineers had a 319-39 advantage in rushing yards and got two touchdown passes
from quarterback Pat White. White also left the game with an injured thumb, but was declared “fine”
by head coach Bill Stewart after the game.

Rutgers broke into the win column in emphatic fashion as the Scarlet Knights raced to a 38-0 halftime
lead against Morgan State and made that score stand up as the final. The Scarlet Knights held the Bears to just 109 total yards, while the Rutgers offense received another fine performance from freshman tailback Jourdan Brooks. Brooks ran for three touchdowns and 65 yards on 18 carries.

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