Collaros Banged Up
The defending Big East champs have a banged up quarterback.
By: Braden Gall | 10/25/10, 2:22 PM EDT
The Stache has his team 2-0 in conference.
South Florida 38, Cincinnati 30
Pittsburgh 41, Rutgers 21
Syracuse 19, West Virginia 14
Louisville 26, Connecticut 0
After all the bashing and teeth-gnashing, Pitt, the preseason favorite to win the Big East, once again is it. Despite a poor showing in non-conference play, the Panthers have overwhelmed their first two league opponents to take the top spot at 2–0. A week ago, they drubbed Syracuse 45–14. This past weekend it was Rutgers by 41–21.
“Pitt is a good football team,” said RU coach Greg Schiano, “and they are hitting their stride now.”
The Panthers were tied with the Scarlet Knights at halftime, but routed the visitors in the second half at Heinz Field. Quarterback Tino Sunseri, who threw four touchdown passes against SU, added three more against Rutgers. The Panthers also received standout performances from back Dion Lewis, who ran for 130 yards and a touchdown, and wideout Jon Baldwin, who had five receptions for 139 yards and a TD.
While the preseason league favorite won, however, teams projected to finish sixth, seventh and eighth in the conference’s preseason poll all defeated teams picked to finish in the top half of the conference.
Perhaps the most surprising uprising came from Syracuse, which upended ranked West Virginia 19–14 at Mountaineer Field on Homecoming. The Orange gave a WVU offense that boasted Noel Devine, Jock Sanders and Geno Smith fits all day. SU linebacker Doug Hogue had two of the three Orange interceptions on the day and had 10 tackles. Syracuse had five sacks. “It feels great,” Hogue said, “something I’m going to remember forever.”
It was the signature win SU coach Doug Marrone was seeking and a loss that put WVU coach Bill Stewart back on the hot seat in Morgantown. The win lifted Syracuse into second place in the Big East at 2–1, while West Virginia fell to 1–1.
The wild weekend got started Friday night as South Florida snuffed a pair of notable Cincinnati winning streaks in a 38–30 Bulls win at Nippert Stadium. The Bearcats had won 14 straight on their home field and had a 13-game Big East winning streak that stood as the third-longest in conference history.
USF quarterback B.J. Daniels came out of his shell to complete 13-of-16 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns, while adding a pair of rushing touchdowns. The performance allowed the Bulls to withstand a 590-yard effort by the Cincinnati offense. UC quarterback Zach Collaros put up a 463-yard, three-touchdown effort in a losing cause before being injured. It was USF’s first league win of the year.
Meanwhile, the league’s supposed darkhorse, Connecticut, saw its title chances get darker after being shut out by Louisville 26–0. The Huskies are now alone in the league cellar.
The victorious Cardinals leaned on defense and special teams to even its league record to 1–1. In fact, they scored their 26 points despite getting just one offensive touchdown.
U of L kicker Chris Philpott made four field goals and the Cardinals got a 74-yard return for a score from wideout Doug Beaumont. Coach Charlie Strong’s defense, meanwhile, limited the Huskies to 195 yards.
Louisville back Bilal Powell ran for 105 yards on 27 carries, turning in his fourth straight 100-yard game and becoming just the fourth player in the nation to reach 1,000 yards this season (1,003).
Big Ben back in New York
A Syracuse spoil to winning the West Virginia game is reclaiming the Ben Schwartzwalder Trophy for the first time in nine seasons. The award is named after the former SU football coach and Mountaineer center. Schwartzwalder graduated from WVU, but coached the Orange for 25 seasons, including the 1959 national championship.
Support for LeGrand continues
Players from South Florida and Cincinnati offered personal messages to paralyzed Rutgers player Eric LeGrand during the nationally televised Friday game between the teams. South Florida will host Rutgers in its next game. The Scarlet Knights have established an Eric LeGrand Believe Fund.
A new leader in the clubhouse
When Louisville’s Bilal Powell rushed for 105 yards against Connecticut, he nudged past the Huskies’ Jordan Todman to become the Big East leader in the category and No. 4 rusher nationally. Todman was held to a season-low 80 yards and is now averaging 140.17 yards, fifth nationally. Powell is now averaging 143.29.
A knicked up knee might keep Collaros from playing.
Concern over Collaros
Cincinnati, 3–4, needs three wins in its last five games to qualify for a bowl and may be in trouble if quarterback Zach Collaros can’t recover from a knee injury suffered in the loss to South Florida. UC coach Butch Jones said he’d be listed as “questionable” now and an MRI showed nothing that needed surgery. If Collaros can’t go, Chazz Anderson would likely take his place against Syracuse.
Connecticut tried redshirt quarterback Michael Box against Louisville, but the move didn’t pan out. Box left the game with a concussion after completing 4-of-12 passes for 35 yards and an interception. Senior Zach Frazer, who replaced Box, went 6-of-8 for 52 yards.
Sacked — again
After allowing eight sacks against Army, Rutgers allowed seven in its loss to Pittsburgh. The Scarlet Knights are ranked last among FBS teams in the category, allowing an average of 4.7 per game. And it’s not even close. Washington State, ranked No. 119, is allowing an average of 3.88.
Big days in the Steel City
The back-to-back 40-plus point offensive outbursts by Pitt marked the first such occurrence in Big East play. Also, the 513 yards put up against Rutgers were the most since a 2006 blowout of The Citadel.
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