Separation easy for Rutgers, Louisville
Notebook: Temple's 2-0 start surprises; Cuse close but not there
After seven weeks of play, Louisville and Rutgers are among the few teams in the country to already punch a ticket to the postseason. Wins against Pittsburgh and Syracuse, respectively, gave each team a sixth win and qualified it for a bowl game.
For Louisville coach Chuck Strong, this will be bowl game No. 4, his third consecutive with the Cardinals. And while this will be the Scarlet Knights’ eighth consecutive postseason appearance, it will be a new experience for first-year coach Kyle Flood.
“It’s exciting to be bowl eligible again,” Flood said. “Our goals are bigger than that but it is something that we work very hard for.”
While Rutgers is sitting at 6-0 and ranked No. 19, Flood assured the media that his team still has more to work toward.
“As you go through a season there certainly are milestones or levels of success that you are able to achieve and [the bowl berth] is the minimum standard of what you are trying to achieve,” Flood said.
Success has come quickly for the Scarlet Knights, but Flood is quick to give credit to his players.
“This team, maybe because of some of the things that have happened in the past…is maybe just a little bit more focused than we’ve been,” Flood said.
Both teams finish the season with a slate of games that could put them on a collision course for the Big East title.
No. 21 Cincinnati (5-0, 1-0 Big East)
• The Bearcats won their seventh consecutive game after routing Fordham last weekend while scoring 40-plus points for the second week in a row.
• Cincinnati racked up 472 yards of offense, including 210 on the ground, with four Bearcats notching a rushing touchdown.
Next Game: vs. Toledo Oct. 20
Connecticut (3-4, 0-2 Big East)
• The Huskies jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, only to surrender 17 unanswered to Temple in an overtime loss.
• Connecticut scored all of its points from the arm of quarterback Chandler Whitmer, who had 293 yards passing. He needed to be strong as the Huskies failed to top 100 yards on the ground for the third time in four games.
Next Game: vs. Syracuse Oct. 19
No. 16 Louisville (6-0, 1-0 Big East)
• The Cardinals cracked the 40-point plateau for the first time this season in a shootout against their first Big East opponent, Pittsburgh, eventually winning 48-38.
• The Louisville offense operated like a well-oiled machine, with Senorise Perry rushing for 101 yards and a career-high four touchdowns, Terry Bridgewater throwing for 304 yards and a touchdown while DeVante Parker caught four passes for 153 yards.
Next Game: vs. South Florida Oct. 20
Pittsburgh (2-4, 0-3 Big East)
• The Panthers started strong last weekend, leading No. 18 Louisville at halftime before failing to stop the Cardinal offense much in the second half.
• Tino Sunseri (287 passing yards, two touchdowns), Ray Graham (96 rushing yards, one touchdown) and Devin Street (111 yards, one touchdown) matched Louisville’s Big 3 but came up short.
Next Game: vs. Buffalo Oct. 20
No. 19 Rutgers (6-0, 3-0 Big East)
• The Scarlet Knights likely won’t merit any style points for their win against the Orange. The offense only racked up 237 total yards and 12 first downs but scored when it had to, aided by a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown by defensive back Duron Harmon.
• Rutgers LB Khaseem Greene led the way, notching 14 tackles, 1.5 sacks and forcing three fumbles and added an interception before being named national defensive player of the week by several media outlets.
Next Game: vs. Temple Oct. 20
South Florida (2-4, 0-2 Big East)
• The Bulls look to get back on track with a matchup against undefeated Louisville. With an extra week of rest and preparation, coach Skip Holtz liked what he saw as USF put plans for the remainder of the season in place.
“I love the attitude of this team, I love being out there with them,” Holtz said. “We’re not going to reward talent, we’re not going to reward experience, we are going to reward experience and effort."
Next Game: at Louisville Oct. 20
Syracuse (2-4, 1-1 Big East)
• The Orange put up 418 yards on Rutgers' vaunted defense but four turnovers prevented them from turning the yards into points.
• Ryan Nassib got back to his video game passing yardage totals but for the third consecutive game threw more interceptions than touchdowns, giving him eight on the year.
Next Game: vs. Connecticut Oct. 19
Temple (3-2, 2-0 Big East)
• The Owls picked up their first road win of the year, scoring 17 unanswered points to get the win against Connecticut in overtime. Quarterback Chris Coyer hit Jalen Fitzpatrick with 19 seconds left to send the game to extra time.
• Montel Harris started the Owls with a rushing touchdown and finished with 142 yards on the ground.
Next Game: vs. Rutgers Oct. 20