Big East Roundup

The Irish put together a nice win this weekend, and the Big East wasn't without its share of good games. One ranked opponent held off the upset while another was routed by a future ND opponent. Here's a recap of this weekend's action:


This was the game of the week in the Big East. Rutgers was seeking their first 5-0 start since 1976, but the Bulls of South Florida were in the way. Ray Rice is simply a stud, and was not only the game MVP but could very well lead this team to something special. He ran for 202 yards and two scores to lead the Knights to a close 22-20 victory. The Knights had their hands full with USF QB Matt Grothe, who threw for 241 yards and a score. He also rushed for 61 yards and two scores to account for nearly all of the Bulls points. The only negative on his game were two interceptions.

Rutgers led the way with a 7-0 first quarter lead and this game looked to be all Rutgers. But USF battled back to lead 14-10 at the half, led by Grothe's gutsy performance. Rutgers closed the gap in the third quarter with a field goal, and then shifted into a 22-14 lead with about seven minutes left. With less than 20 seconds, Grothe hit Ean Randolph with a 16-yard score, but the two point conversion was broken up and the win was preserved. Rutgers played just better than the Bulls and saved their unbeaten season. Rutgers is off this weekend, as they prepare for a huge battle with Navy the following weekend. South Florida will look to rebound as they take on conference foe UConn. Watch out for USF, I have a feeling they could sneak up on someone this season and surprise some folks.

My Prediction: Rutgers 31-13 My Record (19-4)


Let's see, I was right. Tyler Palko and Derek Kinder atoned for their 2003 upset at the hands of Toledo with a thorough 45-3 whooping. Kinder had only 41 yards receiving but did score, and Palko added 179 yards through the air with two scores. Toledo could only manage 106 yards through the air, and struggled mightily. The Panthers had three different players run for scores and the defense caused four turnovers, one an interception returned for a score. Pittsburgh completely dominated this game as expected and should be finely tuned for next weekend's game against Syracuse.

My Prediction: Pitt 35 – 10 My Record (20-4)


The Orange held fast and maintained my prediction by dispatching the Cowboys 40-34, albeit in a double overtime victory. Perry Patterson played well with 124 yards passing and a score, but the real star of the game was true freshman Delone Carter. Last year's Ohio Mr. Football ran for 129 yards and four touchdowns, including the final score. That was the good news.

The bad news was that the Orange surrendered 522 yards of offense to the Cowboys, 339 of them coming in the air. The Orange forced four turnovers, but also committed three of their own. They are riding high on a three game winning streak, but Coach Robinson and crew had better right the pass defense because aerial Pitt comes to town looking to throw all over this defense.

My Prediction: Syracuse 31-21 My Record (21-4)


I knew, as most any college football fan did, that this game would be a rushing attack much like all the service academies. What I was not counting on was such a balanced attack from Navy QB Brian Hampton, or the 41-17 beating that Navy laid on UCONN. Hampton threw for 142 yards and a score, but brutalized the Huskies defense with 182 yards and three scores.

RB Reggie Campbell had his own great day, rushing for 101 yards and a score. The Midshipmen consistently led the Huskies from the jump, and would not be denied. UCONN did have one bright spot in that they seemed to have found solid QB play with Matt Bonislawski registering 176 yards and two scores. The Navy rush defense stopped Terry Caulley to only 88 rushing yards, although he did score once on 28 receiving yards. Notre Dame fans can take note of a well balanced Navy offense and rest assured that as Hampton goes, so shall Navy. The Huskies meanwhile, will hope to avenge this humiliation against a seething South Florida team looking for redemption.

My Prediction: Navy 24 –21 My Record (22-4)


Before I had stated that I severely misjudged the Bearcat defense after the Virginia Tech game. I did not make the same mistake, and the Bearcats made me look intelligent with a 24-10 dispatching of Miami (OH). Coach Dantonio's defense held the Redhawks to only 33 rushing yards while piling up 253 of their own. Cincy RB Greg Moore led the way with 117 yards and a score, and RB Butler Benton chipped in another 68 yards and a score. Redhawk QB Dan Raudabaugh could not find any consistency against the Bearcats, completing less than 50 percent of his passes for 188 yards and two picks. A solid effort by Cincinnati shall go rewarded with a much needed win and a date with Akron this weekend.

My Prediction: Cincy 27 – 21 My Record (23-4)