Big East Wrapup

Scout.com takes you around the Big East football conference for a wrapup of last week's action and a look ahead to this weekend.

BOSTON COLLEGE
Just add it to Boston College's big wins over Notre Dame. While Saturday's victory wasn't quite of the magnitude of the win 11 years ago, when BC took the Irish out of the national championship picture, or even two years ago, when the Eagles spoiled a Notre Dame undefeated season, it was still big, especially for BC.

Trailing 20-7 at halftime, the Eagles came storming back in the second half thanks to their defense, which held Notre Dame to only 122 yards after the break, including just 24 yards rushing. Boston College won the game 24-23 on a last-minute touchdown pass from Paul Peterson to Tony Gonzalez.

"At halftime it was time for us to make a stand," BC coach Tom O'Brien said. "We knew we had to make a change in our attitude because we were only down 20-7 at halftime and any team can come back from that," said defensive lineman Tim Bulman. "In the locker room it felt like our mother died or something, but we were able to refocus and came out on fire."

The victory pushed BC to 5-2 heading into a week off before a home contest with Rutgers on Nov. 6. Going in on a high is definitely a better way than spending the time off thinking about what might have been.

GAME BALL GOES TO: QB Paul Peterson -- The quarterback led the way back against Notre Dame, completing 19-of-23 passes in the second half for 297 yards and two scores. The last-minute drive that enabled the Eagles to take the lead showed the senior's poise and leadership skills.

KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Larry Lester -- The junior was the Eagles' biggest target against Notre Dame, catching eight passes for 111 yards. At only 5-8, Lester is able to slip between defenders to get open, and quarterback Paul Peterson found him often against the Irish. The performance helped take some of the sting away from his overtime fumble against Pittsburgh the prior week.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We would still like to play them, as long as it is an even deal. Not a deal where we play here five times and Boston three. Every season it is a great game and it has become a great rivalry between the two schools. I do not know why you would not want to play this game. I think it would be great game to keep playing for both schools." -- Boston College coach Tom O'Brien on Notre Dame-Boston College series, which has been played for 13 consecutive seasons but will take a hiatus.

LOOKING GOOD: The defense came up big when it had to, twice causing Notre Dame turnovers in the red zone in the first half, then shutting down the Irish in the second half. The Eagles held Notre Dame to only three points and 122 yards in the second half.

STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: Consistency is the only thing that kept the Eagles from blowing out the Irish in this one. The offense took a while to wake up and score some points, and the Irish were able to get a lot of yardage prior to halftime before the Eagles finally got into the game and shut them down.

ROSTER REPORT: Junior cornerback Will Blackmon found himself on the bench after getting burned for a touchdown against Notre Dame. His replacement, DeJuan Tribble, earned himself more time with an interception, as did Jazzmen Williams, who picked off an Irish pass at the BC 1.


CONNECTICUT
The Huskies were absolutely dominating against Temple, rolling up 518 yards of total offense on the way to a 45-31 home victory. But coach Randy Edsall wasn't all that happy, preferring to notice that his team turned the ball over four times -- the most for UConn since making the move to Division I-A -- and gave up 31 points.

"There's a lot of things to talk about today's game but the bottom line is that we came into the game and we were 4-2, and we're leaving the game 5-2," Edsall said.

"We played well at times and then we didn't play well at times. The first half we jumped out very fast, started off quick. But, the thing is we made big plays and then I felt -- especially offensively -- because we made big plays that we had guys trying to press to make big plays, which led us into some turnovers.

"You have to give Temple credit. They did a good job of stripping the football. We have to hang on to it a little bit better. So, now you look at the field position and our defense did a tremendous job in the first half with where Temple got the ball. What happened is we ran out of gas on defense in the second half."

As the Huskies try to make a bowl game for the first time, Edsall wants perfection from his squad, or at least he wants his players to strive for it. So when the 1-7 Owls rack up 475 yards of total offense, Edsall isn't too happy.

Still, there's tempered optimism for the Huskies, heading into a date at Syracuse this Saturday.

GAME BALL GOES TO: QB Dan Orlovsky -- The senior became the school's all-time leader in touchdown passes by throwing for two against Temple. On the day, Orlovsky was 18 of 26 for 260 yards, helping the Huskies to an early big lead.

KEEP AN EYE ON: RB Larry Taylor -- The freshman electrified the crowd at Rentschler Field, taking back the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, the fifth longest return in school history. Taylor has only four carries for 34 yards this season, but he showed his playmaking ability in tallying the Huskies' first score against Temple.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "The only record I really want is to have my name next to the best team that UConn has ever had." -- Connecticut quarterback Dan Orlovsky on setting the school record for career touchdown passes.

LOOKING GOOD: The offense hit the Owls with some quick scores, going up 31-7 at half. The passing game was solid and the ground attack was efficient, with the Huskies having such balance that they finished within two yards of passing and rushing yardage (260-258).

STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: Connecticut turned the ball over four times, the kind of thing that can doom a good team. The Huskies have to make sure they hang onto the ball much better because there are some tough road games upcoming.

ROSTER REPORT: The Huskies had a few minor injuries against Temple, with both kick returner Larry Taylor (ankle) and running back Cornell Brockington (knee) leaving the game but vowing to be ready for the next contest. Also hurt was backup linebacker Kinnan Herriott, who hurt his right thigh and didn't return. ... Cornerback Allan Barnes is likely out for the season after injuring his knee in practice for the Temple game.


PITTSBURGH
For one day, Pittsburgh's offense could do no wrong, The Panthers struck quick and had no problems putting up the points in a 41-17 victory over Rutgers.

After scoring just 64 points combined in their previous three contests, Pittsburgh was happy to have a breakout performance, especially by quarterback Tyler Palko, who completed 27 of 43 passes for 318 yards and three touchdowns.

The win gives the Panthers the most victories in the Big East (three) and puts them in a position to actually think about a BCS bowl if they can continue to win.

"Winning out means we want to win against Notre Dame (in a non-conference game)," said Palko.

"We don't just want to win the Big East championship, we're going to win the rest of our games. That's our mentality, and if we take care of business, we'll be Big East champions. We expect to play for the Big East championship."

If they continue to play like they did against Rutgers, the Panthers have a chance at that goal. Pittsburgh jumped ahead 38-3 at halftime and cruised from there.

Now the Panthers have a week off to prepare for a big showdown against Syracuse, and a chance to extend the winning streak to four.

GAME BALL GOES TO: QB Tyler Palko -- He was at his best against Rutgers, completing 27 of 43 passes for 318 yards and three touchdowns. Palko was able to spread the ball around and get the Panthers' offense in high gear from the get-go.

KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Joe DelSardo -- DelSardo was Palko's favorite target against Rutgers, catching eight balls for 102 yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore was a fantastic deep threat against the Scarlet Knights, and Palko seems to be gaining confidence in throwing the ball to him.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't think a lot of people in this room never thought we'd be in this position. And, I couldn't be more proud of the players who got us here." -- Pittsburgh coach Walt Harris on Pittsburgh's 5-2 record after the Panthers started the season 2-2.

LOOKING GOOD: The passing game was extremely efficient against Rutgers, with six different receivers contributing to the 318 yards through the air. Tyler Palko was able to spread the ball around and keep Rutgers off balance.

STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: After a solid game running the ball against Boston College, the Panthers had their troubles getting yardage on the ground against Rutgers. Pittsburgh gained just 79 yards on 42 attempts, a stat that must be improved upon in future games.

ROSTER REPORT: Fullbacks Tim Murphy and Justin Acierno both returned from injuries to play against Rutgers. Murphy led the team in rushing while Acierno had four receptions in the game.


RUTGERS
Just when it seemed as if the Scarlet Knights were taking the last steps to respectability, they lay an egg like they did against Pittsburgh on Saturday. Rutgers was never in the game, as the Panthers jumped out to a 38-3 halftime lead and were never seriously threatened.

Quarterback Ryan Hart had another rough game, turning the ball over five times, giving him nine turnovers in the past two contests. Coach Greg Schiano thought of sitting Hart for a couple of series in the second half, but he had him out for only one play, the first time all year that Hart hasn't been under center for a Rutgers offensive snap.

"I think he showed why (he stays in). He came back in the second half and really did an excellent job," Schiano said.

"There was thought to getting (backup) Terrence Shawell in there, but then we blocked a punt (with 7:49 to play), so we were going to leave Ryan in there."

Hart ended with 351 yards on 31 of 57 passing in the game, but his three first-half interceptions led to Pittsburgh touchdowns, including one returned 82 yards for a score.

"I take full responsibility," said Hart. "You can't blame anyone else, especially on the fumble. I have to keep the ball with two hands and take the sacks. On the interceptions, some were tipped, but some were reads I wish I could take back. I'm just proud of the way the guys finished the game."

GAME BALL GOES TO: WR Tres Moses -- Moses had a career day against Pittsburgh, catching 12 passes for 113 yards, including his first touchdown of the season. Moses' day moved him to seventh place on the Rutgers' career receptions list.

KEEP AN EYE ON: PK Jeremy Ito -- The freshman continues to be a force, tying his career best with a 48-yard field goal. The score was his fifth of 40 or more yards.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Things aren't clicking the way I'd like. You're going to have your ups and downs. Obviously, these are my downs right now. I have to play through it." -- Rutgers quarterback Ryan Hart on his current struggles.

LOOKING GOOD: The passing game put up some nice numbers, with Ryan Hart gaining 351 yards through the air. Turnovers cost the Scarlet Knights, but if Hart can make better decisions, the passing game will be even better.

STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: Pittsburgh had no problem moving the ball against Rutgers, especially early in the game. Rutgers is not going to be competitive if the offense has to play from behind -- way behind -- like it did against the Panthers.

ROSTER REPORT: Starting left guard Brian Duffy (knee) and starting left tackle Ron Green (undisclosed injury) both left the game against Pittsburgh. True freshman Corey Hyman played in place of Duffy in his first career action. True freshman cornerback Anthony Miller saw his first action in the Rutgers secondary, which is decimated by injuries.


SYRACUSE
The Orange had the odds stacked against them when taking on West Virginia on Oct. 21. The Mountaineers were nationally ranked and looking to make a statement after a recent upset loss to Virginia Tech.

Syracuse didn't exactly help itself, though, as the game was essentially determined in the first half, when West Virginia blocked a field goal and blocked a punt, as well as getting a turnover when Syracuse fumbled on a punt. The special teams errors led to two West Virginia touchdowns and helped stake the Mountaineers to a 17-0 halftime lead.

"Defensively, we just didn't get the thing under control," said Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni. "And offensively, we needed to hit some of the open receivers. We were a little bit hurried. I thought we were a little bit anxious. And we didn't execute from a special-teams standpoint. It's a combination of things."

The combination led to a 27-6 setback that left the Orange at 3-4 on the season and wondering when the losses will end. Pasqualoni, for his part, doesn't seem to have the answer yet, but he needs to find it soon.

"You know, it's the same thing," Pasqualoni admitted. "I mean, we're in there battling and battling and battling. But we just didn't get it done."

GAME BALL GOES TO: QB Perry Patterson -- Although the Orange didn't have a good night scoring against West Virginia, Patterson was able to put up a career-high 249 yards passing. Patterson completed 23 of 37 passes.

KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Steve Gregory -- After missing four games with a thigh injury, Gregory bounced back with a big game against West Virginia. Gregory set career bests with five receptions for 58 yards, giving the Orange hope of having another threat in the passing game.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We definitely wanted to win this game. Our goal is get to the BCS and this was the game we had to do it in. We just didn't come out and do it. From the start we didn't come out and play the way we needed to, and things kind of fell apart kind of quick." -- Syracuse wide receiver Steve Gregory on the 27-6 loss to West Virginia.

LOOKING GOOD: With Steve Gregory back from a thigh injury, Perry Patterson had another target and was able to put up a career-best 249 yards passing. Of course, a lot of that came with West Virginia protecting a big lead, but it's a building block for future contests.

STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: Special teams had an awful time blocking the Mountaineers, who blocked a field goal and a punt. The punt was especially disheartening considering West Virginia had set up for a return and rushed only one player.

ROSTER REPORT: Running back Walter Reyes didn't play against West Virginia due to flu-like symptoms. It was the first time since the opening game of the 2001 season, Reyes' freshman campaign, that he did not play.


TEMPLE
Temple had Walter Washington, but even the outstanding quarterback wasn't enough to keep up with Connecticut's explosive offense. The Huskies scored on the opening kickoff and never looked back, trouncing the Owls, 45-31.

Washington had two rushing touchdowns and accounted for 360 yards of total offense, but he couldn't get the Owls on the scoreboard early enough to stop the UConn onslaught. The defense gave up big play after big play and just couldn't stop the Huskies.

"Too many big plays," said Temple coach Bobby Wallace. "Bad tackling."

Connecticut finished with 518 yards of total offense, and might have had more if it didn't commit four turnovers. Temple was able to gain 475 yards and held its own in the yardage department with UConn early in the game.

But the Huskies got into the end zone when the Owls weren't, putting together a 24-7 halftime advantage that largely buried the Owls.

Temple must tighten the defense ... or else the Owls' offense could set new records but not have any more wins to show for it.

GAME BALL GOES TO: QB Walter Washington -- The Temple signal caller led the team in rushing (84 yards) and passed for 276 yards. He can't do it all himself, but Washington seems to try to every week.

KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Buchie Ibeh -- He's played in only five games, but Ibeh is putting up fine numbers. Ibeh caught four balls for 72 yards against Connecticut and continues to be a favorite target of quarterback Walter Washington.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was very frustrating. We weren't on the same page and had a hard time executing on certain plays. Certain reads, I didn't capitalize on." -- Temple quarterback Walter Washington on the team's offensive struggles against Connecticut.

LOOKING GOOD: Walter Washington continues to be the strongest part of the Temple attack, with his dual-threat abilities keeping opposing teams on edge. Washington needs to be better on third down, but he is the biggest reason Temple is able to do what it does on offense.

STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: The Owls' defense gave up too many big plays against Connecticut, as the Huskies were able to score from long distance over and over again. Tackling was a big problem, a fact that wasn't lost on coach Bobby Wallace, who is sure to be working on that aspect with his team in the next few days.

ROSTER REPORT: The receiving corps is very deep right now, with Walter Washington having many different targets. Buchie Ibeh has only played in five games, but he seems to be earning more and more playing time with every game.


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