Big East Football Wrapup

The weekend's action created a lot of shuffling in the Big East stadings.

BOSTON COLLEGE
The Eagles have no intentions of leaving the Big East quietly. Boston College, which will join the ACC next season, positioned itself to win the Big East's BCS bid by beating No. 13 West Virginia, 36-17, on Saturday. If the 19th-ranked Eagles can defeat Temple and Syracuse, they will win the league title and the automatic berth.

Against the Mountaineers, Boston College opened up a 24-7 halftime lead and never trailed.

Eagles running back L.V. Whitworth, who made his third career start, rushed for 84 yards on 18 carries and caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Paul Peterson in the first quarter.

Peterson, a senior, completed 18 of 30 passes for 162 yards. Return specialist Will Blackmon capped the victory when he took a punt 71 yards to the end zone. It marked Boston College's first road win over West Virginia since 1990.

The Eagles (7-2), who have won three straight games, will travel to Temple (2-8) on Saturday.

GAME BALL GOES TO: RB L.V. Whitworth -- The redshirt freshman resurrected Boston College's floundering ground game with an 84-yard performance in the win over West Virginia. Whitworth also reeled in a screen pass and ran 10 yards for a first-quarter touchdown.

KEEP AN EYE ON: KR/PR Will Blackmon -- The junior returned a punt 71 yards for a touchdown against West Virginia. Blackmon entered the game leading the Big East with a 29.1-yard kickoff return average.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're still in the Big East right now. I don't know how other teams are feeling about us leaving. I'm sure they're not happy, but what can we do? We're just going to go out and play. The ACC is next year. That's all I can say about that." -- Quarterback Paul Peterson, in the Boston Globe, regarding the Eagles' march to a BCS bid.

LOOKING GOOD: Special teams spelled the difference in Boston College's win over West Virginia. DeJuan Tribble and Will Blackmon returned punts for touchdowns and Ryan Ohliger connected on field goals of 44, 47 and 36 yards.

STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: Boston College got by West Virginia despite being out-gained 452-243. The Eagles entered the weekend ranked third among Big East teams for total offense (401.9 ypg.).

ROSTER REPORT: No significant injuries or moves.


CONNECTICUT
Coach Randy Edsall's reunion tour continued with a trip to Georgia Tech on Saturday, but ended in disappointing fashion.

Edsall, the Yellow Jackets' defensive coordinator in 1998, couldn't lead his current team to victory. Connecticut suffered a 30-10 loss in Atlanta.

Edsall, who also played and coached at Syracuse, dropped a 42-30 decision to the Orange on Oct. 30. The Huskies need one more victory to become eligible for the postseason.

Quarterback Dan Orlovsky passed for 205 yards and receiver Keron Henry reeled in six receptions for 65 yards, but Connecticut was issued consecutive losses for the first time since October of 2002.

Tailback Cornell Brockington, who entered the game as the Big East's leading rusher, managed just 43 yards on 18 carries. Georgia Tech took a 20-3 halftime lead and never looked back.

Connecticut will host Buffalo in its final home game on Saturday, then travel to Rutgers for a Thanksgiving Day showdown.

GAME BALL GOES TO: QB Dan Orlovsky -- The senior completed 28 of 49 passes for 205 yards, but failed to throw for a touchdown in a 30-10 loss to Georgia Tech.

KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Keron Henry -- The senior managed six receptions for 65 yards against Georgia Tech.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "They're a good team. When you get beat, you can't make excuses." -- QB Dan Orlovsky to the Hartford Courant, regarding Saturday's loss to Georgia Tech.

LOOKING GOOD: Connecticut didn't do much right in a 30-10 loss to Georgia Tech on Saturday. The good news is the Huskies still have the opportunity to become bowl eligible with one win. They should get it when they face Buffalo (2-8) on Saturday.

STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: The Huskies converted just 3 of 17 third-down opportunities against Georgia Tech.

ROSTER REPORT: DE Tyler King (broken leg) is sidelined indefinitely.


PITTSBURGH
Tyler Palko became the first quarterback to throw for five touchdowns against Notre Dame as Pittsburgh handed the Irish a 41-38 loss in South Bend, Ind., on Saturday.

Josh Cummings connected on a 32-yard field goal with one second remaining to lift the unranked Panthers past No. 24 Notre Dame. The win was Pittsburgh's first in South Bend since 1986.

Improving by the week, Palko completed 26 of 42 passes for 334 yards. He threaded a 20-yard scoring pass to Steve Buches, giving Pittsburgh a 28-21 lead with 2:55 remaining in the third quarter. But Irish quarterback Brady Quinn responded with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Rashon Powers-Neal 37 seconds into the fourth.

Palko added a 9-yard touchdown pass to Erik Gill for a 38-35 lead with 2:24 left and, after the Irish connected on a tying 45-yard field goal, led Pittsburgh on a six-play, 55-yard drive in the final minute to set up the game-winning kick for Cummings.

Pittsburgh rebounded after dropping a double-overtime decision at Syracuse on Nov. 6. The Panthers have won four of their last five games and are tied for third place in the Big East standings with Syracuse. Pittsburgh (6-3) will host No. 21 West Virginia (8-2) on Nov. 25 and travel to South Florida on Dec. 4.

GAME BALL GOES TO: QB Tyler Palko -- The junior completed 28 of 42 passes for 334 yards and five touchdowns in Saturday's 41-38 win at Notre Dame. Palko became the first quarterback to throw for five scores in a game against the Irish.

KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Greg Lee -- The Big East's leading receiver reeled in five passes for 95 yards and a touchdown.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "That's not me. That was me kind of losing my composure a little bit after a big win, I guess. Everybody who's been in front of a camera maybe wishes they could take back something they said once or twice. By all means, I wish I could take that back, but I just wanted to start off by issuing an apology -- and I mean that. It's not me, and I feel very bad about it." -- Pittsburgh's Palko, in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, regarding the expletive he uttered during a post-game interview with NBC.

LOOKING GOOD: Pittsburgh's passing attack continues to improve as the season progresses. Seven days after quarterback Tyler Palko passed for 342 yards at Syracuse, he managed 334 at Notre Dame.

STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: The Panthers' ground attack clearly needs a boost. Pittsburgh failed to reach the 100-yard mark against Notre Dame, with FB Tim Murphy leading the Panthers with 35 yards on 12 carries.

ROSTER REPORT: No significant injuries or moves.


RUTGERS
The Scarlet Knights focused on fundamentals and healing during their open week. Rutgers will return to action Saturday at Navy and close the season against Connecticut on Thanksgiving.

Greg Schiano's team must win its final two games to secure a winning record for the first time since 1992. The Scarlet Knights (4-5) defeated Navy 48-27 in 2003, but dropped a 38-31 decision at Connecticut. Rutgers has lost three consecutive games.

"I think a lot of people expected this season to work out much differently than it has to this point," senior defensive end Ryan Neill said. "As a team, I think we've done a great job despite what our record is. We can still make a bowl game."

Schiano will look to Neill (eight sacks), wide receiver Tres Moses (sixth in receptions per game at 7.56 per game) and tight end Clark Harris (60.89 receiving yards per game) for leadership over the next two weeks.

Rutgers, incidentally, owns a 1-6 record in post-bye week games under Schiano.

KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Tres Moses -- The senior caught six passes for 98 yards in a 21-10 loss to Boston College on Nov. 6. Moses needs one more reception to tie Rutgers' single-season record of 69. He has managed 56 catches for 659 yards in the past six games.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We've seen the light at the end of the tunnel. We've been in every single game. We've given some games away, but compared to last year we were just trying to stay in it." -- Rutgers quarterback Ryan Hart, on the season's progression.

LOOKING GOOD: Rutgers has a Big East-best 31 sacks, led by DE Ryan Neill, who has eight. Those pass-rushing skills might not come in handy this week against option-oriented Navy, but they sure will in the season finale against Connecticut.

STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: QB Ryan Hart has accounted for 14 turnovers in Rutgers' last three games. Hart, with 17 interceptions, is on pace to break his single-season interception record of 19.

ROSTER REPORT: WR Shawn Tucker (groin) will miss the remainder of the season. LG Brian Duffy (knee) and DT Gary Gibson (knee) missed the Boston College game (Nov. 6) and are questionable for Navy.


SYRACUSE
Running back Damien Rhodes rushed for a career-high 200 yards and three touchdowns, but couldn't lift Syracuse past Temple in a 34-24 loss on Saturday.

Rhodes, filling in for injured starter Walter Reyes, carried 29 times and delivered a trio of second-half scores. Quarterback Perry Patterson completed 20 of 35 passes for 240 yards in the loss.

Syracuse sliced Temple's lead to 24-17 after Rhodes rushed for a 16-yard touchdown with 2:31 remaining in the third quarter, but couldn't get any closer. The Orange, which had managed a 38-31 double-overtime win against Pittsburgh on Nov. 6, squandered a huge opportunity to become bowl eligible.

Temple, which hadn't won a Big East game since 2002, snapped a six-game losing streak. Syracuse (5-5) will have just one more chance to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2001.

Following a bye week, the Orange will face No. 19 Boston College (7-2) in Chestnut Hill, Mass., on Nov. 27.

GAME BALL GOES TO: RB Damien Rhodes -- Filling in for injured starter Walter Reyes, the junior rushed for a career-high 200 yards and three touchdowns in a loss to Temple on Saturday. It marked Rhodes' second straight 100-yard game.

KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Steve Gregory -- The junior, who missed a significant stretch of the season with a thigh injury, reeled in seven receptions for 87 yards against Temple.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "To be honest with you, it is unacceptable. It's just unacceptable. -- Syracuse WR Jared Jones on losing to Temple.

LOOKING GOOD: RB Damien Rhodes (200 yards) bolstered Syracuse's ground game in the absence of injured starter Walter Reyes. The Orange finished with 235 rushing yards in a loss to Temple.

STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: Syracuse's run defense, on the other hand, needs help. Temple QB Walter Washington rushed for 185 yards and three touchdowns.

ROSTER REPORT: RB Walter Reyes (shoulder) missed the Temple game and is questionable for Boston College on Nov. 27.


TEMPLE
Coach Bobby Wallace's seemingly infinite patience was rewarded on Saturday when Temple handed Syracuse a 34-24 loss at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field.

The win marked the Owls' first in Big East play this season. Temple had dropped six straight before surprising the Orange.

Junior quarterback Walter Washington rushed for 185 yards and three touchdowns en route to breaking several school and conference records. He also completed 10 of 19 passes for 130 yards. Washington had never led Temple to a Big East victory.

"It's easy for us to take Walter for granted," Wallace said. "We take it for granted because we see it every day. What a performance."

Syracuse running back Damien Rhodes, who replaced injured starter Walter Reyes, rushed for a career-high 200 yards and three touchdown and quarterback Perry Patterson added 240 through the air. But their heroics failed to inspire an Orange rally.

The Owls (2-8) will host No. 19 Boston College (7-2) in their season finale on Saturday. The game will also mark Temple's last in the Big East, as the program will be an independent next season.

GAME BALL GOES TO: QB Walter Washington -- The junior, who is responsible for Temple's last 14 touchdowns, rushed for 185 yards and three scores in a 34-24 win over Syracuse on Saturday. Washington also completed 10 of 19 passes for 130 yards.

KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Ikey Chuku -- Not only did the senior manage three receptions for 28 yards, but he also completed a 51-yard pass to Buchie Ibeh.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm very proud of this football team. It's been a long season and they just never give up." -- Temple coach Bobby Wallace, on his team breaking a six-game losing streak.

LOOKING GOOD: QB Walter Washington basically carried Temple to a 34-24 victory over Syracuse on Saturday. Washington amassed 315 yards of total offense and played a part in four touchdowns, proving he is one of the league's most dominant and versatile weapons.

STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: Temple's defense, which entered the Syracuse game ranked last in the Big East, surrendered 475 yards. The Owls, however, limited the Orange to three touchdowns and pulled out a Big East victory.

ROSTER REPORT: DL Antwon Burton (foot) is out indefinitely.


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