Around the Big East: Week 2

After posting a perfect record through Week 1, the Big East struggled mightily in Week 2. Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Louisville had their hands full against FCS opponents, while Rutgers, Cincinnati and Connecticut all fell on the road. No. 19 West Virginia trailed Norfolk State at the half before finding their offense. Arguably, the lone bright spot was No. 22 South Florida, who riding high off their Week 1 win over Notre Dame, easily handled Ball State by 30.

LOUISVILLE 17, FIU 24

Winston Fraser picked off Cardinals QB Will Stein in the first quarter and the Golden Panthers never looked back. T.Y. Hilton had touchdown catches of 74 and 83 yards, respectively, finishing with a career best 201 yards receiving. After trailing 24-10 at the half, Louisville managed just seven points the rest of the way – a touchdown with less than two minutes to play. A glaring statistic – time of possession. Louisville held the ball for 12 minutes longer than FIU. This is the Cardinals’ second FCS opponent in as many weeks.

NEXT GAME: 09/17 @ KENTUCKY

RUTGERS 22, NORTH CAROLINA 24

RB Giovani Bernard ran for 81 yards and two touchdowns as the Tar Heels overcame five turnovers to hold off the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers QB Chris Dodd finished with 243 yards and two touchdowns through the air, but Rutgers managed just one yard of offense on the ground.

NEXT GAME: 09/24 VS. OHIO

PITTSBURGH 35, MAINE 29

The Black Bears made things interesting, pulling within 20-15 at the 06:13 mark of the third quarter, but Panthers RB Ray Graham responded with his third touchdown of the game to give his team a 28-15 lead. Graham finished with 121 yards on 28 carries. Zach Brown added another score to make it 35-15 but Maine wouldn’t go away quietly. Black Bears QB Warren Smith finished 27 of 45 for 334 yards and three touchdowns.

NEXT GAME: 09/17 @ IOWA

NO. 19 WEST VIRGINIA 55, NORFOLK STATE 12

After sleepwalking through the first half and trailing 12-10 at halftime, West Virginia woke up for 390 yards of offense in the second half.  QB Geno Smith completed 20 of 34 passes for 371 yards and four touchdowns (three in the second half) for the Mountaineers.

NEXT GAME: 09/17 @ MARYLAND

CINCINNATI 23, TENNESSEE 45

QB Tyler Bray threw for 405 yards and four touchdowns, adding a rushing score, as the Volunteers topped the Bearcats in Knoxville. Both teams scored on their first two drives, but the Vols outscored the ‘Cats 31 to 9 over the final three quarters. RB Isaiah Pead finished with 14 carries for 155 yards and one touchdown for the Bearcats.

NEXT GAME: 09/17 VS. AKRON

NO. 22 SOUTH FLORIDA 37, BALL STATE 7

The Bulls needed just eight seconds to pick up where they left off against Notre Dame as Mark Joyce returned a fumble 17 yards on the game’s opening drive. QB B.J. Daniels had a career day through the air, finishing with 359 yards and one touchdown. Ball State was held scoreless for most of the game, managing their lone score with 13:13 left on the clock.

NEXT GAME: 09/17 VS. FLORIDA A&M

CONNECTICUT 21, VANDERBILT 24

The Huskies let a fourth quarter lead slip away against the Commodores. Vanderbilt’s Casey Hayward picked off Huskies QB Johnny McEntee with 06:45 to play and returned it 50 yards to tie the score at 21-21. With 02:56 remaining, Commodores K Carey Spear drilled a 31-yard field goal to put Vandy ahead for good. McEntee had a nightmarish performance, finishing 10 of 27 for 99 yards and three interceptions. Freshman RB Lyle McCombs was the lone bright spot with 27 carries for 118 yards for the Huskies. Nineteen of Connecticut’s 21 points came on defense and special teams, as their offense managed just a two-point conversion.

NEXT GAME: 09/16 VS. IOWA STATE

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