Pittsburgh's Ray Graham had a big performance on Thursday night.
By Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven on Twitter)
Post-Week 5 Big East Power Rankings
Check out all of our college football rankings.
1. West Virginia (4-1) – The Mountaineers took out some of their frustration from last week’s loss to LSU in Saturday’s win over Bowling Green. West Virginia tied a season-high with 55 points, rolled up 643 total yards on offense and collected 33 first downs against the Falcons. Quarterback Geno Smith posted another solid outing, throwing for 238 yards and three scores. Another offensive highlight was the play of freshman running back Dustin Garrison, who rushed for 291 yards and two touchdowns. The West Virginia defense was also sharp, limiting a high-scoring Bowling Green offense to 217 yards. The Mountaineers open up Big East play in Week 6, as Connecticut visits Morgantown.
2. Pittsburgh (3-2) – After blowing back-to-back leads in the fourth quarter, the Panthers really needed a win on Thursday against South Florida. Mission accomplished. Pittsburgh finally got its offense going, led by running back Ray Graham’s 226 rushing yards. Quarterback Tino Sunseri had a solid performance, throwing for 216 yards and one touchdown, while adding 35 yards and one score on the ground. The Panthers have another key Big East test this week, as they hit the road for a date in New Jersey against Rutgers.
3. South Florida (4-1) – The Bulls’ hot start was cooled off in Pittsburgh on Thursday night. South Florida’s defense allowed over 500 yards to the Panthers, including 226 to running back Ray Graham. Quarterback B.J. Daniels was held in check, throwing for 223 yards and no scores, while completing only 18 of his 36 attempts. After a disappointing performance, the Bulls have some time to make corrections, as they won’t play again until Oct. 15 against Connecticut.
4. Cincinnati (4-1) – The Bearcats closed out non-conference play with a 27-0 victory over rival Miami (Ohio). The RedHawks did a good job of containing quarterback Zach Collaros and running back Isaiah Pead, but Cincinnati’s defense delivered with two turnovers, four sacks and a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Bearcats did lose four turnovers in the victory, which is something coach Butch Jones will be sure to work on during the bye week. Cincinnati returns to action on Oct. 15 against Louisville.
5. Rutgers (3-1) – It wasn’t pretty, but the Scarlet Knights found a way to win in two overtimes over Syracuse. Rutgers got a spark from freshman quarterback Gary Nova, completing 14 of 24 throws for 122 yards and one touchdown. The rushing attack struggled once again, with Jawan Jamison collecting 48 yards on 24 carries. After winning only one Big East game last season, Rutgers has already equaled that mark five weeks into the season. The Scarlet Knights host Pittsburgh this Saturday.
6. Syracuse (3-2) – After winning in overtime last week, extra time wasn’t kind to the Orange this Saturday. Syracuse dropped its Big East opener to Rutgers, losing 19-16 in double overtime. Running back Antwon Bailey posted a solid performance, rushing for 124 yards and a score, but his fumble in the second overtime allowed the Scarlet Knights to seal the victory. The Orange step out of conference one more time this season, traveling to New Orleans to play Tulane on Saturday.
7. Louisville (2-2) – Charlie Strong’s second year is off to a rough start. The Cardinals do have a win over rival Kentucky, but did not turn in a great performance in the opener against Murray State and have home losses to Marshall and FIU. The offensive line has struggled all year, and the rushing attack ranks 91st nationally. Louisville looks to build some momentum for Big East play, as they take on North Carolina this Saturday. However, considering the struggles of the offensive line, a very good Tar Heel defensive front is a nightmare matchup.
8. Connecticut (2-3) – The first year of the Paul Pasqualoni era is shaping up to be a major disappointment. The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth battle, but Connecticut lost a fumble on the final drive of the game to seal the loss to Western Michigan. The Huskies are still searching for answers on offense, but quarterback Johnny McEntee posted 300 passing yards and four scores. The Huskies face an uphill battle for Saturday’s game against West Virginia’s passing attack, as they will be without starting cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson.