Big East Roundup: No. 11 Louisville suffers first loss of season
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Louisville’s run at a perfect season came to an ugly and decisive end.
Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib threw for 246 yards and three touchdowns in his final home game and moved into second on the school’s career passing list as the Orange handed No. 11 Louisville its first loss in a 45-26 victory on Saturday.
“I am very embarrassed today for our program,” Louisville coach Charlie Strong said. “We have a lot to learn from this game.”
Defensive back Hakeem Smith and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater were quick to agree.
“This was the worst game we ever played,” Smith said. “They came out and got us. There’s not a lot of talking (in the locker room) right now.”
The Orange (5-5, 4-2 Big East) blew the game open with three touchdowns in the second quarter, and Louisville (9-1, 4-1) allowed more points than it had in any game this season. Syracuse is a win away from bowl eligibility with road games against Missouri and Temple left.
Jerome Smith ran for 144 yards, and Prince-Tyson Gulley added 98 yards rushing and two touchdowns for Syracuse.
Alec Lemon had nine receptions for 176 yards and two TDs.
Bridgewater completed 36 of 49 passes for 426 and three touchdowns for Louisville, who fell into second place behind Rutgers in the Big East race.
No. 24 Rutgers 28, Army 7 — In Piscataway, N.J., Brandon Coleman caught his second touchdown of the game on a 31-yard pass from Gary Nova with 8:49 to play, and No. 24 Rutgers survived a valiant effort by mistake-prone Army.
Bouncing back from their first loss and a two-week layoff that featured Hurricane Sandy and a Nor’easter that dumped a foot of snow in New Jersey, the Scarlet Knights scored three times in the final nine minutes. They also got a 2-yard touchdown run from Savon Huggins and, in the final minute, a 73-yard fumble return by Duron Harmon.
Rutgers linebacker Khaseem Greene had 22 tackles and forced his sixth fumble of the season.
Army (2-8), trying to beat a ranked team for the first time since knocking off Air Force in 1972, deserved better. But the Black Knights couldn’t overcome three lost fumbles, a dropped touchdown pass, two blocked field goals and three late game-changing miscues. Rutgers (8-1, 4-0) is the only Big East team still unbeaten in league play.
Cincinnati 34, Temple 10 — In Philadelphia, Cincinnati scored on four of its last five first-half possessions and rode that momentum to a victory over Temple (3-6, 2-4).
Senior quarterback Brendon Kay, making his first career start for the Bearcats (7-2, 3-1), was an efficient 13 for 21 for 244 yards, including touchdown passes of 75 and 65 yards.
Kay replaced starter Munchie Legaux, who had been ineffective for the Bearcats, throwing nine interceptions, including six in the Bearcats’ last three games. Kay didn’t turn the ball over in directing the Bearcats on scoring drives of 74, 75, 80, 94 and 71 yards.
Temple’s leading rusher, Montel Harris, injured his left knee after losing 3 yards on a screen pass with 12:38 left in the second quarter and never returned.