Big East roundup: No. 22 Rutgers beats Cincy to stay in 1st place
CINCINNATI — With another shut-down performance by its defense, No. 22 Rutgers stayed in control of the Big East.
Reserve running back Savon Huggins had a career-high 179 yards, and the Scarlet Knights shut down the league's highest-scoring offense for a 10-3 victory over Cincinnati on Saturday that left Rutgers alone in first place.
Rutgers (9-1, 5-0) knocked the Bearcats out of the race and maintained its one-game lead over No. 20 Louisville, which was idle. The Scarlet Knights finish with games at Pitt and home against Louisville.
“I'm not thinking about being in control of the Big East,” coach Kyle Flood said. “This was a one-time event.”
Huggins filled in for the injured Jawan Jamison and had a career day all around, tying a school record with 41 carries and leading an offense that did just enough.
“The more you carry the ball, the more you get to see what the defensive line is going to do,” Huggins said. “As the game went on, I was able to make my cuts with more conviction.”
The league's top defense shut out Cincinnati (7-3, 3-2) until Tony Miliano kicked a 36-yard field goal with 11 seconds left. Rutgers recovered the onside kick.
“That's a locker room that's hurting right now,” Cincinnati coach Butch Jones said. “We can still finish with 10 wins, which is extremely hard to do in college football.”
Rutgers is 5-0 in the Big East for the first time in his history, thanks largely to its defense.
“That has to be the best defensive effort since I've been at Rutgers,” said Flood, in his first season as head coach after being an assistant for seven years.
Cincinnati quarterback Brendon Kay, making his second start in place of the struggling Munchie Legaux, was 17 of 31 for 251 yards.
Miami 40, South Florida 9 — In Miami, Stephen Morris threw for 413 yards and three scores, Herb Waters had an 87-yard touchdown catch for Miami's longest reception in more than five years and the Hurricanes rolled past South Florida.
Clive Walford (135), Waters (130) and Phillip Dorsett (104) all topped the 100-yard receiving mark for Miami, and Duke Johnson rushed for 66 yards and another score for the Hurricanes (6-5).
Miami is now bowl-eligible, though the school will consider imposing a second straight postseason ban on itself because of the ongoing NCAA investigation into compliance practices.
A year ago, Miami announced its bowl-ban decision one day after winning its sixth game of the season — also against South Florida.
Demetris Murray ran for 108 yards and Maikon Bonani kicked three field goals for the Bulls (3-7), who lost starting quarterback Bobby Eveld to a shoulder injury late in the first quarter.
His replacement, Matt Floyd, completed 20 of 35 passes for 175 yards and two interceptions.
The margin of defeat was South Florida's largest since a 33-point loss to Rutgers on Nov. 15, 2008.
Walford, Miami's tight end, caught only three passes, but they went for 34, 36 and 65 yards. Waters entered the day with 32 receiving yards all season.
Temple 63, Army 32 — In West Point, N.Y., Montel Harris rushed for a career-high 351 yards and seven touchdowns, Matt Brown scored twice before leaving the game with an injury, and Temple beat Army for its fifth straight win in the series.
Temple (4-6) snapped a four-game losing streak, all coming in the Big East, by beating the nation's top rushing team at its own game, gaining 534 yards rushing on 57 carries. Army (2-9), which finished with 407 yards rushing on 62 carries, has lost 16 straight against Big East competition.
Harris, who had 36 carries, scored on a 60-yard run and a 1-yard run in the second quarter, a 1-yard run and a 37-yarder in the third, and a 2-yarder, a 3-yarder and another 37-yarder in the fourth to come within one of the NCAA record set in 1990 by Howard Griffith of Illinois against Southern Illinois.
Syracuse 31, Missouri 27 — In Columbia, Mo., Ryan Nassib threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Alec Lemon with 20 seconds to go, capping a 21-point fourth quarter as Syracuse spoiled Missouri's home finale.
Lemon had 12 receptions for 244 yards and two scores, including a 13-yard catch that tied it at 17-17 earlier in the fourth. After trailing 17-3 early, the Orangemen (6-5) followed up on a 45-26 upset of previously unbeaten Louisville a week earlier and became bowl eligible for the second time in three seasons.