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Big East Philosophy: Cincy and Rutgers breakout on Step Up Saturday

Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and even Connecticut separated themselves on what I coined (rather successfully mind you) Step Up Saturday!

AP Photo/Al Behrman  Cincinnati running back Isaiah Pead (23) rushed for a career-high 213 and scored a career-high five touchdowns.

Cincinnati RB Isaiah Pead (23) rushed for a career-high 213 and scored a career-high five TD. (Cincinnati.com)

Week 12 in the Big East was as big a weekend the conference has had all year. All eight league teams were in action against each other and, every game but one (the lone exception happened to be the biggest fantasy Big East football game all year), had title implications.

Shout Out – Cincinnati 69 – Rutgers 38 – Two teams from the Big East combined for over 100 points and for over 1,000 yards in one single game! Our list of breakout performers is littered with players from both teams because this game was a fantasy gold mine. In a losing effort QB Chas Dodd threw for over 330 yards and 4 TDs as, combined, both teams passed for 766 yards and 9 TDs. In a year where there has been nothing but defense (and anemic offense) this game was a surprising and entertaining exception.

Here are the weekend’s players that ‘stepped up’ big just when their team’s needed it the most:

  • West Virginia Defense – The nation hasn’t taken notice yet, but the Mountaineer defense is just laying out opponents. In a 17 – 10 win at Louisville, Bill Stewart‘s defense held the Cardinals to 26 rushing yards, and remember Louisville’s RB Bilal Powell is one of the top back’s in the nation! The last two weeks WVU has given up just 20 points total.
  • Isaiah Pead – Cincinnati RB – Pead rushed for 5 TDs and a total of 213 yards in a crazy shootout 69-38 win over Rutgers. Pead also caught three balls for 36 yards.
  • Zach Collaros – Cincinnati QB – In a game that combined for 107 points, you had to figure a QB would make the list of top performers. Collaros threw for 4 TDs and 366 yards and the junior ran for another score. Armon Binns had 139 yards receiving and DJ Woods 97 and a TD for the Bearcats.
  • Mark Harrison – Rutgers WR – In a losing effort for the Scarlet Knight Harrison caught 10 passes for an amazing 230 yards and a school record 4 TDs.
  • Jordan Todman – Connecticut RB – Todman was the heart and sole for the Huskies offense in their 23 – 6 win at Syracuse. The junior rushed 27 times for 130 yards and he scored two big TDs in the win. Connecticut could be making a late run at the Big East title with Todman leading the way.
  • Dion Lewis – Pittsburgh RB – Lewis still isn’t nearly close to the running back he was last year, but the sophomore crossed the century mark on the ground (105 yards) and he scored the game winning TD as Pitt beat USF 17 – 10.
  • Connecticut Defense – The Huskies held Syracuse’s run game to a total of 64 yards and the constant pressure on Orange QB Ryan Nassib forced multiple bad throws. Connecticut is still alive in the Big East title race thanks to Todman and to a stout defense that didn’t allow a TD against the Orange (UConn’s first road win on the year).


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