|Cardinals turn to the run as Cantwell struggles|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 22 October 2008 12:57|
Lately, it's been the other way around.
The Cardinals (4-2, 0-1 Big East) have won four of five almost in spite of the play of Cantwell, who has struggled with an ankle injury and uncharacteristically poor decision making.
Cantwell has throw eight touchdowns passes and a Big East-leading eight interceptions, including a pair of picks last week against Middle Tennessee that allowed the Blue Raiders to build an early 14-0 lead.
The Cardinals managed to recover behind the strength of its running game to win, and coach Steve Kragthorpe stressed Cantwell had as much to do with the rally as he did with the deficit. Cantwell threw for Louisville's final touchdown and finished with 144 yards.
t or are you going to end up crashing? And I thought Hunter did an excellent job of that.''
It helps when you have a potent rushing attack. Louisville, which built its reputation under Bobby Petrino as a pass-first attack, is averaging a robust 210 yards per game on the ground.
STEADY STULL: While much of the hoopla surrounding No. 17 Pittsburgh's rise has gone to do-everything tailback LeSean McCoy, the steady play of quarterback Bill Stull has made defenses pay for ganging up on the run.
Stull has blossomed during his first year starting for the Panthers (5-1). He's second in the conference in passing yards, averaging 213 yards per game.
``I think it's a work in progress,'' said coach Dave Wannstedt. ``Every game he's doing some things better. Every game something comes up that's a learning experience for him. We've got to continue that route week by week. Hopefully some of the mistakes we make and he makes can be corrected and not costly.''
While Stull has thrown more interceptions (five) than touchdowns (four), Wannstedt said Stull's ability to play through pain has endeared him to teammates.
``He's definitely a tough guy,'' Wannstedt said. ``He's got the respect of all the coaches, all the players and he's been banged around a little bit and he comes in every day and shows up and he's right there in the middle of it.''
last two games despite a dreadful showing on third down.
The Bearcats were only 4-of-13 on third-down conversions in a victory over Marshall. They failed to convert any of their 11 third downs in a win over Rutgers, leaving them 4-for-24 in those two games.
A big part of the reason: Cincinnati was forced to use redshirt freshman quarterback Chazz Anderson because of injuries to senior Dustin Grutza (broken leg) and junior Tony Pike (broken left forearm). Pike was back at practice this week with the left (non-throwing) arm protected by a soft cast.
Part of the problem against Rutgers was the inexperienced quarterback. Anderson took consecutive sacks that set up a third-and-24, and had another sack that led to a third-and-19. Penalties also played into it: Cincinnati drew 12 overall for 115 yards.
Cincinnati ranks sixth in the Big East on third downs, converting 35 percent for the season. South Florida leads the conference at 47 percent.
``We need to work on our poise,'' running back Jacob Ramsey said. ``It's not that we're not physically tough enough or mentally tough enough. It's that we have to stay more focused and eliminate some of the penalties and go and get the third-and-short or whatever it may be.''
turday's 12-10 loss to Rutgers, even though replays showed Connecticut running back Donald Brown may have made it out of the end zone.
Edsall said he couldn't tell from his position if it was a bad call, and was relying on replay officials in the booth. They are supposed to examine every play, making it difficult for coaches to know when a challenge should be made, Edsall said.
``At least if it's a controversial thing, we wish that they would just maybe stop (play), so we know that it's being reviewed and let (the official) go over and say, 'No, it's O.K.'''
Edsall said he also would like to see the reviews moved from the booth to field, as they do in the NFL.
``Nothing against the replay officials in the booth, but the guys on the field, they're actually doing this every week and they are seeing it,'' he said.
UConn (5-2) hosts Cincinnati (5-1) on Saturday.
HONORS: South Florida quarterback Matt Grothe's year just keeps getting better. The junior picked up Big East offensive player of the week honors for the third time this season for his play in a 45-13 win over Syracuse. Grothe threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns and added 72 yards rushing and another score for the Bulls.
nights limit the Huskies to 117 yards rushing, 123 yards below their season average.
Rutgers punter Teddy Dellaganna was selected as the special teams player of the week. Dellaganna averaged 41.7 yards on seven punts, dropping four inside the Connecticut 20, including three inside the UConn 3.
AP Sports Writer Joe Kay in Cincinnati and Associated Press Writer Pat Eaton-Robb in Storrs, Conn. contributed to this report.