LOUISVILLE, Ky. — West Virginia's defense sure looks ready for the Backyard Brawl.
The Mountaineers manhandled Louisville in a 17-10 win Saturday, dominating the Cardinals to keep their hopes for a Big East title alive.
The nation's No. 4 defense held Louisville to a season-low 171 yards and racked up four sacks to give the Mountaineers plenty of momentum heading into a showdown Friday with the conference-leading Panthers.
"For people who are old school like me, that was a defensive football game, that was a tough football game and it was on the road," West Virginia coach Bill Stewart said. "Anytime you can get a win in the Big East, especially the way we've been knocking them off all year, you have to come away feeling good."
Running back Noel Devine ran for 58 yards and a touchdown and had a career-long 48-yard reception to set up another score as the Mountaineers beat the Cardinals for the fourth straight time.
"We know that we have one of the best defenses in the country, and if we don't give away points, then the other team won't win," West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith said. "We just have to go out and play mistake-free ball."
Louisville needs one more win to become bowl eligible. It was the second straight week that the Cardinals were denied that distinction by one score; the previous week they lost to USF 24-21 in overtime.
The Big East's top rushing team gained 26 yards on the ground — 166 below its average — and took just six snaps in West Virginia territory over the final 40 minutes.
"We understood that they were a good defense, but we take pride in running the football," Louisville offensive lineman Josh Byrom said.
Cincy 69, Rutgers 38: Isaiah Pead scored a career-high five touchdowns — four running, one receiving — and the host Bearcats beat the Scarlet Knights in the highest-scoring game in conference history. The Bearcats had 41 points in the first half and finished tied for third-most points in school history. Pead had a career-high 213 yards on 31 carries, becoming the first Bearcat to run for 200 yards since 2004. Cincinnati picked up 661 yards, the second most in school history.
UConn 23, Syracuse 6: Jordan Todman ran for 130 yards and scored on two short runs as the visiting Huskies capitalized on two turnovers. It was UConn's first road victory this season and made it bowl-eligible.