PITTSBURGH — Rutgers officially isn't swapping the Big East for the Big Ten for two years.
The No. 21 Scarlet Knights sure looked ready to check out early, though, in a lifeless 27-6 loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Though Rutgers still clinched a share of its first conference title after No. 19 Louisville was stunned at home by Connecticut, the Scarlet Knights head into Thursday's showdown with the Cardinals reeling.
"It (stinks) to lose, but we still have something to play for," Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova said.
Even if the Panthers performed more like the team with everything on the line.
Nova completed just 18 of 37 passes for 157 yards with a touchdown and an interception and left briefly in first half after getting slammed to the ground on his right (throwing) shoulder.
The Scarlet Knights came in the Big East's biggest surprise, rising to the cusp of the school's first BCS berth despite losing program architect Greg Schiano to the Bucs last winter.
Rutgers announced last week that it was heading to the Big Ten in 2014.
The Panthers, meanwhile, stayed alive for a chance at bowl eligibility. Pitt would qualify with a win Saturday against USF at Raymond James Stadium.
CONNECTICUT 23, NO. 19 LOUISVILLE 20, 3OT: Blidi Wreh-Wilson knew the ball would eventually come his way. The Connecticut cornerback just wanted to be in the right position.
Wilson's first interception this season came in the third overtime and helped the visiting Huskies pull off the upset and keep bowl hopes alive.
On third and goal from Connecticut's 5, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater looked for DeVante Parker in the end zone. But the pass was slightly behind him and Wreh-Wilson read it perfectly to make the pickoff. Four plays later Chad Christen kicked a 30-yard field goal.
"I just know in the red zone they like to go back-shoulder on the fade ball and I had the guy across from me," Wreh-Wilson said.
Bridgewater sustained a broken left (non-throwing) wrist on a second-quarter sack, sat out most of the third quarter and returned to lead a fourth-quarter rally, capped by a 6-yard TD to Parker with 21 seconds left in regulation.