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New Pitt RB, New Louisville QB Among First Week Standouts

Freshman  Lewis Takes the First Step Toward Replacing LeSean McCoy at Pitt

    Dion Lewis rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-3 win over Youngstown State Saturday.   Lewis  also caught a swing pass and took it in for a score in the game.     Granted, that performance was against the outmanned Penguins ,  but it was encouraging for PItt coach Dave Wannstedt.

   "You don’t really know for sure how a young man is going to react and handle all of the outside variables ,"  Wannstedt said.   "I thought Dion handled everything in a very mature way.   He didn’t give you the feeling that it was a freshman out there.  I couldn’t have been happier." 

   Lewis is one of those freshman who graduated from high school early to enroll in time for spring drills.    Wannstedt says Lewis is also much stronger than when he entered the program.

   "We all know he runs fast," Wannstedt said.   "But he is also a strong powerful guy, maybe a little stronger than he gets credit for.

    "Dion is a downhill runner, a Ray Rice type of guy.  I remember Ray as a guy who had speed and power.  He could turn it downhill and break tackles.   I think Dion fits into that mold a little bit." 

   Lewis had the best opening-day rushing performance by a freshman in school history.   It was the most yards rushing by any Pitt player on opening day since Curtis Martin rushed for 251 yards against Texas in 1994.

   Pitt is on the road at Buffalo for a noon kickoff Saturday. 

   Last year, Pitt led Buffalo 10-9 at the half.  It was 17-16 with 12 minutes to go still a three point game in the third quarter when Pitt finally pulled away to win.  It was a game that proved to be turning point for his team according to Wannnstedt.

   "It was that game in general when our football team came together and said, ‘Nothing is going to come easy and it doesn’t matter where or who we play.’ "   That was a big turnaround game for us, no question about it." 



N-C State Transfer Settles In, Leads Louisville

      Junior Justin Burke had not started a game since his senior year at Lexington Catholic High School.   After his transfer to Louisville, Burke won the Cardinals starting job this summer.  During his first outing against Indiana State Saturday, Burke struggled early as he completed just one of his first eight pass attempts.   But Burke would settle in as Louisville rolled up 419 total yards, scoring on four of five possessions during the second and third quarters. 

      "He was seeing things extremely well," Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe said.   "I don’t think it was jitters.  If anything the guy was amped up.   He overthrew a couple of guys who were wide open early in the game.   He was just excited about being out there.  

      "A couple of times he got through reads a little too quickly," Kragthorpe added about his quarterback who finished 17-31 for 223 yards and two interceptions.   "He needed to let the play develop a little more.  But in terms of him operating and managing the game, I think he did a good job with that."

     A major problem for Louisville in the opener was the number of penalties.   The Cardinals committed 14 penalties despite winning 30-10.  

     The Cardinals have a bye week.  Next up is a game at Kentucky September 19th.   Kentucky has won 15 consecutive non-conference games following a 42-0 win over Miami of Ohio last week. 


U-Conn Inconsistent , Still Beats Ohio U. 

      Quarterback Zach Frazer was intercepted three times,  U-Conn turned it over a total of four times and  the defensive secondary was burned on two big plays for touchdowns.

      "To go through some of the things and the situations that came up in the game and to still come out with a win, it was a good job," Connecticut coach Randy Edsall said.   "A nationally ranked North Carolina team is coming in now.  We know we have to get a lot better this week."

     Connecticut got back to basics on offense as they had two runners go over 100 yards rushing.   Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon combined for 257 yards on the ground. 


Paulus Nearly Leads Syracuse to Upset Win in First Start

      "The Minnesota game helps us out quiet a bit," new Syracuse coach Doug Marrone said Monday.   "We learned as coaches.  It was our first time with our players in a game situation.  And they learned a lot about us as coaches."

       "I am excited," Marrone said.  "We know exactly where we need to go and where we need to get better.  Our players where in shape and ready to go.  We just need to improve our execution."

      Syracuse lost the opener to Minnesota 23-20 in overtime in front of a Carrier Dome crowd of 48,617, but it was a good start for Marrone as coach and for quarterback Greg Paulus who was in his first football game in five years.   The former Duke point guard was 19-31 for 167 yards and a touchdown.  

      "We’ve really only had him for four weeks,"  Marrone said.   "To give him the information that we’ve given him while increasing the volume of our offense, he was very impressive.   I am excited about him as a quarterback.   I am excited about his composure.   He made plays moving around."

      "One of the questions was about his durability.   He did a great job over the summer with weight training and getting his body prepared to get hit.   And he was hit.   Not too many times, but he was hit." 

       Syracuse will play the second of three in a row against the Big 10 conference as it plays at Penn State Saturday at noon. 


       Grothe Closes in on White

       We won’t learn much about South Florida over the first three weeks because the Bulls are playing a pair of Division 1-AA opponents plus a Western Kentucky team that is in the first year at the Division 1 level. 

       South Florida coach Jim Levitt says his team was caught in a position that forced it to travel to Western Kentucky this week when Florida International dropped the Bulls.  Desperate to find a game, Levitt says the program wasn’t in a position to pay two buyout fees this season after hosting Wofford in the season opener.  

        South Florida Matt Grothe, during the season opening 40-7 win over Wofford, had 199 yards of total offense giving him 10,441 in his career.   Grothe is now 88 yards behind former Mountaineer quarterback Patrick White for the Big Ea

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