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What we learned in the Big East, Week 5

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Here's what we learned from the weekend's six Big East games:

1. South Florida can play a complete game.

The nagging question surrounding the Bulls was their continued lapses and erratic play. But against N.C. State on Saturday, they put it all together in a 41-10 blowout. The offense was crisp and efficient, scoring on five of its first six possessions, and the defense dominated despite missing three starters. This was just the kind of performance South Florida needed to prove it belongs in the top 10.

2. West Virginia's offense isn't dead.

The Mountaineers rolled up more than 500 yard of offense in a 27-3 win over Marshall and seemed to find an answer to some of their short-yardage woes. Backup quarterback Jarrett Brown was used in a variety of roles, including as the fullback on third and short. He personally converted three of them. That allowed Noel Devine (125 yards) and Pat White (17-of-21 passing) to do their thing. And for a week, it relieved the anxiety of Mountaineers' fans everywhere.

3. It's a bad year to be a Cincinnati quarterback.

First, Ben Mauk loses his endless appeals for another year of eligibility. Then the Bearcats watch Dustin Grutza suffer a broken leg at Oklahoma. His replacement, Tony Pike, plays extremely well in his first two starts before breaking his left, non-throwing arm at Akron on Saturday. Now Cincinnati is down to redshirt freshmen Zach Collaros and Chazz Anderson and Notre Dame transfer Demetrius Jones. The good news is Pike is only expected to miss three weeks, and with Marshall, Rutgers and then a bye week on the schedule, the Bearcats may be able to survive.

4. Pittsburgh knows where its bread is buttered.

Down 24-13 in the second half at Syracuse and facing a season-breaking defeat, Pittsburgh turned to its running game. LeSean McCoy (149 yards) and LaRod Stephens-Howling (71 yards, two touchdowns) did almost all the damage as the Panthers scored the game's final 21 points. The Pitt offensive line got nasty and beat up Syracuse's front. This is the team's identity, but we'll have to see if the Panthers can do the same against a much, much better defense on Thursday night at South Florida.

5. UConn can't be killed.

If you want to beat the Huskies, you'd better step on their throats when you can. Because if you let them hang around, they're going to find a way to win in the end. One of the most resilient teams anywhere, UConn added another chapter to its gritty saga on Friday night, Down 21-10 in the third quarter at Louisville and having just fumbled in their own territory, the Huskies came up with a defensive stand, then rallied for a 26-21 win. They did it despite losing starting quarterback Tyler Lorenzen and several others to injury, and despite being almost doubled on total yardage. Connecticut should become the second Big East team in the top 25 today and has a chance to go to 6-0 this Saturday at North Carolina in an interesting ACC/Big East tilt.