Big East: UC's Pead helping take pressure off Pike

CINCINNATI (AP) - Isaiah Pead has learned what it's like to be a running back in Cincinnati's spread offense, one that often empties the backfield to get more receivers on the field. Patience is important.

"That's a big, big key," the sophomore said. "Of course, any football team is going to do that. People are going to be saying they don't have enough playing time."

When Pead arrived in Cincinnati, he was used to running the ball regularly out of a spread offense in high school. He broke Archie Griffin's career rushing record at Eastmoor Academy in Columbus, Ohio. He was recruited by Ohio State, but chose Cincinnati in part because of the style of offense.

The transition wasn't easy, though. Playing so little as a freshman was a shock.

"It's real tough," he said. "And maybe being a highly recruited athlete, you want to get on the field. You have to mature and learn that not everything's about you."

Pead has begun to emerge during Cincinnati's 3-0 start. He leads the 14th-ranked Bearcats with 30 carries, averaging 4.6 yards per try. He also has five catches for 91 yards while sharing time in the backfield with Jacob Ramsey. Coach Brian Kelly said Pead would have even more carries if he didn't show up late for a team meeting, prompting him to sit out the first half of one game.

"But you can see that he's going to be a consistent performer for us, and he's going to be part of our offense because he's a really good pass receiver as well," Kelly said.

With the defending Big East champions getting a lot of national attention for their impressive start, Pead has learned to accept whatever the game plan brings each week.

"I'm hoping just to continue to win games," he said. "Whatever Kelly has up in his head to win games, I'm all with it, whether it be 30 carries a game or 10-15."

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CHANGING THE PLAY: West Virginia's Jarrett Brown used an audible to help his teammate get some revenge.

Mountaineers coach Bill Stewart made the revelation during his recent weekly news conference when answering a question about how many times running back Noel Devine's number is called during a game.

Brown checked off on a planned fullback handoff late in a 35-20 win over East Carolina on Sept. 12. Instead, Brown flipped the ball to Devine, who took off to the outside.

Stewart said he was surprised but not mad about the play and asked Brown about it after the game.

"He said, 'they ripped his helmet off and I thought he deserved to touch the ball and we wanted the first down,"' Stewart said.

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EDSALL'S RECORD: Randy Edsall will set a school record by coaching his 122nd game at Connecticut Saturday when the Huskies take on Rhode Island.

The 51-year-old, in his 11th season at UConn, is currently tied with J.O. Christian, who coached the Huskies from 1934-1949.

Edsall, who spent 15 seasons as a college assistant and three in the NFL, was hired to help transition Connecticut from a I-AA to a IBowl Subdivision school. He held meetings in a trailer for his first few seasons, while UConn built a new stadium, and eventually a state-of-the-art football training center.

A win against Rhode Island would give Edsall a 61-61 record at Connecticut, and a 52-37 mark since Connecticut made the jump to the FBS. He's coached the Huskies to three bowl games, and two bowl wins.

"Sometimes you don't realize when you first start, in terms of what...the undertaking was," Edsall said. "You scratch your head sometimes."

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STARING IN DISBELIEF: Freshman place-kicker Ryan Lichtenstein, a walk-on at Syracuse before a key defection gave him a chance to become the starter, was named Big East special teams player of the week for his performance in Saturday night's 37-34 win over Northwestern.

Lichtenstein converted three field goals, including the game-winning 41-yarder as time expired, to give the Orange their first win under new coach Doug Marrone.

Quarterback Greg Paulus predicted the clinching kick after Lichtenstein's 43-yard field goal in the first quarter. Marrone, on the other hand, might have been hard-pressed to go along with that thought. He had watched Lichtenstein have a field goal blocked in the second quarter and was well aware Lichtenstein had missed an incredibly short kick in warmups.

"You go into the locker room, and as coaches we sit down and say, 'Can you believe he missed a 10-yard field goal? We've got to make sure we score touchdowns,' " Marrone said with a smile. "Sure enough, at the end of the game we end up saying, 'Holy cow! He's going to kick a game-winning field goal! And he kicks it through the uprights. It was an interesting chain of events."

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SORRY KRAGTHORPE: Steve Kragthorpe admits it was not the best choice of words.

Moments after a draining 31-27 loss to Kentucky in the Governor's Cup, the normally reserved Louisville coach twice used a mild expletive while praising the play of wide receiver and punt returner Trent Guy. The Cardinal senior fumbled a punt late in the fourth quarter that allowed the Wildcats to take the lead.

Kragthorpe later used the same expletive several times while talking about how the Cardinals attacked Kentucky All-American cornerback Trevard Lindley.

Kragthorpe apologized on Monday if he offended anyone. He could have phrased it better, maybe, but the message would have been the same.

"I was just trying to let everybody know how much I felt about our team, how proud I was of our team, how much I felt like they laid everything on the line in the game," he said.

The Cardinals (1-1) will have to find a way to summon that energy and then some again on Saturday when they head west to play Utah (2-1).

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AWARDS: Mike Williams is back.

The Syracuse wide receiver, who missed the entire 2008 season because of academic issues, was named Big East Offensive Player of the Week after his breakout performance in the Orange's 37-34 win over Northwestern. Williams posted 11 receptions for 209 yards and two scores, all career highs.

Pittsburgh linebacker Dan Mason earned Defensive Player of the Week honors after helping the Panthers slow down Navy's high-powered rushing attack. The true freshman collected 11 tackles while holding the Midshipmen to their lowest rushing total in four years.

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AP Sports Writer Joe Kay in Cincinnati, John Kekis in Syracuse, N.Y., Tom Canavan in Piscataway, N.J., John Raby in Morgantown, WV and Associated Press writer Pat Eaton-Robb in Storrs, Conn., contributed to this report.

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