Unfortunately my preview article was not ready in time for most fans….so I'll include the original preview and then note this weekend's games in the Big East.
LOUISVILLE vs. KANSAS STATE
Brian Brohm will be out this game, but so will Kansas State. The Ron Prince era will take over a new set of bruises when the Cardinals come to town. Hunter Cantwell will not need to have a huge game as George Stripling and Kolby Smith will run the ball well and keep the offense moving. The Wildcats are 3-0 and riding high under Prince, but have not been tested by a team of Louisville's stature. State almost lost their first game of the season to Illinois State. Petrino's crew will be ready and continue to punish unworthy opponents.
My Prediction: Louisville 42 -20
Well, Louisville did win this game, but it was much uglier than expected, which was a recurring theme this weekend. I really thought the Ron Prince led Wildcats would struggle, but they really came to play. A few of the hits I saw Cardinal players take made me blow my nose for fear of lingering snot bubbles. Louisville really controlled the game from the start jumping out to a 24-0 lead before Kansas State's Thomas Clayton took a 69 yard run to the house. The Cardinals survived the trip to Manhattan with a 24-6 victory, much closer than I anticipated. Louisville QB Hunter Cantwell continued to fill in nicely for the injured Brian Brohm with 173 yards passing, one score, and one interception. The running backs did their part two with Kolby Smith and George Stripling both rushing for 63 yards each, and Stripling had the touchdown. The Wildcats had a pedestrian 247 yards of offense, led by Thomas Clayton with 119 rushing and 34 receiving yards. Louisville will have another dress rehearsal as they face off with Middle Tennessee State, who is coming off a 59-0 stomping from Oklahoma.
My Prediction: Louisville 42 -20 My Record (12-3)
RUTGERS vs. HOWARD
The Ray Rice show will continue to gain momentum as the SUNJ Knights will face off with winless Bison of Howard. Howard has some capable backs in their backfield with dual threat QB Will Blanden, pocket QB Martin Decembert, and RB Keon Coleman. This game will come down the inability of Howard to control Rice and the Rutgers offense, and the Knights defense is getting progressively better each week. I imagine Coach Schiano and his crew will be ready and cruise to victory.
My Prediction: Rutgers 35-3
The SUNJ Knights really looked good against an obviously weaker opponent, but still impressive. The Bison really had no answer for Ray Rice or Brian Leonard. Rice tabbed Howard for 107 yards rushing and three scores while Leonard contributed another 61 yards and two scores. Even freshman RB Kordell Young got in on the action with 21 yards and two scores. Mike Teel was not needed much but threw for 133 yards with a score and an interception and aided in the Knights 56-7 trouncing of Howard. The Bison were unable to do anything for the first three quarters of the game, only gaining 207 total yards of offense in the contest. The lone score for Howard came on a 70-yard fumble return for a score with six and a half minutes left. Look for Rutgers to go 5-0 as they head into South Florida to take on the Bulls who gave up 115 rushing yards to a less lethal backfield.
My Prediction: Rutgers 35-3 My Record (13-3)
WEST VIRGINIA vs. EASTERN CAROLINA
With the schedule the Mountaineers are playing, I would vote a three loss Notre Dame team ahead of them. I have decided to rename West Virginia the "Wussy Victory" University until they play Louisville. I haven't seen this many cupcakes since the local Girl Scout bake sale. Expect Pat White to throw the ball a whopping eight times and Steve Slaton to put up another 150 yards in the first quarter. Eastern Carolina does a have a potent passing attack led by QB James Pinkney, who already has thrown for nearly 800 yards. Unfortunately, the Pirates will not have faced a team of West Virginia's caliber. The closest they will have come will be a week one loss to Navy. West Virginia will cruise, albeit like the school bully punching a blind kid.
My Prediction: WVU 52 –0
Boy was this not what I expected. Again, another cupcake fought much harder than anticipated. The Pirates lost a respectable game 27-10 to West Virginia. The Mountaineers looked like the team who was lost. Neither Slaton nor White had great games. Slaton ran for only 80 yards and no scores, whereas White passed for 216 yards, two scores, three picks, and ran for a score. The keys to winning this game were the three turnovers by the Pirates, all three of which killed drives that could have made this a much more interesting game. The Fighting Rodriguez's will have to ante up and prepare for the Sylvester Croom led Mississippi State Bulldogs.
My Prediction: WVU 52-0 My Record (14-3)
PITTSBURGH vs. THE CITADEL
Let's see. Tyler Palko and Derek Kinder against a Citadel defense that gave up 384 yards to Texas A&M and another 377 yards to Charleston Southern (320 yards of which were in the air). Palko will throw the ball, but won't need to put up huge numbers. This game will be won in the first quarter. Expect the big game out of Pitt's freshman RB Shane Brooks. I would expect that he will have a big game and the Wannstache combined attack of rushing and Palko's arm will be way too much for the Bulldogs.
My Prediction: Pitt 38 – 3
Tyler Palko and the Wannstache attack brutalized a Citadel team that only managed 164 total yards. Palko padded his stats with a 318 yard passing night to go with four touchdowns. Attention fans! Get to know this kid's name: Derek Kinder. Kinder had a modest 75 yards receiving with a score, only outplayed by Oderick Turner's 131 yard performance. Five different Pitt receivers caught touchdowns while two RBs ran for over 60 yards each with a pair of scores. Pitt won this game the moment they stepped on the field. They will have another stat padding night next weekend as they face of with the Toledo Rockets.
My Prediction: Pitt 38-3 My Record (15-3)
SYRACUSE vs. MIAMI (OH)
The Orange will be coming off of their first win in 11 games, and this will be another game that Coach Robinson can use to build momentum. The Redhawks are winless this year and lost their last two by a combined nine points. The leader of the offense is QB Mike Kokal, who is also the leading team rusher. That spells trouble. Miami does not have a running game to compliment Kokal's arm and the Orange will be able to shut down the running game. Perry Patterson looked light years better against an unimpressive Illinois team, but that win will do wonders for his confidence. I would expect that Patterson will have a solid game, and find WR Taj Smith for at least one score. RB Curtis Brinkley could have a breakout game, so look for the Orange to run the ball and maintain a rhythm on offense with Patterson's arm. The Orange start a new streak of two straight wins.
My Prediction: Syracuse 35-20
It seemed like two weeks ago all we could talk about was how horrible the Orange was amidst their 11-game losing streak. Well, times have changed and Robinson's group are riding a two game victory stretch after disposing of Miami of Ohio 34-14. Perry Patterson continued to gain confidence with his 165 yard passing performance and two scores. The rushing attack gained some steam too, led by RB Curtis Brinkley's 109 rushing yards and a score. Even the Orange defense got involved when sophomore LB Ben Maljovec picked off Daniel Raudabaugh and returned it 33 yards for a score. The streak will look to continue as the Orange welcome the Wyoming Cowboys to the Carrier Dome next weekend.
My Prediction: Syracuse 35-20 My Record (16-3)
SOUTH FLORIDA vs. KANSAS
Another Big East – Big 12 battle as the Fighting Manginos welcome in the Bulls. USF QB Matt Grothe, who is only a red shirt freshman and last weeks Big East Player of the Week, will again lead the offense, looking for his two WRs Taurus Johnson and Ean Randolph. The Bulls are 3-0 for the first only the second time in their 10 year history and will look to go 4-0 for only the second time. The Jayhawks, who are four point favorites, are led by QB Kerry Meier, but the player they really need to get going is RB Jon Cornish. Cornish averages 110 yards per game and will be vital to Kansas controlling the ball and keeping USF out of the end zone. Kansas must win this game if they are going to be anywhere near bowl eligible, as they open conference play after this game. The Jayhawks simply will not be able to contain Grothe and the air attack after allowing 377 yards in the air to Louisiana-Monroe two weeks ago. The Kansas defense is too inconsistent and the Bulls are riding high.
My Prediction: USF 27 - 13
Much like the Irish experienced last week against Michigan, turnovers kill any chances at winning. The Cinderella story of the South Florida Bulls was cut short before midnight as Kansas handed them their first loss, 13-7. Uncharacteristically, USF QB Matt Grothe threw for only 197 yard and two picks. Grothe also led the Bulls in rushing with 65 yards and a score. The Kansas defense that I presumed would be too inconsistent showed up and gave the Bulls all they could handle. All three turnovers by USF were on drives that were beginning to look fruitful. Kansas RB Jon Cornish led the way with 104 rushing yards and a score, and QB Adam Barmann threw for 273 yards. The Bulls will need to rebound quickly as they face off with the mighty Knights of Rutgers.
My Prediction: USF 27-13 My Record (16-4)
UCONN – INDIANA
UCONN will face off this week against the Hoeppner less Hoosiers, as their coach recovers from surgery. The Hoosiers are struggling in their rush defense and that looks mighty nice for Huskies RB Terry Caulley. The Huskies will look to own the ground game and their defense is playing quite well to limit the Hoosiers scoring chances. But the biggest new is that stud IU WR James Hardy was suspended for two weeks, and will the new WRs will face off with an equally tough Huskies defensive squad. Look for UCONN to control the ground and maintain enough defensive pressure to contain Indiana.
My Prediction: UCONN 28 – 15
Huskies RB Terry Caulley was to be the focal point of the Hoosier defense and they did not let him score. But they did allow him to run for 155 yards, as well as teammate Lou Allen to add 42 yards of his own and a touchdown. The Indiana passing attack sorely missed James Hardy, as UCONN not only returned a pick for a score in the first quarter, but held the Hoosiers to under 50 percent completion percentage and 192 yards. The Huskies defense allowed no rushing yards and forced three more turnovers en route to a 14-7 victory. Huskies QB D.J. Hernandez had a blazing night, throwing for 27 (yes, twenty seven) yards and two picks. The Huskies got a much needed morale booster, but had better wake up their own echoes as the Navy Midshipmen come to town.
My Prediction: UCONN 28-15 My Record (17-4)
CINCINNATI vs. VIRGINIA TECH
The road just doesn't get any easier for Coach Dantonio and the Bearcats as they head to Blacksburg, Virginia to take on "Beamer Ball". The Hokies are undefeated and gearing up for some tough conference matches that could land them in the ACC title game and a shot at the BCS title if they can take care of business. Virginia Tech QB Sean Glennon is playing quite well and freshman RB Brandon Ore already has five scores. But the most telling stat, and the worst news for Cincinnati, is that the Tech defense is No. 1 in the nation in scoring defense allowing just over three points a game. This was over the day it was scheduled.
My Prediction: VT 49 –0
Sphincters just aren't meant to tighten as much as mine did when I heard the Bearcats were leading 10-5 at halftime and 13-12 going into the fourth. But Coach Dantonio's crew didn't let me down as they surrendered 17 fourth quarter points, somewhat reminiscent of the ND-MSU game, en route to a 29-13 upset prevention. The difference in the game was the rushing ability of Tech RB Brandon Ore who ran up 170 rushing yards and a score. Late in the fourth, the Bearcats had two drives that were possible scores, but both ended up interceptions, the first of which was returned 72 yards by Victor Harris to preserve the victory. The Bearcats did manage 280 yards of offense and controlled the clock for 10 minutes more than Tech, but their nine penalties and three turnovers all but sealed their fate. The spankings look to cease as Cincy welcomes Syracuse's fodder, the Miami Redhawks.
My Prediction: Va. Tech 49-0 My Record (18-4)
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