Three Things to Watch

Connecticut can send a message to the Big East and the ACC Saturday when the Huskies play North Carolina State at Rentschler Feild in East Hartford (noon, SNY, IMG-UConn Radio Network). Here are three things to watch and a look at the Big East in Week 2.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH (North Carolina State at UConn)

1. UConn's offense: The Huskies' defense will be hard pressed to shut out North Carolina State the way it did against UMass in the season opener. Even if the defense plays another solid game, it is up to UConn's offense to execute, go on long drives and score. Remember, the offense produced just two touchdowns in that 37-0 win over UMass. Chad Christen kicked three field goals, Dwayne Gratz intercepted a pass for a 37-yard TD return. And Max DeLorenzo scored on a blocked punt by falling on the ball in the end zone. It's time for some good old fashioned run blocking by the offensive line, more yardage on rushing attempts, and a smoother transition when the "Wildcat" offense comes on the field.

2. UConn linebacker Sio Moore: The senior linebacker didn't get a lot of mention for his game against UMass. Moore had five tackles (second best behind Yawin Smallwood's seven) and was credited with 1.5 tackles for loss (4 yards). He didn't have a sack but he did have two pass break ups. And Moore is going to be stoked for this game. After moving around quite about as a youth, Moore finished his high school career in Apex, N.C., just around the corner from N.C. State in Raleigh. The Wolfpack didn't recruit him. Not even a sniff. It may b time for a little payback. Said Moore: "This is a very big game for me, being that they overlooked me and I was but 25 minutes away from them."

3. Home field advantage: Translated, that is on the crowd. It's only the second week of the season, but this is a critical game for the Huskies. Sports Illustrated had N.C. State in its preseason Top 25. This is the Big East vs. the ACC. If you've forgotten, the ACC raided the Big East again last season. In 2013, Syracuse and Pitt will pack the moving vans and head to ACC country. The next two weeks are road games for UConn, at Maryland (against Coach You-Know-Who) and at Western Michigan. The Huskies need to come out of the non-conference schedule at least 4-1 to have a good shot at a bowl game. As President Clinton said the other night, it's all about arithmetic. UConn needs a win. Rentschler Field should be sold out and noisy. No more crowds of 35,270 with all the noise coming from the Dog Pound.

BIG EAST POWER RATINGS

1. Louisville (1-0): QB Teddy Bridgewater looked outstanding in 32-14 win over Kentucky.

2. USF (1-0): Coach Holtz's Bulls had no trouble against Chattanooga. But a road game against Nevada, which won at Cal last week, is interesting

3. Rutgers (1-0): The Scarlet Knights held Tulane to eight rushing yards.

4. UConn (1-0): Good start for this awesome defensive unit. But remember the opponent was UMass.

5. Cincinnati (1-0): Thursday's 34-10 win over Pitt was a great start for Bearcats.

6. Temple (1-0): The Owls took the city championship with a 41-10 win over Villanova.

7. Syracuse (0-1): The Orange thought the 42-41 loss to Northwestern hurt. Playing USC at the Carrier Dome figures to inflict more pain.

8. Pitt (0-2): The Panthers opened with a loss to Youngstown State and couldn't rebound with a short week leading up to Cincinnati.

THIS WEEK'S BIG EAST SCHEDULE

Saturday, September 8

North Carolina State at Connecticut......... Noon

BIG EAST Network Game of the Week

Television: BIG EAST Network

Series: North Carolina State leads, 1-0

Last Meeting: Oct. 11, 2003 — North Carolina State, 31-24

Maryland at Temple................................. Noon

Television: ESPNU

Series: Maryland leads, 6-1

Last Meeting: Sept. 24, 2011— Temple, 38-7

Missouri State at Louisville............... 3:30 p.m.

Television: BIG EAST Network

Series: First meeting

Howard at Rutgers............................. 3:30 p.m.

Television: BIG EAST Network

Series: Rutgers leads, 2-0 Lp>Last Meeting: Sept. 12, 2009 — Rutgers, 45-7

USF at Nevada................................... 3:30 p.m.

Television: CBS Sports Network

Series: First meeting

Southern California at Syracuse........ 3:30 p.m.

Television: ABC/ESPN2

Series: USC leads, 3-0

Last Meeting: Sept. 17, 2011 —USC, 38-17


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