Big East Football Preview

It's Big East - ACC week as a pair of teams from each competing league square off.

ELWAY-ESQUE

WVU sophomore quarterback Geno Smith led the Mountaineers on scoring drives of 96 and 98 yards on West Virginia's last two possessions of regulation to set up an overtime win over Marshall.


LUCKY QUARTER

Louisville has outscored its two opponents 29-7 in the second quarter, but suffers a combined 29-10 deficit in quarters one, three and four so far this year.


FILLING IN

Despite the absence of defensive end Greg Romeus, Pitt recorded six sacks against New Hampshire. Defensive tackle Chas Alecxih had three of those. Romeus, the 2009 league player of the year, missed the game due to a back injury.




CINCINNATI at N.C. State
Thu 9/16
7:30 PM
ESPN
Cincinnati and North Carolina meet for the first time Thursday night … The game will be the Bearcats' first against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent in the regular season since 2006 … Cincinnati last met an ACC opponent in the 2009 Orange Bowl, when the Bearcats fell 20-7 to Virginia Tech … The Wolfpack last met a BIG EAST opponent Sept. 26, 2009, when North Carolina State rallied past Pittsburgh 38-31.

Cincinnati picked up its first win of the season with a 40-7 decision against Indiana State … The win was the first at Cincinnati for head coach Butch Jones … The Bearcats opened the 2010 season with a 28-14 loss at Fresno State … Cincinnati has averaged 313.5 yards of offense and allowed an average of 275 yards through two games … QB Zach Collaros has completed 60.3 percent of his passes (35 of 58) for 349 yards and three touchdowns without an interception … A talented group of receivers lost a key member in Week 1 with a season-ending knee injury to WR Vidal Hazelton … WR D.J. Woods and WR Armon Binns enter with nearly identical numbers … Woods has 11 receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown, while Binns has 10 catches for 114 yards and two TDs … RB Darrin Williams stepped in for injured RB Isaiah Pead against Indiana State and had 117 rushing yards on 13 carries … LB JK Schaffer has a team-high 16 tackles through two games … K Jacob Rogers has gone 1-for-2 on field goal attempts — both from 48 yards … P Pat O'Donnell is averaging 39.8 yards on 12 punts with six downed inside the 20-yard line … Following Saturday's game, Cincinnati will face Oklahoma at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati Sept 25.

North Carolina State is off to a 2-0 start after Saturday's 28-21 win at Central Florida … The Wolfpack took advantage of five Central Florida turnovers to win on a day in which their normally potent offense had just 239 yards … The Wolfpack opened with a 48-7 win against Western Carolina … The Wolfpack are 2-0 for the first time since 2002, when a Philip Rivers-led team won its first nine games … NC State has not committed a turnover in its first two games … QB Russell Wilson has completed 31 of 61 passes for 411 yards and five touchdowns without an interception … RB Dean Haynes has averaged 59.0 yards in the first two games with two rushing touchdowns … WR T.J. Graham has seven receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns on the year … NC State was 5-7 overall and 2-6 in the Atlantic Coast Conference last season … Head coach Tom O'Brien was in the BIG EAST for eight years (1997-2004) as head coach at Boston College and won a share of the 2004 BIG EAST title.


CONNECTICUT at Temple
Sat 9/18
12:00 PM
Big East Local
Saturday's game will be the 12th meeting between Connecticut and Temple in a series that dates to 1963 … Temple holds a 7-4 series lead, though Huskies have won the last three meetings … The last matchup was a 12-9 Connecticut win in overtime Sept. 6, 2008, when Donald Brown ran for 214 yards, including the gamewinning touchdown.

Connecticut emphatically evened its record at 1-1 as the Huskies rolled to a 62-3 win against Texas Southern at Rentschler Field last Saturday … Connecticut scored on its first five possessions and didn't punt until it held a 31-0 lead … The Huskies scored the first 55 points of the game before Texas Southern added a fourth-quarter field goal … Connecticut opened the season with a 30-10 loss at Michigan in front of the largest crowd in college football history (113,090) … The Huskies have been led offensively by RB Jordan Todman, who leads the BIG EAST in rushing at 128.0 yards per game … Todman has rushed for 256 yards and four touchdowns on 35 carries … QB Zach Frazer has completed 24 of 46 passes (52.2 percent) for 309 yards and two touchdowns without an interception … WR Michael Smith has five receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown through two games … LB Lawrence Wilson has a team-high 19 tackles, while LB Greg Lloyd has 17, including three tackles for loss … K Dave Teggart has made 3-of-4 field goal attempts and has made his last three tries … P Cole Wagner is averaging 37.6 yards per punt … Saturday's game will be the first of two straight against the Mid-American Conference for Connecticut, which faces Buffalo Sept. 25.

Temple is off to a 2-0 start for the first time in 29 years after the Owls took a 13-10 overtime win against Central Michigan last Thursday at Lincoln Financial Field … The Owls last started a season with back-to-back wins in 1981 … Temple has won seven straight home games … The win against Central Michigan was Temple's first victory in overtime (1-6) … Temple opened with a 31-24 win against Villanova, erasing a last-minute deficit by scoring nine points in the final three seconds … K Brandon McManus provided the decisive points in both wins with a 43-yard field goal against Villanova and the 30-yard gamewinner in OT against Central Michigan … QB Chester Stewart has completed 65 percent of his passes (32 of 49) for 351 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions through two games … RB Bernard Pierce (66.0 ypg) and RB Matt Brown (51.0 ypg) have split the carries … LB Stephen Johnson has 12 tackles and an interception … McManus is 6-for-9 on field goal attempts, including a 53-yard score against Villanova … Temple was a football member of the BIG EAST from 1991-2004.


LOUISVILLE at Oregon St
Sat 9/18
5:30 PM
FSN NW
Saturday's game will be the second meeting between Louisville and Oregon State … The only previous meeting saw Louisville take a 63-27 win at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Sept. 17, 2005 … Louisville's Brian Brohm threw for 368 yards and five touchdowns, while Mario Urrutia had seven catches for 175 yards and two TDs … Oregon State last faced a BIG EAST team when Cincinnati was a 28-18 winner in Corvallis last year.

Charlie Strong picked up his first career head coaching win in Louisville's 23-13 decision against Eastern Kentucky last Saturday … The Cardinals scored all 23 points in the second quarter against the Colonels … Louisville opened with a 23- 16 loss to Kentucky in the annual Governor's Cup meeting … RB Bilal Powell has led Louisville's rushing offense, which ranks third in the conference through two games … The Cardinals have averaged 179.5 rushing yards per game, while Powell is second among individual runners at 122.5 ypg … Powell has averaged 7.7 yards per carry and has three touchdowns thus far … QB Adam Froman has completed 29 of 52 passes for 346 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions … WR Doug Beaumont had his first career touchdown reception on his 107th career catch in the win against Eastern Kentucky … Beaumont has seven receptions for 123 yards this season … The Cardinals registered eight sacks against Eastern Kentucky … DT Rodney Gnat had four sacks himself to go with a forced fumble and fumble recovery … S Shenard Holton has a team-high 13 tackles.

Oregon State had a bye in Week 2, which followed a 30-21 loss to Texas Christian Sept. 4 in the Cowboys Classic at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas … The game against Louisville is in between the opener against TCU and next week's game at Boise State, pitting the Beavers against the two participants in the 2010 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in their first three games … Oregon State was outgained against TCU by a 453-255 margin … The key men on offense are RB Jacquizz Rodgers and his older brother, WR James Rodgers — both of whom were All-Pac-10 First Team selections last year … Jacquizz Rodgers had 18 carries for 75 yards and a touchdown against TCU, while James had four receptions for 75 yards and a TD … QB Ryan Katz completed 9 of 25 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns without an interception in the opener … CB Lance Mitchell was named the first Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week after he had 18 tackles and an interception in the loss to TCU … Suaesi Tuimaunei also hit double figures with 14 tackles against TCU … Oregon State was 8-5 overall and 6-3 in the Pac-10 last season … The Beavers fell to Brigham Young 44-20 in the Las Vegas Bowl.


PITTSBURGH Open Date
Next Game
vs. Miami
Thu 9/23

RUTGERS Open Date
Next Game
vs. N. Carolina
Sat 9/25

SYRACUSE vs. Maine
Sat 9/18
7:15 PM
No TV
Syracuse and Maine met for the first time in 2009, when the Orange scored a 41- 24 win at the Carrier Dome … Syracuse trailed 17-13 at halftime, but reeled off 28 straight points in the second half to win going away … RB Delone Carter ran for 72 yards and three touchdowns in last year's meeting, while Maine QB Warren Smith threw for 305 yards and three TDs.

Syracuse plays at home for the first time in 2010 after the Orange opened with back-to-back road games … The Orange scored the first 10 points of their most recent game at Washington, but fell 41-20 in Seattle … Syracuse opened with a 29-3 win at Akron … Syracuse is one of just two schools from automatic-qualifying BCS conferences to open with two straight road games (Colorado had trips to Colorado State and California to start the year) … The Orange were 4-4 at the Carrier Dome last year … Syracuse is averaging 383.5 yards of offense and has allowed an average of 316.5 yards on defense … RB Delone Carter is fourth in the BIG EAST in rushing through two games at 91.0 yards per game … Carter has run for exactly 91 yards in each of the first two games … QB Ryan Nassib has completed 34 of 62 passes (54.8 percent) for 431 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions … WR Van Chew, who entered the year with 10 career receptions, has nine catches for 162 yards and a TD … LB Derrell Smith has a team-high 19 tackles … Syracuse has just one defensive takeaway thus far … RB Prince-Tyson Gulley has averaged 26.7 yards on six kickoff returns, good for fourth in the BIG EAST … Syracuse has outscored its first two opponents by a 27-16 margin in the first half, but has been outscored 28-22 in the second half.

Maine improved to 1-1 with a 31-23 win at Monmouth last Saturday … The Black Bears began the 2010 season with a 3-0 loss to Albany … Maine is a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, which has seven teams ranked in the top 25 (and six of the top 12) of this week's FCS national poll … CAA teams have scored 10 wins against Bowl Subdivision teams in the last five years, including last week's win by James Madison at Virginia Tech … Maine is receiving votes in this week's poll … After facing Syracuse, Maine faces four teams (William & Mary, New Hampshire, Delaware, Villanova) ranked in the top 12 in FCS … RB Jared Turcotte has averaged 117 yards with three rushing touchdowns in the first two games … The Black Bears have used two quarterbacks thus far, with QB Warren Smith (22-for-39, 243 yards) getting most of the snaps … WR Derek Session has seven catches for 122 yards … DB Jerron McMillan leads the team with 20 tackles to go with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery … Maine has not allowed a sack through two games.


USF Open Date
Next Game
vs. W. Ky.
Sat 9/25

WEST VIRGINIA vs. Maryland
Sat 9/18
12:00 PM
ESPNU
Saturday's game will be the 48th meeting between West Virginia and Maryland in a series that dates to the 1919 season … The Mountainers hold a 23-21-2 series lead and have won four straight against the Terps … The schools met every year from 1980-2007, including twice in 2003, when they played in the Toyota Gator Bowl, but have not met since West Virginia's 31-14 win Sept. 13, 2007, in College Park, Md. … That game featured 137 rushing yards and three touchdowns by West Virginia RB Steve Slaton … The schools announced Monday that the series will continue through at least the 2017 season.

West Virginia was on the short end of a 21-6 score midway through the fourth quarter of last Friday's game at Marshall, but the Mountaineers remained unbeaten with two length-of-the-field scoring drives down the stretch to win 24-21 in overtime … Coupled with a 31-0 win against Coastal Carolina in the opener, the Mountaineers are 2-0 for the seventh time in the last eight years … West Virginia has averaged 434.5 yards of offense in its first two games … RB Noel Devine has rushed for 223 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 111.5 yards per game … Devine is the active leader among Bowl Subdivision players in career rushing yards (3,604) and is seventh on the BIG EAST's all-time chart … QB Geno Smith had a breakout game against Marshall, engineering the two late scoring drives … Smith has completed 72.2 percent of his passes (52-of-72) for 532 yards and three touchdowns against one interception … The Mountaineer defense has not registered a sack in 2010 … S Terence Garvin has a team-high 17 tackles … P Greg Pugnetti is averaging 45.0 yards per punt.

Maryland enters Saturday's game on the heels of its most prolific offensive performance in 35 years in last week's 62-3 win against Morgan State … The Terrapins were playing on just four days' rest after a season-opening win against Navy on Labor Day … At 2-0, Maryland has matched its win total from last season and has won back-to-back games for the first time since 2008 … Maryland has lost eight straight road games, dating to the 2008 season … The 17-14, season-opening win against Navy was capped by a goal-line stand with 34 seconds left in the fourth quarter … The Terps have averaged 241 rushing yards and 80 passing yards through two games … QB Jamarr Robinson has completed 8 of 19 passes for 81 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions … Robinson is Maryland's second-leading rusher with an average of 64.0 yards per game … RB Davin Meggett leads the team with 77.5 yards per game … LB Alex Wujciak has a team-high 23 tackles … DT Joe Vellano has 2.5 sacks and four tackles for loss.


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