Week 2 Preview

Three games against BCS conference foes highlight the second week of action in the Big East.

TWO WITH ZERO

The Big East (8-0) and the Big 12 (10-0) are the only conferences with perfect nonconference records through the first week of the 2011 season.The 2011 season is the first in Big Easthistory in which all eight teams are unbeaten after the first week of the season.Big East teams were 6-0 in nonconference games through Week 1 of the 2002 season, but that week's schedule included a conference game between West Virginia and Boston College.


LEADING THE PACK

Connecticut kicker Dave Teggart has more BIg East Weekly Awards than any other active player. He has four such mentions in his career, while no one else in the league has more than two.


ROAD WARRIORS

USF scored its fourth road win against a top-25 team since 2006 with the victory against No. 16 Notre Dame. In the past three seasons, the Bulls have won road games against Florida State, Miami and Notre Dame.


THE PICKS

Once again, it's a mix of tuneups and tossups in the league.

On Friday, Louisville is the pick to top FIU, but that's not as easy a choice as it might appear. The Panthers have been building a solid program under head cacoh Mario Cristobal, and the Cardinals' offensive struggles a week ago are a cause for concern. Still, the home field should be enough to give the Cardinals the edge. Pitt, West Virginia, Syracuse and USF should all be able to handle their opponents, although the Bulls will have to guard against a letdown against Ball State after knocking off Notre Dame.

It's difficult to judge Rutgers after the Scarlet Knights blew out an overmatched North Carolina Central squad, and the same applies to UNC after it blew out James Madison. However, the Tar Heels' win came over a better foe, and the home field won't hurt either, making the baby blues the pick. Cincinnati appears to be loaded on offense after recording 72 against woeful Austin Peay, but will it be able to move the ball in the same way on Rocky Top? The Bearcats might have been underrated in the preseason, but that won't be enough to overcome the Vols. UConn showed a number of plays reminiscent of Paul Pasqualoni's offense at Syracuse in its Week One win, and should be able to move the ball on the road against Vandy. The Huskies get the nod in this one.


CINCINNATI at Tennessee
Sat 9/10
3:30 PM
ESPN2
Saturday's game will be the sixth meeting between Cincinnati and Tennessee and the first since the 2000 season … The Vols hold a 4-1 series lead, with Cincinnati's lone win coming in 1904 … All five previous meetings have been played in Knoxville.

Cincinnati's offense was close to unstoppable in the Bearcats' 72-10 win against Austin Peay Saturday … Cincinnati had 12 offensive possessions, scored touchdowns on 10 of them, had a field goal on another, and was stopped on downs on its lone non-scoring drive … The 72 points were the most for Cincinnati since the Bearcats defeated Kentucky Wesleyan 115-0 Oct. 22, 1921 … Cincinnati rushed for 387 yards against Austin Peay — the most since a 389-yard day on the ground against Xavier in 1946 … The Bearcats used four quarterbacks and had 12 different players with at least one rushing attempt … QB Zach Collaros — a unanimous All-Big East First Team selection in 2010 — picked up where he left off in 2010 by completing 12 of 19 passes for 134 yards and four touchdowns against Austin Peay … RB Isaiah Pead, who averaged a Big East-leading 6.6 yards per carry last year, averaged 12.4 yards on seven carries, going for 87 yards and two TDs against Austin Peay … Pead scored on a 40-yard touchdown run on Cincinnati's first offensive play … WR D.J. Woods had four receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown, while WR Anthony Mc- Clung had three receptions for 48 yards and two TDs … Cincnnati's scoring drives ranged from a one-play, 40-yard drive to a 14-play, 95-yard possession that started the second quarter.

Tennessee began the season with a 42-16 win against Montana Saturday night at Neyland Stadium … The Vols scored the first 28 points of the game and were relatively unchallenged by the Grizzlies … Tennessee lived somewhat dangerously, fumbling six times, but not losing any … The Vols also had two interceptions nullified by Montana penalties and came out of the game turnover-free … The start of the game was delayed for an hour and 33 minutes due to inclement weather … Tennessee had six different players score touchdowns against Montana … QB Tyler Bray threw for 293 yards and three touchdowns … WR Justin Hunter and WR Da'Rick Rogers both reached the 100-yard mark against Montana — Hunter had six receptions for 146 yards, while Rogers had five catches for 100 yards … QB Matt Simms, who is No. 2 on the depth chart, is a transfer from Louisville … RB Tauren Poole (1,034 yards, 11 TDs in 2010) rushed for 98 yards and a TD against Montana … Tennessee went 6-7 last year, falling to North Carolina 30-27 in double overtime in the Music City Bowl … The Vols have won five straight regular-season games, dating to last year.


CONNECTICUT at Vanderbilt
Sat 9/10
7:30 PM
CSS
Saturday's game will be the third meeting between Connecticut and Vanderbilt in a series that began in 2002 … The home team has won each of the first two matchups, including Connecticut's 40-21 win last year at Rentschler Field … RB Jordan Todman rushed for 190 yards and two touchdowns for in last year's win as Connecticut scored the last 26 points of the game … Vanderbilt is 10-8-1 all-time against current Big East schools.

It's rare that a coach's first win turns into a career milestone, but that's what happened with Connecticut coach Paul Pasqualoni in the Huskies' 35-3 decision against Fordham … It was Pasqualoni's first win as the Huskies' head coach, but it was his 108th victory as a Big East coach (with 107 coming in 14 years at Syracuse), tying Frank Beamer for the most all-time … Connectict had a relatively easy time against Fordham as the Huskies had a 434-169 advantage in total offense and a 21-8 cushion in first downs … Freshman RB Lyle McCombs enjoyed his collegiate debut with 141 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries … The Huskies used three quarterbacks regularly against Fordham, with QB Johnny McEntee getting the start … McEntee completed 8 of 12 passes for 113 yards … TE Ryan Griffin was the top receiver with three receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown … Griffin's 97 yards were the most by a Big East player in Week 1 … DE Ted Jennings had 2.5 tackles for loss and eight total stops to lead a veteran defense … K Dave Teggart has 260 career points, the most among active Big East players.

Vanderbilt opened its season with a 45-14 win against Elon … The Commodores snapped a seven-game losing streak with the victory … Vanderbilt was 2-10 last season, with the wins coming against Mississippi and Eastern Michigan … Vanderbilt has not won back-to-back games since defeating Mississippi and Auburn in succession in 2008 … Head coach James Franklin had been the assistant head coach/offensive coordinator at Maryland since 2008 before taking over in Nashville … Vanderbilt held a 21-14 lead against Elon in the third quarter before scoring the last 24 points … The Commodores had fewer yards (323-309) and first downs (17-16) than Elon, but took advantage of three turnovers … QB Larry Smith completed 13 of 27 passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns and added a rushing touchdown … WR Jordan Matthews had three catches for 58 yards, while RB Zac Stacy led the team with 35 rushing yards on eight carries … TE Brandon Barden was an All-SEC Second Team pick last year … LB Chris Marve, who had 80 tackles last season, had a team-high 12 stops against Elon.


LOUISVILLE Vs. FIU
Fri 9/9
7:00 PM
ESPN
Friday's game will be the first meeting between Louisville and Florida International … Big East teams are a combined 21-0 against current members of the Sun Belt Conference … Florida International faced a pair of Big East teams last season, falling to Rutgers (19-14) and Pittsburgh (44-17).

Louisville is off to a 1-0 start for the eighth time in the last 11 years after the Cardinals took a 21-9 win against Murray State Thursday at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium … Louisville raced to a 14-0 lead after one quarter and held a 21-0 second-quarter lead, but was kept off the scoreboard the rest of the way … Louisville had 385 yards of offense against the Racers, but were hurt by four turnovers and 10 penalties for 65 yards … QB Will Stein became the fifth different Opening Day starter in the past five years for the Cardinals … Stein threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns without an interception on 32 attempts … WR Josh Bellamy had a team-high four receptions for 37 yards, but left the game in the first half due to injury … RB Victor Anderson rushed for 61 yards and a touchdown on nine carries and had three receptions for 23 yards … The Cardinal defensive line was without three of its regular players, but Louisville registered eight tackles for loss and two sacks … LB Preston Brown and LB Dexter Heyman had 12 tackles each, while Heyman added one of Louisville's three interceptions … Louisville is 25-8 in nonconference games since joining the Big East … The .758 winning percentage ranks second among active Big East members.

Florida International started the 2011 season with a Sun Belt Conference game and responded with a 41-16 win against North Texas in Miami … The Golden Panthers raced to a 28-0 lead after the first quarter and didn't allow an offensive touchdown … Head coach Mario Cristobal — a former All-Big East offensive tackle at Miami as an undergraduate — took over a program that went 0-12 the year before he arrived and led the Golden Panthers to a 7-6 record and a share of the Sun Belt Conference title last year … Florida International capped last season with its first bowl victory — a 34-32 win against Toledo in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl … WR T.Y. Hilton was the 2010 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and is one of the more explosive players in the nation … Hilton scored two special teams touchdowns last year, averaging 28.7 yards on kickoff returns, and had five touchdown catches … He began the 2011 season with 283 all-purpose yards against North Texas — the most of any player in the nation and 12 yards shy of his own school record … Hilton had seven receptions for 132 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown catch … QB Wes Carroll completed 16 of 22 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown against North Texas.


PITTSBURGH vs. Maine
Sat 9/10
1:00 PM
ESPN3.com
Saturday's game will be the first meeting between Pittsburgh and Maine … Maine will face a Big East member for the third straight season, and the fourth time in five years, after playing Connecticut in 2007 and Syracuse in 2009 and 2010 … The Black Bears are 1-8 all-time against Bowl Subdivision members, with the win coming at Mississippi State in 2004 (9-7) … Maine plays in the Colonial Athletic Association, which saw four teams defeat Bowl Subdivision members in 2009, had one such win in 2010 (James Madison over Virginia Tech) and has one already in 2011 (Richmond over Duke).

Pittsburgh gave Todd Graham his first win as the Panthers' head coach with a 35-16 decision against Buffalo Saturday at Heinz Field … The Panthers never trailed and broke open a 7-3 halftime score with 14 points in both the third and fourth quarters … After scoring one first-half touchdown, the Panthers scored touchdowns on four of their last five drives … Pittsburgh and Buffalo combined for 813 yards of offense … The Panthers ran 66 plays and saw Buffalo run 93 … The key man for Pittsburgh was RB Ray Graham, who rushed for 201 yards and three touchdowns, serving as the featured back in the offense for the first time … Graham, who had split time with current Philadelphia Eagles back Dion Lewis, registered his second career 200-yard game and gave the Panthers a 200-yard rusher for the second time in three games, dating to last season … QB Tino Sunseri completed 16 of 28 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown without an interception … WR Mike Shanahan stepped up as the leading receiver with five catches for 85 yards and a touchdown … DT Chas Alecxih led the defense with a forced fumble and a 47-yard interception return for a TD.

Maine opened the 2011 season with a 28-13 win against Bryant Saturday in Orono, Maine … The Black Bears built a 28-0 lead after three quarters and held off Bryant's comeback bid in the fourth quarter … Maine scored three rushing touchdowns and got one on special teams to offset Bryant's 322-290 edge in total offense … RB Pushaun Brown brought a streak of three straight 100-yard games into the 2011 season and made it four straight with a 26-carry, 146-yard, two-touchdown effort against the Bulldogs … QB Warren Smith completed 14 of 20 passes for 135 yards without an interception … WR Maurice McDonald had six receptions for 52 yards … WR Trevor Coston was chosen as the CAA Special Teams Player of the Week after he averaged 26 yards on five punt returns, including a 74-yard touchdown … The Black Bears were 4-7 last season and were picked ninth in the 2011 CAA preseason poll, but also received votes in The Sports Network's FCS national preseason poll.


RUTGERS at North Carolina
Sat 9/10
12:300 PM
SNY
Saturday's game will be the sixth meeting between Rutgers and North Carolina … The Tar Heels hold a 3-2 series lead … The schools first met Nov. 1, 1894, renewed acquaintances in 1919 and didn't play again until 2006, when Rutgers was a 21-16 winner in Chapel Hill … North Carolina has won two straight in the series, including a 17-13 decision last year in Piscataway, N.J. … Rutgers scored on its first two possessions in last year's meeting, but was held to just three points the rest of the way.

Rutgers erased a six-game losing streak that closed the 2010 season with a 48-0 win against North Carolina Central last Thursday … The Scarlet Knights held a 7-0 lead after the first quarter, a 21-0 edge at halftime and broke the game open with 24 points in the third quarter … Rutgers scored four offensive touchdowns, two defensive touchdowns and had two field goals in the balanced effort against North Carolina Central … Three players registered at least 10 rushing attempts against North Carolina Central, with RB Jawan Jamison turning in a team-high 54 yards on 17 carries … RB Savon Huggins had a pair of rushing touchdowns in his collegiate debut … Rutgers also saw two quarterbacks find the end zone as QB Chas Dodd therw for 113 yards and a TD on 9-of-17 passing, while QB Gary Nova threw for 97 yards and a score, completing 6-of-17 … WR Mohamed Sanu had seven receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown … SS Duron Harmon keyed a defensive effort that held North Carolina Central to just 120 yards of offense and eight rushing yards … Harmon had two interceptions, including a 37-yard return for a touchdown … The Scarlet Knights registered nine sacks against North Carolina Central.

North Carolina opened with a 42-10 win against James Madison Saturday … It was the first win for Everett Withers, who is serving as the Tar Heels' interim coach after Butch Davis was dismissed July 27 … Withers had been North Carolina's defensive coordinator since 2008 … North Carolina has finished each of the last three seasons at 8-5 … QB Bryn Renner will make his second career start … Renner had attempted just two career passes prior to last week's season-opener, but completed 22 of 23 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns against James Madison … Renner's .957 completion percentage is the highest in ACC history for a passer with at least 20 attempts … North Carolina lost its three leading rushers from last year … RB Giovani Bernand rushed for 64 yards and two touchdowns, while RB Ryan Houston had 16 carries for 59 yards and a TD against James Madison … WR Dwight Jones had nine receptions for 116 yards and two touchdowns against the Dukes … DE Quinton Coples was an All-ACC First Team selection last season … Coples had two sacks in the opener against James Madison … North Carolina is 7-5 at home since 2009.


SYRACUSE vs. Rhode Island
Sat 9/10
4:30 PM
Big East Network
Syracuse and Rhode Island have only met once, with Syracuse's 63-17 win in 2002 standing as the lone game between the schools … Syracuse has faced a Colonial Athletic Association team in each of the past two years, scoring wins against Maine in 2009 (41-24) and 2010 (38-14) … The CAA has had four teams defeat Bowl Subdivision members in 2009, had one such win in 2010 (James Madison over Virginia Tech) and has one already in 2011 (Richmond over Duke).

Syracuse turned in one of the more exciting games of the young season as the Orange rallied from a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit to get past Wake Forest 36-29 in overtime at the Carrier Dome … Syracuse trailed 20-7 at halftime and Wake Forest was able to build a 29-14 lead on a field goal with 11:02 left in the fourth quarter … Syracuse scored the last 22 points of the game … QB Ryan Nassib went 20-of-28 for 178 yards and three touchdown passes, including two TD throws after the start of the fourth quarter … RB Antwon Bailey rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns against Wake Forest, including a 53-yard touchdown that allowed the Orange to tie the score midway through the fourth quarter … Bailey scored multiple touchdowns for the first time in his career and enjoyed his second career 100-yard day … WR Alec Lemon had a team-high seven catches for 52 yards, while WR Van Chew had four receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown … Chew has caught at least one pass in 14 consecutive games … The defense was paced by freshman LB Dyshawn Davis, who had eight tackles and a sack … S Shamarko Thomas had a team-high 10 tackles … Eight Syracuse players made their first career starts against Wake Forest … The Orange play four of their first five games at home, with next week's game at USC the lone road trip in that stretch.

Rhode Island did not play last weekend and begins its 2011 season with the trip to Syracuse … The Rams were 5-6 overall and 4-4 in the CAA last year … The Rams' ledger included wins against teams ranked No. 3, 8 and 19 in the Football Championship Subdivision last year … Rhode Island closed the year with three wins in its last four games … The Rams return 11 offensive starters and five defensive starters from last year … QB Steve Probst, a transfer from Hofstra, threw for 1,876 yards and rushed for 600 last year … Probst ranked third in the CAA in total offense, averaging 225.1 yards per game … The Rams' defense, which allowed an average of 36.9 points in 2009, limited opponents to 24.4 points per game last season … Rhode Island announced last year that the 2011 and 2012 seasons would be the Rams' final years in the CAA … Rhode Island will join the Northeast Conference for the 2013 season.


USF at Ball State
Sat 9/10
7:00 PM
Big East Network
Saturday's game will be the first meeting between USF and Ball State … The Bulls will look to extend their perfect streak in home-openers, taking a 14-0 record into Saturday's game … USF lost its last two home games of 2010 and is looking to avoid its first three-game slide at Raymond James Stadium in program history.

USF added to its impressive list of "program-defining" victories with a 23-20 win at No. 16/18 Notre Dame in a matchup that took 5 hours and 59 minutes to complete … The Bulls registered their seventh win against a top-25 program since joining the Big East in 2006 … USF was on the short end of a 508-254 discrepancy in total offense, but took advantage of five Notre Dame turnovers to get the win … The Bulls were 3-for-3 in red zone scoring chances while holding the Irish to just 2-for-6 … QB B.J. Daniels managed the offense to the tune of 128 passing yards, completing 18-of-30 attempts with one touchdown … Daniels was one of three players with at least 10 rushing attempts as RB Demetris Murray ran for 40 yards on 14 carries, and RB Darrell Scott had 33 yards on 12 runs … WR Sterling Griffin had a team-high eight receptions for 75 yards against the Irish … S Jon Lejiste and LB Michael Lanaris had a team-high 10 tackles against Notre Dame, while S Jerrell Young had a hand in two turnovers with a forced fumble and an interception … Veteran K Maikon Bonani hit three field goals against the Irish, while P Justin Brockhaus-Kann dropped three of his seven punts inside the 20-yard line.

Ball State began the 2011 season with a 27-20 win against Indiana at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis … The Cardinals will play in an NFL stadium for the second straight week with the trip to Raymond James Stadium … Head coach Pete Lembo won his Ball State debut after spending five years as head coach at Elon … Lembo went 35-22 at Elon, which was 14-42 in the five seasons prior to his arrival … Ball State rushed for 210 yards and passed for 173 in the win against the Hoosiers, while holding Indiana to 103 rushing yards and 272 passing yards … QB Keith Wenning completed 23 of 29 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 61 yards against the Hoosiers … Ball State registered four sacks against Indiana, with DT Nathan Ollie turning in two … After allowing Indiana to score on three of its first four drives, the Cardinals held the Hoosiers to just one field goal on their last six possessions … The Cardinals return 11 starters from the 2010 team that was 4-8 overall and 3-5 in the Mid-American Conference … Ball State radio play-by-play announcer Morry Mannies is in his 56th season as the voice of the Cardinals.


WEST VIRGINIA vs. Norfolk St.
Sat 9/10
1:00 PM
Root
West Virginia and Norfolk State meet on the gridiron for the first time Saturday … Norfolk State head coach Pete Adrian is a 1970 graduate of West Virginia and a former WVU assistant coach … Saturday's game will be the second straight for West Virginia against a head coach who is an alumnus of the school (Marshall coach Doc Holliday is a 1979 graduate) … Norfolk State plays a Big East member for the second straight year — the Spartans fell 31-0 at Rutgers last season.

Any head coach should remember his first career win, but West Virginia's Dana Holgorsen will undoubtedly have the memories from his debut for a lifetime … Holgorsen's first victory against Marshall came at home, against an in-state rival and was twice interrupted by lightning in the Morgantown area before the game was called with 14:36 left in the fourth quarter and West Virginia holding a 34-13 lead … The Mountaineers trailed 7-3 after the first quarter, but built a 20-10 lead at halftime … West Virginia had four scoring drives of 10 or more plays … QB Geno Smith had impressive numbers in the abbreviated game, finishing with 249 yards and two touchdowns on 26-of-35 passing … WR Stedman Bailey had five receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown, while WR Ivan McCartney had five catches for 31yards and a TD … RB Andrew Buie started the game and rushed for 30 yards, but yielded to RB Vernard Roberts after leaving with an injury … WR Tavon Austin had 190 allpurpose yards, including a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that effectively put the game out of reach … LB Najee Goode had a team-high seven sacks, while DE Bruce Irvin, who had a Big East-leading 14 sacks a year ago, had one sack against Marshall … K Tyler Bitancurt made both of his field goal attempts, while P Corey Smith averaged 50.0 yards on a pair of kicks.

Norfolk State began the 2011 season in impressive fashion as the Spartans cruised to a 37-3 win against Virginia State in the Virginia Lottery Labor Day Classic in Norfolk … The Spartans scored on their first three possessions, punted just once and didn't commit a turnover … QB Chris Walley completed 25 of 29 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns in the season-opener … Norfolk State ranked sixth among FCS schools in total defense last year (284.1 ypg) and showed little rust this year, holding Virginia State to 161 yards of offense … CB Ricardo Volcin had the defensive highlight in the opener with a 46-yard interception return for a touchdown … LB Corwin Hammond had a team-high nine tackles with two tackles for loss … The game at West Virginia is the first in a streak of three straight road dates for Norfolk State, which faces Howard Sept. 17.


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