The WVU Mountaineers are ranked 17th in this week's BCS poll. West Virginia, 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the BIG EAST, had its game on Saturday at USF postponed due to concerns about Hurricane Wilma. The game will be played in Tampa on Dec. 3. The kickoff time and television plans have not been announced. The Mountaineers return to action on Wednesday, Nov. 2 when they host Connecticut. ESPN2 will televise.
Rutgers Aiming For Bowl Eligibility
Last Saturday, Rutgers won its second straight road contest, a 26-24 decision at Connecticut. The Scarlet Knights, under coach Greg Schiano, are 5-2 going into this week's home game against Navy. If RU prevails over the Midshipmen, it will have six wins and be bowl eligible for the first time since 1992. Rutgers also is tied with Pittsburgh for second place in the BIG EAST. Both squads are 3-1.
No One But Dumervil
Only Louisville's defensive end Elvis Dumervil leads the nation in three different statistical categories as he makes a push for national individual honors. This week, he is first in sacks, averaging 2.71 per game. He also is first nationally in tackles for loss (2.93), and forced fumbles (1.14). As a team, the Cardinal defense is tied for first in fumbles recovered with 12. In last week's win at Cincinnati, Dumervil broke the BIG EAST record for sacks in a season. He has 19 for the year. The old mark of 17.5 was set by Syracuse's Dwight Freeney in 2001.
Only Two Games This Week
In addition to the Navy at Rutgers matchup, the only other game this Saturday involving BIG EAST teams is Cincinnati at Syracuse. It will be the BIG EAST Game of the Week produced by ESPN Regional. Kickoff is noon Eastern time.
Cincinnati vs. Syracuse
This will be the sixth meeting between the Bearcats and the Orange. Syracuse leads the overall series by a 4-1 margin and has taken all three games played at the Carrier Dome.
The two teams last met on Sept. 19, 2004, with SU defeating Cincinnati, 19-7, at the Carrier Dome. The Bearcats rallied from an early 10-0 deficit to cut the Orange lead to 10-7, but Syraucse scored the final nine points to pull away.
SU running back Walter Reyes rushed for 117 yards and one touchdown. Running back Damien Rhodes caught three passes for 86 yards and one score. The SU defense posted six takeaways, including four interceptions, and safety Anthony Smith blocked a punt.
For Cincinnati, tight end Brent Celek caught a two-yard touchdown from quarterback Gino Guidugli to account for the Bearcats' only score.
This season, the Cincinnati defense is among the nation's best in causing turnovers. The Bearcats are tied for seventh in fumbles recovered (10) and tied for 23rd in turnovers gained (16). UC defensive back Mike Mickens leads the nation in passes defended (2.00).
Syracuse is 11th nationally in pass defense (161.0), tied for 11th in interceptions (11) and tied for 13th in turnovers gained (18). Orange safety Anthony Smith is second in the nation in interceptions (.71).
Navy vs. Rutgers
This will be the 20th meeting in the series between Navy and Rutgers – a series that dates all the way back to 1891. RU is 4-2 in home games against the Midshipmen. The Scarlet Knights had taken two straight in the series, before Navy won last season's meeting, 54-21, on Nov. 20 in Annapolis.
The Midshipmen rushed for 476 yards in the game on 67 carries. Kyle Eckel led the way for Navy with 143 yards rushing and two touchdowns. RU turned the ball over four times in the game, including an 18-yard interception return for a score by Navy's David Mahoney.
For Rutgers, quarterback Ryan Hart was 27-of-40 for 264 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Wideout Tres Moses caught six passes for 121 yards and one touchdown. Tight end Clark Harris caught nine balls for 116 yards and one touchdown.
This season, Navy started the year 0-2, before reeling off four consecutive wins. On Oct. 22, Navy won at Rice, 41-9. The Midshipmen average over 272 rushing yards per game. Quarterback Lamar Owens leads the team in rushing with 463 yards and two touchdowns. Owens also has 783 yards passing and three scores.
Rutgers is ranked 23rd in the nation in scoring defense (18.7) and 25th in rushing defense (113.9). Defensive end Ryan Neill is second nationally in tackles for loss (2.43) and tied for 17th in sacks (0.86). The RU special teams rank among the NCAA leaders in kickoff returns (14th, 25.25) and punt returns (18th, 14.0). If RU wins, the Scarlet Knights will be bowl eligible for the first time since 1992.