Big East Previews

West Virginia and Louisville have the weekend off, while Rutgers and South Florida meet on Friday in the highlighted game of the week in the Big East Conference

CINCINNATI vs. Miami Ohio
Sat 9/30
3:30 p.m.
Cincinnati will look to snap a three-game losing streak as it hosts Miami (Ohio) this week. The Bearcats' series with the Redhawks is the fifth-most played rivalry in Division I-A. The first Cincinnati-Miami (Ohio) game – played on Dec. 8, 1888 – was the first college football contest played in the state of Ohio. Miami (Ohio) leads the all-time series 59-44-7. The Redhawks also won the last meeting between the two teams, 44-16, last season.

Cincinnati comes into the game after falling, 29-13, to Virginia Tech on Sept. 23. It marked the second straight loss to a ranked opponent (played No. 1 Ohio State on 9/16) for the Bearcats. Despite the loss, Cincinnati posted a strong performance, leading at the half (10-5) and after three quarters (13-12). The Bearcats rushed for 143 yards on the ground versus the Hokies and tight end Brent Celek extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one reception to 16. Celek, with three receptions for 45 yards, upped his career reception total to 71 – 10 off the UC career record by a tight end set by Kris Bjorson (1989-92). Celek also improved his career receiving yardage total, which is already a UC career mark for a tight end, to 845.

Miami (Ohio) will be playing a BIG EAST team for the second consecutive week when it travels to Cincinnati. On Sept. 23, the Redhawks lost at Syracuse, 34-14. Wideout Ryne Robinson scored both Miami touchdowns. He caught seven passes for 72 yards, including touchdown catches of nine and three yards.


CONNECTICUT vs. Navy
Sat 9/30
Noon
ERT
Connecticut – looking for its first back-to-back victories this season – returns home to Rentschler Field to welcome Navy. The Huskies have an all-time mark of 1-5 against the Midshipmen. The last time the two teams met, the Huskies posted a 38-0 victory in Annapolis on Nov. 16, 2002.

Connecticut comes into the game after registering a 14-7 win at Indiana on Sept. 23. The Huskies limited the Hoosiers to just 192 yards of total offense, including 42 yards in the first half, and zero rushing yards for the entire game. Offensively for Connecticut, senior running back Terry Caulley led the rushing attack with 155 yards on 32 carries. It marked the 12th time in Caulley's career that he has gone over the 100-yard mark in a game – tying Vinny Clements (1968-70) school mark.

UConn linebacker Donta Moore leads the nation in tackles for loss (2.5). Caulley is 14th nationally in rushing yards per game (109.3). The Huskies are also ranked among the national leaders in a number of team categories, including rushing offense (4th, 267.4), pass efficiency defense (3rd, 78.8), pass defense (9th, 132.3) and total defense (10th, 231.3). UConn is fourth among NCAA leaders in kickoff returns (28.7).

Last time out for Navy, the Midshipmen lost at home to Tulsa in overtime, 24-23, on Sept. 23. It was the first-ever overtime game for Navy. The Midshipmen already have two players with over 300 yards rushing this season. Quarterback Brian Hampton has 358 yards and five touchdowns, while running back Adam Ballard has 352 yards and one score. Navy ranks first in the nation in rushing offense (330.5).


PITTSBURGH vs. Toledo
Sat 9/30
Noon
ESPNU
Pittsburgh welcomes Toledo to Heinz Field on Saturday as the Panthers look for back-to-back wins. The Panthers and Rockets have faced each other twice previously, with each team winning at home. The last time the two squads met was in 2003 when Toledo defeated Pitt, 35-31.

Last week, Pittsburgh scored touchdowns on five of its first six possessions in the first half en route to a 51- 6 over The Citadel on Sept. 23. Tyler Palko threw touchdown passes to four different receivers, while overtaking Tony Dorsett on Pittsburgh's career offense list. Palko's 88.2 completion percentage (15-of-17) in the game ranks sixth on the BIG EAST's all-time completion percentage list for a game. He completed 15-of-17 passes for 313 yards and four touchdowns. With his 313 yards passing, Palko also moved into fourth place on Pitt's all-time career passing yardage list with 6,612 career yards. He passed BIG EAST television analyst John Congemi (6,467 yards, 1983-86) for fourth place. Palko trails No. 1 Alex Van Pelt (11,267 yards), No. 2 Dan Marino (8,597) and No. 3 Rod Rutherford (6,724).

In Toledo's last game, the Rockets defeated McNeese State, 41-7, on Sept. 23. Running back DaJuane Collins rushed for 91 yards on eight carries, to go along with two touchdowns. Quarterback Brandon Summers was 11-of-17 for 121 yards and a score in place of starter Clint Cochran, who did not play.


RUTGERS at South Florida
Fri 9/29
8:00 p.m.
ESPN2
Rutgers and USF open their respective conference slates on Friday. The game between USF and Rutgers will mark just the second time the two teams have met. In the first meeting last season, USF defeated Rutgers, 45-31, on Nov. 5. It was the running backs for both teams who made the biggest impact in that game. USF's Andre Hall had 168 yards and three touchdowns. RU's Ray Rice had 158 yards on the ground.

Rutgers enters this week's game after defeating Howard, 56-7, on Sept. 23. USF fell at Kansas, 13-7, last Saturday. The Bulls appeared ready to pull off a fourth straight come-from-behind win when freshman quarterback Matt Grothe drove the offense all the way down to the KU 27-yard line with 13 second left, but the comeback attempt fell short as USF suffered its first loss of the season. Grothe finished the game completing 17- of-32 for 196 yards and rushing for 66 yards. He currently leads the BIG EAST in rushing yards among quarterbacks (279).

Last week versus Howard, Rutgers totaled 215 yards rushing, marking the third time in four games this season that the Scarlet Knights have amassed 200 yards or more on the ground. They are averaging 203.8 rushing yards per game. Individually, sophomore Ray Rice recorded his fourth 100-yard game, rushing for 105 yards on 23 carries, while scoring three touchdowns. Rice's three touchdown performance marked the second time this season in which he has found the end zone three times. He is currently ranked fourth in the NCAA in rushing yards per game (151.0). Defensively, the Scarlet Knights have allowed just 30 points through its first four games this season. That marks the lowest four-game total for RU since 1980, when the team allowed 26 points.


SOUTH FLORIDA vs. Rutgers
Fri 9/29
8:00 p.m.
ESPN2
Rutgers and USF open their respective conference slates on Friday. The game between USF and Rutgers will mark just the second time the two teams have met. In the first meeting last season, USF defeated Rutgers, 45-31, on Nov. 5. It was the running backs for both teams who made the biggest impact in that game. USF's Andre Hall had 168 yards and three touchdowns. RU's Ray Rice had 158 yards on the ground.

Rutgers enters this week's game after defeating Howard, 56-7, on Sept. 23. USF fell at Kansas, 13-7, last Saturday. The Bulls appeared ready to pull off a fourth straight come-from-behind win when freshman quarterback Matt Grothe drove the offense all the way down to the KU 27-yard line with 13 second left, but the comeback attempt fell short as USF suffered its first loss of the season. Grothe finished the game completing 17- of-32 for 196 yards and rushing for 66 yards. He currently leads the BIG EAST in rushing yards among quarterbacks (279).

Last week versus Howard, Rutgers totaled 215 yards rushing, marking the third time in four games this season that the Scarlet Knights have amassed 200 yards or more on the ground. They are averaging 203.8 rushing yards per game. Individually, sophomore Ray Rice recorded his fourth 100-yard game, rushing for 105 yards on 23 carries, while scoring three touchdowns. Rice's three touchdown performance marked the second time this season in which he has found the end zone three times. He is currently ranked fourth in the NCAA in rushing yards per game (151.0). Defensively, the Scarlet Knights have allowed just 30 points through its first four games this season. That marks the lowest four-game total for RU since 1980, when the team allowed 26 points.


SYRACUSE vs. Wyoming
Sat 9/30
1:30 p.m.
ESPN360
Syracuse comes into its game against Wyoming in hopes of posting three straight wins for the first time since the 2002 season. During that season, the Orange posted wins over Rutgers (45-14), Central Florida (38-35) and Virginia Tech (50-42) in 3OT. Syracuse is tied for first in the nation in sacks per game (4.75).

Last week in a 34-14 home win over Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 23, the Orange registered eight sacks on quarterbacks Mike Kokal and Daniel Raudabaugh. The eight sacks tied the 1981 and ‘98 Syracuse defensive units for third on the school's single-game sacks list. In ‘81, Syracuse sacked Boston College quarterbacks eight times and the ‘98 squad also dropped Rutgers' signal callers behind the line of scrimmage on eight occasions. Defensive end Jameel McClain posted two sacks last week versus the Red Hawks. He is second nationally in sacks per game (1.5). Offensively, quarterback Perry Patterson completed 14-of-20 for 163 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Curtis Brinkley registered his first career 100-yard rushing performance, recording 108 yards and one touchdown. Brinkley was SU's first 100-yard rusher since Damien Rhodes went for 112 yards versus Notre Dame on Nov. 19, 2005.

Last time out for Wyoming, the Cowboys lost at home to Air Force, 31-24, on Sept. 23. Quarterback Jacob Doss completed 13-of-21 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns. For the season, Doss has 701 yards passing and six scores.


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