Big East Previews: Oct. 6-7

Rutgers is the lone team enjoying a week off, while the other seven schools engage in a mixed bag of conference tilts and out-of-conference play.

CINCINNATI vs. Akron
Sat 10/7
3:30 p.m.
ESPN360
Cincinnati will meet its second in-state opponent in as many weeks as it faces Akron. UC met Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 30. The Bearcats' game against the Zips will mark the fourth time that the two teams have met. In the three previous meetings, Akron holds a 2-1 advantage. The last time the two teams met was in 1992, with the Zips edging the Bearcats, 24-22, in Cincinnati.

This season, the Bearcats are looking for back-to-back wins for the first time since 2004. Last week against Miami (Ohio), Cincinnati defeated the Redhawks, 24-10. The Bearcats received a strong performance from running back Greg Moore, who rushed for a career-high 119 yards and a touchdown to propel the Bearcats to their first win since defeating Eastern Kentucky (31-0) on Sept. 2. Moore's rushing total marked the first time this season that a Bearcat running back had cracked the century mark. Moore also had 55-yard run, which was UC's longest play from scrimmage this season.

Against Miami (Ohio), the Bearcats featured a strong running game. Cincinnati picked up 253 of their 296 total yards on the ground, as the Bearcats ended a threegame losing streak. Senior defensive tackle Tony Carvitti injured his right knee in the third quarter and did not return.

Akron fell to 2-3 (0-2 MAC) after a 37-15 loss to Kent State on Sept. 30. Zips' quarterback Luke Getsy has completed 92-of-177 passes for 1,212 yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions this season. Running back Dennis Kennedy leads Akron in rushing with 300 yards and four scores.


CONNECTICUT At South Florida
Sat 10/7
7:00 p.m.
ERT Local
Connecticut and USF enter the game in the hopes of rebounding from losses last weekend. Connecticut fell at home to Navy, 41-17, on Sept. 30. USF dropped a hard-fought 22-20 decision to No. 23 Rutgers on Sept. 29.

Bulls' quarterback Matt Grothe accumulated 316 total yards versus Rutgers – 241 passing, 61 rushing and 14 receiving. In Grothe's four starts this season, he has accounted for 86 percent of the Bulls' offense. He has 1,084 yards passing and six touchdowns, to go along with 340 yards rushing and four scores.

UConn's loss to Navy last Saturday was just its sixth loss at Rentschler Field (16-6). The Huskies are 11-4 in games following a loss since Oct. 26, 2002. Senior running back Terry Caulley leads a UConn rushing attack that ranks sixth nationally (242.3 ypg). Caulley is third in the BIG EAST in rushing yards per game (103.8) and has 415 yards and one touchdown through the first four games this season.

In the three contests in which the two teams have met, USF holds a 2-1 series advantage. In the last meeting, Connecticut defeated USF, 15-10, on Nov. 26, 2005 at Rentschler Field. In that contest, Connecticut rushed for 160 yards, with 101 of those yards coming from running back Lou Allen. Allen also scored the Huskies' lone offensive touchdown. Connecticut held USF to just 83 yards on the ground.


LOUISVILLE At Mid. Tennessee
Fri 10/6
8:00 p.m.
ESPN2
After a week off, Louisville returns to action attempting to keep its unbeaten streak alive as it travels to Nashville to play Middle Tennessee State. The Cardinals are 2-0 in road games this season, defeating Temple (62-0) and Kansas State (24-6). Since head coach Bobby Petrino's first season at Louisville, the Cardinals have posted an impressive 12-5 mark on the road. Louisville's meeting with the Blue Raiders will mark the first time the two teams have met.

The UofL enters the game with the nation's top scoring offense, averaging 44.0 points per game. Hunter Cantwell will again get the starting nod at quarterback for Louisville in place of the injured Brian Brohm, who is still recovering from a broken thumb he sustained in the Cardinals' 31-7 victory over Miami. In his first start of the season, Cantwell was 18-of-26 for 173 yards at Kansas State. He also threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Harry Douglas, who had six receptions for 81 yards. Defensively, the Cardinals rank eighth in points allowed among all NCAA teams, as they have surrendered just 10.3 points per game.

Middle Tennessee State comes into the game after recording its first-ever shutout of a Sun Belt Conference opponent. The Blue Raiders blanked North Texas, 35-0, on Sept. 30. Running back Eugene Gross ran for 88 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Clint Marks completed 13-of-18 for 154 yards and one score.


PITTSBURGH at Syracuse
Sat 10/7
Noon
ERT
Syracuse has its first three-game winning streak since 2002. The last time Syracuse posted four straight wins was in 2001. The Orange will look to keep their winning streak alive as they welcome Pittsburgh to open their conference schedule. Pittsburgh holds a 17-11 advantage over Syracuse in the all-time series. Pitt has won three of the last four meetings. Before that, SU had won 11 in a row.

In last year's meeting between the two teams, Pittsburgh defeated Syracuse, 34-17, at Heinz Field. Pitt quarterback Tyler Palko ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as he went 18-of-28 for 201 yards. Panthers running back LaRod Stevens-Howling also posted a solid game, rushing for 101 yards on 23 carries (4.3 avg).

The Orange enter the game after posting a 40-34 (2OT) win over Wyoming on Sept. 30. Pittsburgh comes into the game after defeating Toledo,45-3, at Heinz Field on Sept. 30. In the game, Palko – who leads the nation in passing efficiency (191.1) – went 12-of-15 for 172 yards and touchdown. With his 172 yards passing, Palko moved into third place on Pitt's all-time career passing yardage list with 6,784 career yards. He passed Rod Rutherford (6,724 yards from 2000-03) for third place. Palko now trails Alex Van Pelt (11,267 yards) and Dan Marino (8,597).

The Panthers suffered a key loss versus Toledo, as starting right guard John Simonitis was lost for the season with a broken right ankle. Syracuse features a tough defensive unit that is tied for first nationally in sacks (5.0 per game). Defensive end Jameel McClain is tied with Missouri's Brian Smith for second among all NCAA players in sacks (7).


RUTGERS Open
Next game Oct. 14 at Louisville

SOUTH FLORIDA vs. Connecticut
Sat 10/7
7:00 p.m.
ERT Local
Connecticut and USF enter the game in the hopes of rebounding from losses last weekend. Connecticut fell at home to Navy, 41-17, on Sept. 30. USF dropped a hard-fought 22-20 decision to No. 23 Rutgers on Sept. 29.

Bulls' quarterback Matt Grothe accumulated 316 total yards versus Rutgers – 241 passing, 61 rushing and 14 receiving. In Grothe's four starts this season, he has accounted for 86 percent of the Bulls' offense. He has 1,084 yards passing and six touchdowns, to go along with 340 yards rushing and four scores.

UConn's loss to Navy last Saturday was just its sixth loss at Rentschler Field (16-6). The Huskies are 11-4 in games following a loss since Oct. 26, 2002. Senior running back Terry Caulley leads a UConn rushing attack that ranks sixth nationally (242.3 ypg). Caulley is third in the BIG EAST in rushing yards per game (103.8) and has 415 yards and one touchdown through the first four games this season.

In the three contests in which the two teams have met, USF holds a 2-1 series advantage. In the last meeting, Connecticut defeated USF, 15-10, on Nov. 26, 2005 at Rentschler Field. In that contest, Connecticut rushed for 160 yards, with 101 of those yards coming from running back Lou Allen. Allen also scored the Huskies' lone offensive touchdown. Connecticut held USF to just 83 yards on the ground.


SYRACUSE vs. Pitt
Sat 10/7
Noon
ERT
Syracuse has its first three-game winning streak since 2002. The last time Syracuse posted four straight wins was in 2001. The Orange will look to keep their winning streak alive as they welcome Pittsburgh to open their conference schedule. Pittsburgh holds a 17-11 advantage over Syracuse in the all-time series. Pitt has won three of the last four meetings. Before that, SU had won 11 in a row.

In last year's meeting between the two teams, Pittsburgh defeated Syracuse, 34-17, at Heinz Field. Pitt quarterback Tyler Palko ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as he went 18-of-28 for 201 yards. Panthers running back LaRod Stevens-Howling also posted a solid game, rushing for 101 yards on 23 carries (4.3 avg).

The Orange enter the game after posting a 40-34 (2OT) win over Wyoming on Sept. 30. Pittsburgh comes into the game after defeating Toledo,45-3, at Heinz Field on Sept. 30. In the game, Palko – who leads the nation in passing efficiency (191.1) – went 12-of-15 for 172 yards and touchdown. With his 172 yards passing, Palko moved into third place on Pitt's all-time career passing yardage list with 6,784 career yards. He passed Rod Rutherford (6,724 yards from 2000-03) for third place. Palko now trails Alex Van Pelt (11,267 yards) and Dan Marino (8,597).

The Panthers suffered a key loss versus Toledo, as starting right guard John Simonitis was lost for the season with a broken right ankle. Syracuse features a tough defensive unit that is tied for first nationally in sacks (5.0 per game). Defensive end Jameel McClain is tied with Missouri's Brian Smith for second among all NCAA players in sacks (7).


WEST VIRGINIA At Miss. State
Sat 10/07
2:30 p.m.
PPV (WV Only)
West Virginia looks to keep its perfect record intact as it travels to Mississippi State to meet the Bulldogs for the first time in program history. The Mountaineers will be in search of their 12th straight victory. West Virginia's school record for consecutive victories is 13. WVU has won seven straight away from home. The last loss was 30-18 to Florida State in the Toyota Gator Bowl on Jan. 1, 2005.

The Mountaineers return to action for the first time since defeating East Carolina, 27-10, on Sept. 23. In the game, West Virginia totaled 369 yards of total offense. Quarterback Patrick White showed he can beat teams with his arm as well as his legs. White completed 17-of-24 passes for a career-high 216 yards with two touchdowns. He also rushed for 39 yards and one score.

West Virginia enters the game featuring the fifth-best scoring offense in the NCAA (41.5 points per game) and the second-best rushing offense (299.75 yards per game). Individually for the Mountaineers, running back Steve Slaton (145.75) is ranked fourth nationally in rushing behind Northern Illinois's Garrett Wolfe (1st, 236.2 ypg), Rutgers's Ray Rice (second/161.2) and Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson (3rd, 160.8).

Mississippi State lost at LSU, 48-17, on Sept. 30 to fall to 1-4 (0-3 SEC). Quarterback Omarr Conner was 15-of-28 for 212 yards and one touchdown. Wideout Tony Burks caught four passes for 103 yards and a score.


BlueGoldNews Top Stories