Big East Previews

For the first time this season, all eight Big East teams are facing another conference foe on the same weekend

CINCINNATI vs. USF
Sun 10/22
8:00 p.m.
ESPN
The USF Bulls are looking for their third consecutive win as they travel to Cincinnati on Sunday. The game will be the first Sunday night contest for both USF and Cincinnati. With a win, the Bulls would be bowl eligible for the second consecutive season.

Beginning with Sunday's game, the Bearcats will play three of their last five games at home, where they are 3-1 this season. UC and USF have met three times with the Bulls holding a 2-1 series advantage. Last season, USF defeated Cincinnati, 31-16, on Nov. 19 at Raymond James Stadium. The Bulls turned two UC turnovers in the third quarter into touchdowns. Cincinnati quarterback Dustin Grutza was only 11-of-30, but threw for 241 yards and two scores.

Last week, USF won at North Carolina, 37-20. The Bulls received a strong performance from running Ricky Ponton, who rushed for 101 yards on 17 carries and one score. In addition, freshman quarterback Matt Grothe - who is ranked No. 1 nationally among freshmen in total offense (12th overall) - completed 14-of-21 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown. Grothe is generating 264.0 yards per game, which also leads the BIG EAST.

Cincinnati comes into its game with USF after falling short at Louisville last week, 23-17. The Bearcats led early, 10-3, and trailed by only three at the half. Cincinnati had a chance to win with time winding down in the game, but a fourth-down pass from the Cardinal 21-yard line was broken up in the end zone with three seconds left. The loss was the Bearcats' third versus a top-15 opponent this season. The others came at Ohio State (Sept. 16), 37-7, and at Virginia Tech (Sept. 23), 29-13. Cincinnati led in both contests. UC running back Greg Moore also posted a strong performance as rushing for 96 yards on 19 carries against Louisville.


CONNECTICUT vs. West Virginia
Fri 10/20
8:00 p.m.
ESPN
West Virginia will be in search of a school record 14th consecutive win as it faces off against Connecticut. The meeting between the Mountaineers and the Huskies will mark the third time the two programs have met. In the two previous meetings, West Virginia defeated Connecticut on both occasions (31- 19 in 2004 and 45-13 in 2005). In last year's meeting, West Virginia held Connecticut to just 129 yards total offense. Last season's meeting also marked the first collegiate start for quarterback Patrick White. White scored two rushing touchdowns and threw for another as he accumulated 169 yards of total offense (63 rushing and 106 passing). Since getting the starting nod at quarterback, White has posted a perfect 11-0 mark.

Both Connecticut and West Virginia are coming off home wins last week. UConn defeated Army, 21-7. The Mountaineers beat Syracuse, 41-17.

Against Army, Connecticut improved its home mark to 2-2 on the season. The Huskies are 17-6 all-time at Rentschler Field. Running back Terry Caulley rushed for 135 yards on 13 carries and one touchdown. Caulley's touchdown came on a 98-yard run from scrimmage, which was the longest run in BIG EAST history. The run also marked the longest of his career and the second-longest in school history.

Against Syracuse, West Virginia matched its school record for consecutive wins (13) and totaled 457 yards on the ground; 247 of those yards came from White, who set the BIG EAST record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a game. White also rushed for four scores. In addition, running back Steve Slaton rushed for 163 yards and touchdown. West Virginia is first in the nation in rushing offense (328.3 yards per game) and fifth in total offense (466.0 yards per game). Slaton comes into the game ranked third in yards per game (155.17 yards per game). West Virginia is 24-4 in BIG EAST games since 2002. The Mountaineers are 38- 0 since 2000 when scoring 30 or more points.


LOUISVILLE At Syracuse
Sat 10/21
Noon
ERT
Louisville travels to Syracuse for the first time since 2003 in hopes of keeping its perfect record intact. The Cardinals and Orange have met on five different occasions with Syracuse holding a 3-2 series advantage. In last season's meeting, Louisville defeated Syracuse 41-17 at home, as the Cardinals rolled up 505 total yards of offense. Louisville running back George Stripling rushed for a career-high 137 yards and two touchdowns.

Syracuse enters this year's game in the hopes of rebounding from its 41-17 loss on the road to West Virginia. Despite the defeat, Syracuse trailed by only three points at the half (17-14) and had an early 7-0 lead. Offensively for the Orange, freshman wide receiver Mike Williams caught three passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. In home games this season, Syracuse has posted a record of 2-2.

Louisville comes into the game off a 23-17 victory over Cincinnati. In his first game back since sustaining a thumb injury against Miami (Fla.) on Sept. 16, quarterback Brian Brohm completed 20-of-37 passes for 324 yards and a touchdown. Louisville enters the SU game ranked among the NCAA leaders in total offense (2nd, 507.8), passing offense (7th, 293.0), rushing offense (8th, 214.8), scoring offense (5th, 40.5) and scoring defense (7th, 12.5). Syrause leads the BIG EAST with 26 sacks, but the Cardinals have given up only seven sacks this season. UofL kicker Art Carmody and SU kicker Patrick Shadle are both ranked in the top 15 nationally in field goals per game. Carmody is tied for fifth in the nation (1.83), while Shadle is tied for 12th (1.43).


PITTSBURGH vs. Rutgers
Sat 10/21
5:45 p.m.
ESPN2
Rutgers will look to improve to 7-0 for the first time since 1976 as it faces Pittsburgh. Both teams will put its respective undefeated conference records on the line as the Scarlet Knights play their third straight road game. Saturday's meeting will mark the 24th time that the two teams have met. In last year's meeting, Rutgers defeated Pittsburgh (37-29) for the first time in six years. In that game, Rutgers jumped out to early 27-0 lead, but in the second half, the Panthers closed the lead to 13 points as quarterback Tyler Palko threw a pair of touchdown passes. Palko finished the game 35-of-58 for 371 yards and four touchdown passes. Last season's game also saw Rutgers running back Ray Rice rush for 114 yards on 15 carries.

Rutgers and Pittsburgh enter this week's game after impressive wins over Navy (34-0) and UCF (52-7), respectively. Rutgers - ranked second in the NCAA in total defense (221.3 yards per game) and 10th in rushing defense (80.3) - held the Midshipmen, who came into the game No. 1 nationally in rushing offense (350.5), to just 113 yards on the ground. Offensively for Rutgers, Rice rushed for 93 yards on 23 carries, which marked the first time this season that he had not surpassed 100 yards in a game. The Scarlet Knight sophomore is just 101 yards shy of 1,000 yards for the season. Rice enters the contest ranked fourth nationally in rushing (148.8 yards per game). RU leads the nation in scoring defense (8.3).

Against UCF, Pittsburgh totaled 467 yards of offense; 136 of those yards came from running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, who also had a season-high three touchdowns. Palko, who leads the nation in passing efficiency (188.6), threw for 172 yards and two touchdowns. It has been 82 passes since his last interception. Pitt is 10-1 at home against Rutgers. The last Scarlet Knight win in Pittsburgh was a 25-21 victory in 1998 at Pitt Stadium. Both teams have won 10 of their last 13 games.


RUTGERS at Pittsburgh
Sat 10/21
5:45 p.m.
ESPN2
Rutgers will look to improve to 7-0 for the first time since 1976 as it faces Pittsburgh. Both teams will put its respective undefeated conference records on the line as the Scarlet Knights play their third straight road game. Saturday's meeting will mark the 24th time that the two teams have met. In last year's meeting, Rutgers defeated Pittsburgh (37-29) for the first time in six years. In that game, Rutgers jumped out to early 27-0 lead, but in the second half, the Panthers closed the lead to 13 points as quarterback Tyler Palko threw a pair of touchdown passes. Palko finished the game 35-of-58 for 371 yards and four touchdown passes. Last season's game also saw Rutgers running back Ray Rice rush for 114 yards on 15 carries.

Rutgers and Pittsburgh enter this week's game after impressive wins over Navy (34-0) and UCF (52-7), respectively. Rutgers - ranked second in the NCAA in total defense (221.3 yards per game) and 10th in rushing defense (80.3) - held the Midshipmen, who came into the game No. 1 nationally in rushing offense (350.5), to just 113 yards on the ground. Offensively for Rutgers, Rice rushed for 93 yards on 23 carries, which marked the first time this season that he had not surpassed 100 yards in a game. The Scarlet Knight sophomore is just 101 yards shy of 1,000 yards for the season. Rice enters the contest ranked fourth nationally in rushing (148.8 yards per game). RU leads the nation in scoring defense (8.3).

Against UCF, Pittsburgh totaled 467 yards of offense; 136 of those yards came from running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, who also had a season-high three touchdowns. Palko, who leads the nation in passing efficiency (188.6), threw for 172 yards and two touchdowns. It has been 82 passes since his last interception. Pitt is 10-1 at home against Rutgers. The last Scarlet Knight win in Pittsburgh was a 25-21 victory in 1998 at Pitt Stadium. Both teams have won 10 of their last 13 games.


SOUTH FLORIDA At Cincinnati
Sun 10/22
8:00 p.m.
ESPN
The USF Bulls are looking for their third consecutive win as they travel to Cincinnati on Sunday. The game will be the first Sunday night contest for both USF and Cincinnati. With a win, the Bulls would be bowl eligible for the second consecutive season.

Beginning with Sunday's game, the Bearcats will play three of their last five games at home, where they are 3-1 this season. UC and USF have met three times with the Bulls holding a 2-1 series advantage. Last season, USF defeated Cincinnati, 31-16, on Nov. 19 at Raymond James Stadium. The Bulls turned two UC turnovers in the third quarter into touchdowns. Cincinnati quarterback Dustin Grutza was only 11-of-30, but threw for 241 yards and two scores.

Last week, USF won at North Carolina, 37-20. The Bulls received a strong performance from running Ricky Ponton, who rushed for 101 yards on 17 carries and one score. In addition, freshman quarterback Matt Grothe - who is ranked No. 1 nationally among freshmen in total offense (12th overall) - completed 14-of-21 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown. Grothe is generating 264.0 yards per game, which also leads the BIG EAST.

Cincinnati comes into its game with USF after falling short at Louisville last week, 23-17. The Bearcats led early, 10-3, and trailed by only three at the half. Cincinnati had a chance to win with time winding down in the game, but a fourth-down pass from the Cardinal 21-yard line was broken up in the end zone with three seconds left. The loss was the Bearcats' third versus a top-15 opponent this season. The others came at Ohio State (Sept. 16), 37-7, and at Virginia Tech (Sept. 23), 29-13. Cincinnati led in both contests. UC running back Greg Moore also posted a strong performance as rushing for 96 yards on 19 carries against Louisville.


SYRACUSE vs. Louisville
Sat 10/21
Noon
ERT
Louisville travels to Syracuse for the first time since 2003 in hopes of keeping its perfect record intact. The Cardinals and Orange have met on five different occasions with Syracuse holding a 3-2 series advantage. In last season's meeting, Louisville defeated Syracuse 41-17 at home, as the Cardinals rolled up 505 total yards of offense. Louisville running back George Stripling rushed for a career-high 137 yards and two touchdowns.

Syracuse enters this year's game in the hopes of rebounding from its 41-17 loss on the road to West Virginia. Despite the defeat, Syracuse trailed by only three points at the half (17-14) and had an early 7-0 lead. Offensively for the Orange, freshman wide receiver Mike Williams caught three passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. In home games this season, Syracuse has posted a record of 2-2.

Louisville comes into the game off a 23-17 victory over Cincinnati. In his first game back since sustaining a thumb injury against Miami (Fla.) on Sept. 16, quarterback Brian Brohm completed 20-of-37 passes for 324 yards and a touchdown. Louisville enters the SU game ranked among the NCAA leaders in total offense (2nd, 507.8), passing offense (7th, 293.0), rushing offense (8th, 214.8), scoring offense (5th, 40.5) and scoring defense (7th, 12.5). Syrause leads the BIG EAST with 26 sacks, but the Cardinals have given up only seven sacks this season. UofL kicker Art Carmody and SU kicker Patrick Shadle are both ranked in the top 15 nationally in field goals per game. Carmody is tied for fifth in the nation (1.83), while Shadle is tied for 12th (1.43).


WEST VIRGINIA At Connecticut
Fri 10/20
8:00 p.m.
ESPN
West Virginia will be in search of a school record 14th consecutive win as it faces off against Connecticut. The meeting between the Mountaineers and the Huskies will mark the third time the two programs have met. In the two previous meetings, West Virginia defeated Connecticut on both occasions (31- 19 in 2004 and 45-13 in 2005). In last year's meeting, West Virginia held Connecticut to just 129 yards total offense. Last season's meeting also marked the first collegiate start for quarterback Patrick White. White scored two rushing touchdowns and threw for another as he accumulated 169 yards of total offense (63 rushing and 106 passing). Since getting the starting nod at quarterback, White has posted a perfect 11-0 mark.

Both Connecticut and West Virginia are coming off home wins last week. UConn defeated Army, 21-7. The Mountaineers beat Syracuse, 41-17.

Against Army, Connecticut improved its home mark to 2-2 on the season. The Huskies are 17-6 all-time at Rentschler Field. Running back Terry Caulley rushed for 135 yards on 13 carries and one touchdown. Caulley's touchdown came on a 98-yard run from scrimmage, which was the longest run in BIG EAST history. The run also marked the longest of his career and the second-longest in school history.

Against Syracuse, West Virginia matched its school record for consecutive wins (13) and totaled 457 yards on the ground; 247 of those yards came from White, who set the BIG EAST record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a game. White also rushed for four scores. In addition, running back Steve Slaton rushed for 163 yards and touchdown. West Virginia is first in the nation in rushing offense (328.3 yards per game) and fifth in total offense (466.0 yards per game). Slaton comes into the game ranked third in yards per game (155.17 yards per game). West Virginia is 24-4 in BIG EAST games since 2002. The Mountaineers are 38- 0 since 2000 when scoring 30 or more points.


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