Big East Preview - Week Two

All eight league teams are in action between Thursday and Saturday, but it's the South Florida visit to Auburn that constitutes the marquee game of Week Two in the Big East conference.

CINCINNATI vs. Oregon State
Thu 9/6
7:30 p.m.
Thursday's game will be the first meeting between Cincinnati and Oregon State … It marks the second straight week in which the Bearcats will face an opponent for the first time … It's the first game against a Pac-10 opponent since Oct. 9, 1976, when the Bearcats defeated Arizona State 14-0 … The game is the second straight home date to open the season for Cincinnati, which plays three of its following four games on the road.

The Bearcats rode a solid all-around performance to a 59-3 win against an outmatched Southeast Missouri State team last Thursday at Nippert Stadium … Head coach Brian Kelly elected to go with former Wake Forest QB Ben Mauk as his starting signal-caller, and Mauk responded by completing 18 of 27 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns … Sophomore QB Tony Pike came on in relief in the second half and was 6-for-9 passing for 57 yards and a score … Senior RB Butler Benton averaged 8.4 yards per carry and gained 101 rushing yards on 12 attempts against the Redhawks … Sophomore WR Marshawn Gilyard had 134 receiving yards on eight catches … The defensive catalyst was junior Mike Mickens, who had two interceptions, including a 45-yard return for a touchdown … Mickens led a pass defense that limited Southeast Missouri State to just 87 yards … Junior P Kevin Huber averaged 56.5 yards per punt … The Bearcats won despite the absence of 2006 All-BIG EAST First Team DT Terrill Byrd, who sat out for disciplinary reasons.

The Beavers were 24-7 winners against Utah in the season-opener in Corvallis, Ore. … Oregon State went 10-4 in 2006, capping the season with a win against Missouri in the Sun Bowl and a national ranking of No. 21 … Senior RB Yvenson Bernard rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns to pace the Beavers in the win against Utah … Sophomore QB Sean Canfield completed 8 of 19 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown … The Beavers registered five sacks of Utah's quarterback and allowed just one sack … The game against Cincinnati is the only date on the schedule against a BCS conference opponent, and it's the only nonleague road date for the Beavers … Oregon State's last game against a BIG EAST team was a 63-27 loss to Louisville Sept. 17, 2005.

Sat 9/8
7:00 p.m.
ERT Local
While Connecticut and Maine haven't played since the 1999 season, the schools have a lengthy history that encompasses the Huskies membership in the former Atlantic-10 Conference … Connecticut holds a 38-31-3 series lead, though Maine has won the last two meetings, including a 34-20 decision in Orono, Maine Sept. 25 , 1999.

Through the early-going, Connecticut and Duke were locked in a tight, if-notsloppy affair as the Blue Devils held a 14-11 lead at halftime … But the Huskies exploded to start the second half as QB Tyler Lorenzen hit WR D.J. Hernandez for a 57-yard touchdown to jump-start Connecticut to a 45-14 win … The Huskies outscored Duke by a 34-0 margin in the second half and finished the game with 37 unanswered points … Lorenzen was outstanding in his first major college start as he completed 22 of 30 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 56 yards on 19 carries … WR Terence Jeffers was the primary beneficiary with 92 yards on eight receptions … RB Donald Brown gained 99 rushing yards with a touchdown on 19 carries, averaging a solid 5.2 yards per attempt … Connecticut scored touchdowns on its last three drives … The Huskies also scored a safety in the first quarter when Julius Williams sacked the Duke quarterback in the end zone … Connecticut won its fifth straight season-opener … Lorenzen's 298 yards were the most by a Connecticut quarterback in his first career start in the Huskies' Bowl Subdivision years …Hernandez's touchdown reception was the converted quarterback's first scoring play as a wideout.

Before there was Appalachian State, there was Maine … The Black Bears gained national recognition in 2004 when Maine was a 9-7 winner against the SEC's Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss. ... Maine followed the following year with a close call against Nebraska in which the Black Bears trailed by eight in the fourth quarter before falling 25-7 … Maine is 1-0 in 2007 after a 21-14 win against Monmouth in Orono, Maine … The Black Bears were 6-5 overall and 5-3 in the Atlantic-10 … The Black Bears currently play in the Colonial Athletic Association, which took over the former A-10 football league this season … The highlight in the seasonopener was Mark Masterson's 50-yard punt return … Maine alumni include author Stephen King and ESPN announcer Gary Thorne … Seattle Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu played at Maine before transferring to Southern California.

LOUISVILLE vs. Middle Tennessee St
Thu 9/6
7:00 PM
Thursday's game is the second meeting between Louisville and Middle Tennessee State … The only previous meeting came last season, when the Cardinals rolled to a 44-17 win in Nashville, Tenn. … QB Hunter Cantwell started in place of Brian Brohm, who had been injured two weeks prior against Miami (Fla.) … Cantwell threw for a career-best 340 yards with three touchdowns … Louisville more than doubled the offensive output of Middle Tennessee State, finishing with a 526-250 margin.

Louisville made an easy winner of new head coach Steve Kragthorpe as the Cardinals rolled to a 73-10 win against Murray State last Thursday … The Cardinals scored on 10 of their 11 offensive possessions, added an 11th score on a punt return, and ran the game clock down to the final gun on its only non-scoring drive … The Cardinals reeled off 655 yards of offense … Leading the way is senior QB Brian Brohm, who completed 16 of 21 passes for 375 yards and four TDs on the year …Brohm, who enjoyed his BIG EAST-record 12th career game with at least 300 passing yards, also ran for a touchdown in the win … Brohm's pass efficiency rating of 289.0 stands as the best in the nation through one week … WR Harry Douglas caught five passes for 151 yards and two TDs against Murray State and ranks second in the BIG EAST in receiving yards … K Art Carmody was the Cardinals' leading scorer as he converted 10 PATs and added a field goal in the win.

Middle Tennessee State was limited to just 217 yards of offense and just 18 rushing yards in a season-opening 27-14 loss to Florida Atlantic in Fort Lauderdale … The Blue Raiders trailed by a 24-0 fourth-quarter margin, but closed to within 10 with 12:01 left on Michael Cannon's blocked punt return … QB Joe Craddock completed 20 of 32 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown, but threw two interceptions in the loss to Florida Atlantic … Thursday's game at Louisville is the first of two straight road games against top-10 teams for Middle Tennessee State … The Blue Raiders face No. 2 LSU Sept. 15 in Baton Rouge … The Blue Raiders won the 2006 Sun Belt championship and played in the Motor City Bowl, falling to Central Michigan.

PITTSBURGH vs. Grambling State
Sat 9/8
Pittsburgh and Grambling State — two of the more storied programs in college football — meet for just the first time Saturday … The game features the only Championship Subdivision program on Pittsburgh's 2007 schedule … Pitt has won its last two games against the formerly named Division I-AA by a combined score of 92-6 (41-0 against Youngstown State in 2005 and 51-6 against The Citadel last season).

Pittsburgh received solid play from starting QB Bill Stull in the win against Eastern Michigan, as the junior completed 14 of 20 passes for 177 yards and a TD in his first career start … Stull suffered an injury to the thumb on his right (throwing) hand, however, and underwent surgery Sunday … Head coach Dave Wannstedt listed Stull's status as week-to-week … Wannstedt will go with either redshirt freshman Kevan Smith or true freshman Pat Bostick behind center for the game against Grambling State … Either of those players would become the third different starting quarterback in Pittsburgh's last three games … Smith relieved the injured Stull last week and completed 2 of 4 passes for 18 yards, leading two drives that ended with field goals … Pittsburgh's defense limited Eastern Michigan to just 145 yards and 39 rushing yards … Pitt allowed the Eagles to gain just one first down in the second half … LB Scott McKillop had a team-high eight tackles to go with a sack and a pass breakup to lead the defensive effort … Senior OT Mike McGlynn saw a streak of 31 consecutive starts come to an end, though he did play one snap.

The Tigers made a winner of new head coach Rod Broadway in his debut on the Grambling State sideline as the Tigers defeated Alcorn State 31-10 … Broadway is just the ninth head coach in Grambling State's history and the third since the retirement of the legendary Eddie Robinson in 1997 … The Tigers went 3-8 last season … The game against Pittsburgh is one of two against Bowl Subdivision opponents for the Tigers, who also face Louisiana-Monroe in 2007 … Grambling State amassed 479 yards of offense against Alcorn State, including 303 passing yards from QB Brandon Landers … The Tigers boast a big-play receiver in senior Reginald Jackson, who caught six passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns in the season-opener … The Grambling defense forced Alcorn State into eight punts and two lost fumbles on its first 10 possessions.

RUTGERS vs. Navy
Fri 9/7
7:00 p.m.
Rutgers and Navy have met 21 times prior to Friday's game, and the series is tied at 10-10-1 … The last meeting was the Scarlet Knights' 34-0 win Oct. 14, 2006, when Rutgers QB Mike Teel completed 15 of 26 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns … The Scarlet Knights held the Midshipmen to just 161 yards of offense in last year's meeting at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium … Rutgers is 5-2 all-time against Navy in Piscataway.

Rutgers accelerated to an early lead against Buffalo last Thursday, cruising to a 38-3 win at Rutgers Stadium … The crowd of 43,091 on hand in Piscataway stood as the third-largest home audience in Rutgers Stadium history … It took Rutgers just three offensive plays to find the end zone against Buffalo …Junior RB Ray Rice rushed for 184 yards and three touchdowns against Buffalo, surpassing 3,000 rushing yards for his career in the process … Rice needs just 16 yards to surpass Terrell Willis as the school's all-time leading rusher … Rice had 78 rushing yards in the first quarter against Buffalo … Rice leads the BIG EAST with 184 rushing yards per game … Junior WR Tiquan Underwood smashed the Scarlet Knights' school record with his 10-catch, 248-yard performance against Buffalo … Underwood also flirted with the BIG EAST's all-time receiving record of 279 yards, set by Ernest Wilford of Virginia Tech in 2002 … Rutgers issued 201 media credentials for last week's game against Buffalo.

Navy opened its season with a 30-19 win against Temple at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia … The Midshipmen took an early 14-0 lead, scoring on their first two drives of the game … Navy head coach Paul Johnson has gone 2-5 against BIG EAST schools in his tenure with the Midshipmen … Navy is playing back-to-back road games to start the season for the first time since 1995 … Johnson registered his 100th career head coaching victory with the win against Temple …Johnson spent five years as head coach at Georgia Southern before taking over at Navy … The Midshipmen's trademark triple option offense gained 361 yards on the ground and had 78 yards passing in the win against Temple … RB Shun White rushed for a team-high 122 yards on eight carries, while QB Kaipo Kaheaku-Enhada rushed for 102 yards on 15 carries … RB Adam Ballard had 78 yards and two TDs.

Sat 9/8
9:00 p.m.
Saturday's game is the first meeting on the gridiron between USF and Auburn … Auburn is the only opponent on USF's schedule that the Bulls face for the first time … The game will be USF's first against an SEC program since a Sept. 18, 2004 matchup against South Carolina … USF is 0-4 all-time against the SEC … Auburn, which is ranked No. 18 in the AP preseason poll and No. 14 in the USA Today poll, is the first ranked opponent that a BIG EAST school faces this season.

USF broke open a tight game with back-to-back touchdowns spanning the third and fourth quarters to defeat Elon 28-13 at Raymond James Stadium … True freshman RB Mike Ford had three touchdowns as he caught a one-yard pass from QB Matt Grothe in the second quarter and scored on a runs of one and 21 yards in the second half … Grothe completed 23 of 39 passes for 238 yards … Ten different receivers caught at least one pass for USF … USF gained 373 yards of offense and converted 7 of 15 third down chances … Sophomore DE George Selvie registered four sacks, six tackles for loss and 10 total tackles … The game against Elon was played in front of 33,639 spectators, more than 7,000 more than were on hand for last year's home opener … The Bulls are honoring the memory of Keeley Dorsey and Javan Camon with decals on the back of their helmets this season. Dorsey, who would have been a sophomore running back this season, and Camon, who played for USF from 2001-04, died five weeks apart during the offseason.

Auburn began its 2007 season with a 23-13 win against Kansas State Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium … The Tigers trailed 13-6 midway through the third quarter, but reeled off three unanswered scores to close the game … Game McKenzie caught a three-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Cox with 2:01 left to put Auburn ahead 16-13, and Antonio Coleman returned a fumble 34 yards just 50 seconds later to ice it … Auburn is 12-1 in home night games since the start of the 2000 season … Brandon Cox enters the game with a 20-5 career record as the Tigers' starter … Auburn has won 46 consecutive games when it scores 30 or more points … Saturday's game will be just the second for Auburn against a BIG EAST school since Tommy Tuberville has been head coach — the Tigers defeated Syracuse 37-34 in triple-overtime in 2002 … Auburn is 9-3-3 all-time against the current BIG EAST membership.

Sat 9/8
8:00 p.m.
Big 10 Network
Saturday's game will be the third meeting between Syracuse and Iowa with the Hawkeyes holding a 2-1 series lead … Last year's meeting saw the Orange battle the then-No. 14 Hawkeyes to double-overtime before Iowa's Albert Young scored what stood up as the game-winning touchdown in the top half of the second OT … Syracuse had a first-and-goal situation from the Iowa 2 on its ensuing possession, but the Hawkeye defense held on four straight rushing attempts to deny the Orange …Syracuse's win in the series came in the 1975 season as the Oragne took a 10-7 victory in Iowa City.

Syracuse held a 3-0 lead after 15 minutes and trailed by a touchdown and a two-point conversion at halftime, but the Orange was undone by a 21-point third quarter from Washington in what turned out to be a 42-12 setback to the Huskies at the Carrier Dome … K Patrick Shadle kicked a pair of 42-yard field goals in the first half before QB Andrew Robinson connected with WR Mike Williams for a 10-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter for the Orange … Syracuse was unable to get its running game started as the Orange was limited to just eight net yards rushing … Robinson was solid in his first career start, however, as the sophomore completed 20 of 32 passes for 199 yards and a TD … Ten different receivers have caught at least one pass … The Orange had some success in special teams as freshman Max Suter averaged 29.7 yards on six kickoff returns, and junior Bruce Williams averaged 10.0 yards on two punt returns.

Iowa is 1-0 after the Hawkeyes kicked off the 2007 season with a 16-3 win against Northern Illinois at Soldier Field in Chicago … The Hawkeyes finished with a 250-21 advantage in rushing yards … Iowa plays at home for the first time Saturday, with the Hawkeyes having gone 82-29-1 in its previous home openers … Saturday's game is an advance sellout of Kinnick Stadium's 70,585 capacity … The game against Syracuse will be Iowa's eighth game against schools currently in the BIG EAST Conference … The Hawkeyes are 4-3 against the current BIG EAST membership … Iowa has won five straight regular season nonconference games, dating to the 2005 season … RB Albert Young rushed for 144 yards and a touchdown in the win against Northern Illinois, while RB Damian Sims came off the bench for 110 rushing yards on 16 carries … CB Charles Godfrey had two interceptions in the season-opener.

Sat 9/8
11:00 a.m.
Saturday's game will be the seventh meeting between West Virginia and Marshall …The Mountaineers have won the previous six games, including a 42-10 decision against the Thundering Herd last season in Morgantown … RB Steve Slaton rushed for 203 yards and two touchdowns in that game … Saturday's game will be just the second in the series to be played at Marshall and the first since 1915 … It's the first of two straight road games for West Virginia, which plays at Maryland next Thursday.

The Mountaineers chewed up Milan Puskar Stadium to the tune of 316 rushing yards as West Virginia rolled past preseason MAC favorite Western Michigan 62-24 last Saturday … Starting FS Ryan Mundy, a transfer from Michigan, was especially comfortable with Saturday's result, especially given his former school's setback to Appalachian State, whose nickname also happens to be the Mountaineers … "That's a shocking score right there," Mundy told the Sunday Gazette-Mail. "I'm just happy to be a Mountaineer." … QB Patrick White enters Saturday's game ranked third in the BIG EAST in pass efficiency rating (181.8) and fifth in rushing (97.0 yards per game) … RB Steve Slaton ranks second nationally in scoring (24.0 points per game) … LB Mortty Ivy had a team- and career-high 10 tackles in the win against Western Michigan.

Marshall dropped a 31-3 decision to Miami (Fla.) in its season opener at the Orange Bowl in Miami … The Thundering Herd allowed six sacks to the Miami defense … Marshall trailed 24-0 before getting on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter … The Herd is led by junior DE Albert McClellan, who was the 2006 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year … Sophomore TE Cody Slate and senior C Doug Legursky were both Conference USA First Team picks last year … Marshall was 5-7 overall and finished at 4-4 in Conference USA … Marshall defensive coordinator Steve Dunlap is a 1977 graduate of West Virginia and remains the holder of the Mountaineers' single-game (28) and single-season (190) tackles records … Dunlap was West Virginia's defensive coordinator for 10 years (1991-2000) and was an assistant in Morgantown for 17 seasons.

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