Big East Football Preview

Four teams battle for position at the top of the Big East in this week's league action.

CINCINNATI Open Date
Next Game
Sat 11/3
at South Florida

CONNECTICUT vs. South Florida
Sat 10/27
3:30 PM
ABC
Saturday's game is just the fourth meeting between USF and Connecticut, with the Bulls holding a 3-1 series lead … USF was a 38-16 winner in last year's matchup in Tampa, while Connecticut defended its home field in 2005 with a 15-10 decision at Rentschler Field.

USF saw its eight-game winning streak end with last Thursday's setback at Rutgers … USF became the third No. 2-ranked team to fall in as many weeks … USF is ranked No. 10 in this week's BCS ratings and is No. 5 in the aggregate computer ratings used to formulate the BCS … The Bulls will play back-to-back road games for the first time this season when they visit Connecticut … Rutgers became the first team to score more than 23 points against USF this season when the Scarlet Knights took a 30-27 victory … Sophomore QB Matt Grothe has completed 118 of 205 passes for 1,368 yards and eight touchdowns, while he has rushed for 404 yards and five scores … Grothe ranks sixth in the BIG EAST in passing (195.4 yards per game) and seventh in rushing (57.7 ypg) and is one of just two quarterbacks ranked in the conference top 10 in both categories … He is ranked fourth in the BIG EAST in total offense (253.1 ypg … Sophomore DE George Selvie continues to lead the nation in sacks (1.6 per game) and tackles for loss (3.1 per game).

Projected to finish seventh in the BIG EAST preseason media poll, Connecticut sits alone in first place as the Huskies welcome USF to Rentschler Field … Connecticut is ranked in the Bowl Championship Series standings for the first time in program history this week as the Huskies claimed the No. 23 spot … Connecticut's only loss this season was a 17-16 setback at Virginia Oct. 13 … The Huskies are 4-0 at home in 2007 … Connecticut has allowed just 89 points in seven games, an average of 12.7 points per game that ranks third nationally … Only Ohio State (7.9 ppg) and Kansas (10.1 ppg) have allowed fewer points per game than the Huskies … Connecticut stands second nationally in turnover margin (+1.57 per game), tied with Boston College and behind only Florida Atlantic (+2.57 per game) … Junior QB Tyler Lorenzen has completed 113 of 187 passes for 1,389 yards … Lorenzen ranks fifth in the BIG EAST in passing (198.4 yards per game) … Freshman LB Lawrence Wilson is ranked third in the conference with an average of 10.4 tackles per game.


LOUISVILLE vs. Pittsburgh
Sat 10/27
Noon
ERT
Saturday's game will be the 11th meeting between Pittsburgh and Louisville in a series that dates to 1976 … Louisville holds a 6-4 series lead with the Cardinals winning each of the last six matchups … Pittsburgh had won the first four meetings, but hasn't defeated the Cardinals since 1983 … Pitt's last win saw QB John Congemi throw three touchdown passes in a 55-10 win … Congemi will be the color analyst for ESPN Regional's telecast of Saturday's game.

The Panthers enter Saturday's game looking for back-to-back wins for the first time since Weeks 1 and 2 of the season … Pittsburgh has gone 3-2 at home this season, but is searching for its first road win … The Panthers have dropped road games to Michigan State (17-13) and Virginia (44-14) … The offensive catalyst for Pittsburgh is true freshman RB LeSean McCoy, who ranks second in the BIG EAST and is second nationally among freshmen in rushing (115.0 yards per game) … Senior RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, meanwhile, delivered a 100-yard effort and scored the winning touchdown last week against Cincinnati … True freshman QB Pat Bostick has completed 83 of 130 passes for 760 yards and four touchdowns … Junior LB Scott McKillop has 87 tackles this season, good for first in the BIG EAST and second nationally in tackles per game (12.4) … Junior K Conor Lee has converted 66 consecutive PATs and is ranked ninth in the BIG EAST in scoring.

The Cardinals, who entered the 2007 season with the nation's second-longest home winning streak, look to snap a two-game slide at PapaJohn's Cardinal Stadium with Saturday's game against Pittsburgh … Louisville opened the season with home wins against Murray State and Middle Tennessee State, but has since dropped home games to Syracuse and Utah … Louisville ranks fifth nationally in total offense (529.8 yards per game) and 11th in scoring offense (38.6 points per game) … Senior QB Brian Brohm remains one of the nation's best as he enters Saturday's game having passed for 2,993 yards and 24 touchdowns this season … Only Texas Tech signal-caller Graham Harrell (3,548) has thrown for more yards this season … Senior WR Harry Douglas is the BIG EAST's leading receiver (136.0 yards per game) … Douglas has caught five TD passes, while senior TE Gary Barnidge has caught six.


PITTSBURGH at Louisville
Sat Oct. 27
Noon
ERT
Saturday's game will be the 11th meeting between Pittsburgh and Louisville in a series that dates to 1976 … Louisville holds a 6-4 series lead with the Cardinals winning each of the last six matchups … Pittsburgh had won the first four meetings, but hasn't defeated the Cardinals since 1983 … Pitt's last win saw QB John Congemi throw three touchdown passes in a 55-10 win … Congemi will be the color analyst for ESPN Regional's telecast of Saturday's game.

The Panthers enter Saturday's game looking for back-to-back wins for the first time since Weeks 1 and 2 of the season … Pittsburgh has gone 3-2 at home this season, but is searching for its first road win … The Panthers have dropped road games to Michigan State (17-13) and Virginia (44-14) … The offensive catalyst for Pittsburgh is true freshman RB LeSean McCoy, who ranks second in the BIG EAST and is second nationally among freshmen in rushing (115.0 yards per game) … Senior RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, meanwhile, delivered a 100-yard effort and scored the winning touchdown last week against Cincinnati … True freshman QB Pat Bostick has completed 83 of 130 passes for 760 yards and four touchdowns … Junior LB Scott McKillop has 87 tackles this season, good for first in the BIG EAST and second nationally in tackles per game (12.4) … Junior K Conor Lee has converted 66 consecutive PATs and is ranked ninth in the BIG EAST in scoring.

The Cardinals, who entered the 2007 season with the nation's second-longest home winning streak, look to snap a two-game slide at PapaJohn's Cardinal Stadium with Saturday's game against Pittsburgh … Louisville opened the season with home wins against Murray State and Middle Tennessee State, but has since dropped home games to Syracuse and Utah … Louisville ranks fifth nationally in total offense (529.8 yards per game) and 11th in scoring offense (38.6 points per game) … Senior QB Brian Brohm remains one of the nation's best as he enters Saturday's game having passed for 2,993 yards and 24 touchdowns this season … Only Texas Tech signal-caller Graham Harrell (3,548) has thrown for more yards this season … Senior WR Harry Douglas is the BIG EAST's leading receiver (136.0 yards per game) … Douglas has caught five TD passes, while senior TE Gary Barnidge has caught six.


RUTGERS vs. West Virginia
Sat 10/27
Noon
ABC
Saturday's game is the 35th meeting between West Virginia and Rutgers since a scoreless draw in 1916 kicked off the series … West Virginia holds a 28-4-2 series lead and has won the last 12 meetings … The last Rutgers win against the Mountaineers was a 17-12 home decision in 1994 … Last year's game was a triple-overtime classic that wasn't decided until the Mountaineers denied the Scarlet Knights on a two-point try in a 41-39 West Virginia win.

The Mountaineers, who have played at home just three times in 2007, return to the road once again to face 25th-ranked Rutgers … The Mountaineers are 3-1 on the road this season … West Virginia is ranked No. 7 in the latest BCS standings, gaining two spots from the first ranking of the 2007 season, and are No. 6 in all three major polls … Junior RB Steve Slaton enters Saturday's game ranked third in the BIG EAST in rushing (107.4 yards per game) … Slaton has 10 rushing touchdowns this season and a school-record 43 in his career …Junior QB Patrick White figured in three touchdowns in last week's 38-13 win against Mississippi State and has had a hand in 17 TDs this year (eight rushing, nine passing) … White is ranked fifth in the BIG EAST in rushing .

Rutgers, which defeated then-No. 2 USF last Thursday, faces a top-10 opponent for the second straight week with Saturday's visit from No. 6 West Virginia … It's the first time in program history that Rutgers faces top-10 opponents in back-toback weeks … Rutgers is paced by junior RB Ray Rice, who leads the BIG EAST in rushing (142.7 yards per game), rushing touchdowns (13), all-purpose yards (167.7 ypg) and scoring (12.0 points per game) … Rice has rushed for 3,913 career yards, leaving him second to West Virginia's Avon Cobourne (5,039 from 1999-2002) on the BIG EAST career chart … Junior WR Tiquan Underwood is ranked sixth nationally in receving yards (112.7 ypg) … Senior K Jeremy Ito kicked three field goals in last week's win against USF, giving him a BIG EAST-record 69 in his career … Ito broke the previous record of 68, held since 1999 by former Virginia Tech kicker Shayne Graham.


SOUTH FLORIDA at Connecticut
Sat 10/27
3:30 PM
ABC
Saturday's game is just the fourth meeting between USF and Connecticut, with the Bulls holding a 3-1 series lead … USF was a 38-16 winner in last year's matchup in Tampa, while Connecticut defended its home field in 2005 with a 15-10 decision at Rentschler Field.

USF saw its eight-game winning streak end with last Thursday's setback at Rutgers … USF became the third No. 2-ranked team to fall in as many weeks … USF is ranked No. 10 in this week's BCS ratings and is No. 5 in the aggregate computer ratings used to formulate the BCS … The Bulls will play back-to-back road games for the first time this season when they visit Connecticut … Rutgers became the first team to score more than 23 points against USF this season when the Scarlet Knights took a 30-27 victory … Sophomore QB Matt Grothe has completed 118 of 205 passes for 1,368 yards and eight touchdowns, while he has rushed for 404 yards and five scores … Grothe ranks sixth in the BIG EAST in passing (195.4 yards per game) and seventh in rushing (57.7 ypg) and is one of just two quarterbacks ranked in the conference top 10 in both categories … He is ranked fourth in the BIG EAST in total offense (253.1 ypg … Sophomore DE George Selvie continues to lead the nation in sacks (1.6 per game) and tackles for loss (3.1 per game).

Projected to finish seventh in the BIG EAST preseason media poll, Connecticut sits alone in first place as the Huskies welcome USF to Rentschler Field … Connecticut is ranked in the Bowl Championship Series standings for the first time in program history this week as the Huskies claimed the No. 23 spot … Connecticut's only loss this season was a 17-16 setback at Virginia Oct. 13 … The Huskies are 4-0 at home in 2007 … Connecticut has allowed just 89 points in seven games, an average of 12.7 points per game that ranks third nationally … Only Ohio State (7.9 ppg) and Kansas (10.1 ppg) have allowed fewer points per game than the Huskies … Connecticut stands second nationally in turnover margin (+1.57 per game), tied with Boston College and behind only Florida Atlantic (+2.57 per game) … Junior QB Tyler Lorenzen has completed 113 of 187 passes for 1,389 yards … Lorenzen ranks fifth in the BIG EAST in passing (198.4 yards per game) … Freshman LB Lawrence Wilson is ranked third in the conference with an average of 10.4 tackles per game.


SYRACUSE Open Date
Next Game
Sat 11/3
at Pittsburgh

WEST VIRGINIA At Rutgers
Sat 10/27
Noon
ABC
Saturday's game is the 35th meeting between West Virginia and Rutgers since a scoreless draw in 1916 kicked off the series … West Virginia holds a 28-4-2 series lead and has won the last 12 meetings … The last Rutgers win against the Mountaineers was a 17-12 home decision in 1994 … Last year's game was a triple-overtime classic that wasn't decided until the Mountaineers denied the Scarlet Knights on a two-point try in a 41-39 West Virginia win.

The Mountaineers, who have played at home just three times in 2007, return to the road once again to face 25th-ranked Rutgers … The Mountaineers are 3-1 on the road this season … West Virginia is ranked No. 7 in the latest BCS standings, gaining two spots from the first ranking of the 2007 season, and are No. 6 in all three major polls … Junior RB Steve Slaton enters Saturday's game ranked third in the BIG EAST in rushing (107.4 yards per game) … Slaton has 10 rushing touchdowns this season and a school-record 43 in his career …Junior QB Patrick White figured in three touchdowns in last week's 38-13 win against Mississippi State and has had a hand in 17 TDs this year (eight rushing, nine passing) … White is ranked fifth in the BIG EAST in rushing .

Rutgers, which defeated then-No. 2 USF last Thursday, faces a top-10 opponent for the second straight week with Saturday's visit from No. 6 West Virginia … It's the first time in program history that Rutgers faces top-10 opponents in back-toback weeks … Rutgers is paced by junior RB Ray Rice, who leads the BIG EAST in rushing (142.7 yards per game), rushing touchdowns (13), all-purpose yards (167.7 ypg) and scoring (12.0 points per game) … Rice has rushed for 3,913 career yards, leaving him second to West Virginia's Avon Cobourne (5,039 from 1999-2002) on the BIG EAST career chart … Junior WR Tiquan Underwood is ranked sixth nationally in receving yards (112.7 ypg) … Senior K Jeremy Ito kicked three field goals in last week's win against USF, giving him a BIG EAST-record 69 in his career … Ito broke the previous record of 68, held since 1999 by former Virginia Tech kicker Shayne Graham.


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