Big East Preview

Six conference teams are in action this weekend, while West Virginia and Louisville get a few extra days' rest before squaring off next Thursday.

CINCINNATI at South Florida
Sat 11/3
3:30 PM
ABC
Saturday's game will be the fifth meeting between Cincinnati and USF in a series that dates to the 2003 season, when both schools were members of Conference USA … The series is tied at 2-2 with the home team prevailing in each of the first four meetings.

Cincinnati returns from its bye week to play the first of four straight BIG EAST games to close the 2007 season with Saturday's trip to Tampa … The Bearcats are 6-4 after a bye week since 2000 … Cincinnati has never won at Raymond James Stadium (0-2) … The Bearcats are receiving votes in this week's national coaches poll, marking the seventh straight week that Cincinnati has been ranked or received votes … Cincinnati's turnover ratio of 1.13 per game is good for ninth nationally … The Bearcat defense has 17 interceptions this season, with juniors DeAngelo Smith and Mike Mickens entering Saturday's game with four picks each … QB Ben Mauk is ranked third in the BIG EAST in passing yards (227.9 per game) and has completed 63.4 percent of his passes (123 of 194) … Junior WR Darius Goodman is the league's fourth-leading receiver (4.6 receptions per game) … Junior P Kevin Huber is ranked second nationally in punting (46.7 yards per punt).

USF looks to rid itself of a two-game slide when the Bulls take on Cincinnati as part of the school's homecoming festivities … USF is 4-0 at home this season and has won seven straight at Raymond James Stadium … The last home loss was a Sept. 29, 2006 setback to Rutgers (22-20) … USF is ranked No. 18 in this week's BCS standings … Sophomore QB Matt Grothe is ranked second in the BIG EAST in total offense (263.4 yards per game) … Grothe is the conference's seventh-leading rusher (68.8 ypg) and ranks sixth in the circuit in passing (194.6 ypg) … The defense is paced by sophomore DE George Selvie, who has more than twice as many sacks (13.5) as anyone else in the BIG EAST … Selvie is the national leader in both sacks and tackles for loss (3.0 per game) … Senior LB Ben Moffitt is one of 10 finalists for the Butkus Award, which goes to the nation's top linebacker. … Moffitt ranks fifth in the BIG EAST in tackles (8.5 per game).


CONNECTICUT vs. Rutgers
Sat 11/3
7:15 PM
ESPNU
The Rutgers-Connecticut series dates to 1940 and encompasses 26 previous meetings … The Scarlet Knights hold an 18-8 lead in the rivalry and have won two straight against the Huskies … Saturday's game will be just the third in the series at Rentschler Field with each school claiming one win at that site.

Rutgers, which had not faced nationally ranked opponents in consecutive weeks in its first 137 seasons of football, plays its third straight game against a top-25 opponent with Saturday's game against Connecticut … The game against the Huskies is Scarlet Knights' fourth against a ranked opponent this year, with Rutgers holding a 1-2 record in its first three … Rutgers defeated then-No. 2 USF 30-27 Oct. 18 and has fallen to then-No. 20 Cincinnati (28-23) and then- No. 6 West Virginia (31-3) … Junior RB Ray Rice leads the BIG EAST and ranks fourth nationally in rushing with an average of 142.6 yards per game … Rice has gained 1,141 yards with a league-best 13 touchdowns on the ground this year … Junior WR Tiquan Underwood also ranks among the national top 10 as he enters Saturday's game seventh (second among BIG EAST players) in receiving yards (106.0 yards per game) … Sophomore WR Kenny Britt has registered 11 plays of at least 25 yards.

Just one week after earning its first listing in the BCS top 25, Connecticut continues to make history as the Huskies are ranked in the AP, USA Today and Harris Interactive polls for the first time … The accolades come on the heels of a 22-15 win against then-No. 11 USF that lifted Connecticut to 7-1 overall and 3-0 in the BIG EAST … Connecticut would assure itself of at least a share of the BIG EAST championship if the Huskies defeat West Virginia (Nov. 24) and at least one of their three other remaining opponents … Connecticut's entry to the top 25 has come five years and 10 weeks after it joined the Bowl Subdivision — only Marshall (two years, four weeks) made a faster rise to the national rankings … Connecticut ranks third nationally in scoring defense (13.0 points per game) and hasn't allowed an opponent to score more than 17 points … Sophomore RB Andre Dixon ranks fourth in the BIG EAST in rushing (101.7 yards per game).


LOUISVILLE Open Date


Next game Thu. Nov. 8 at West Virginia

PITTSBURGH vs. Syracuse
Sat 11/3
Noon
ERT
Saturday's game will be the 63rd meeting between Syracuse and Pittsburgh in a series that dates to 1916 … Only the Pittsburgh-West Virginia rivalry, which began in 1895, and the Rutgers-Syracuse rivalry, which started in 1914, have longer histories among current active BIG EAST series … Pittsburgh has won four of the last five games against Syracuse, including last year's 21-11 Panther win at the Carrier Dome, while Syracuse holds a 12-4 edge in BIG EAST play.

Syracuse enters Saturday's game at Pittsburgh at 2-6 overall and 1-2 in the BIG EAST as the Orange come off a bye week … Syracuse was a 20-12 winner against Buffalo in its most recent game Oct. 20 … The Orange won their only BIG EAST road game to date, taking a 38-35 decision at Louisville Sept. 22 … Sophomore QB Andrew Robinson enters Saturday's game as the BIG EAST's fourth-leading passer, averaging 208.5 yards per game … Robinson has thrown 10 touchdown passes and has completed 113 of 215 attempts … The Orange boast two of the BIG EAST's top eight receivers in junior WR Taj Smith and sophomore WR Mike Williams … Smith has 27 catches for 498 yards, while Williams has a team-high six touchdown receptions and 473 yards on 29 catches … Williams has caught a TD pass in five consecutive games, tying a school record held by Marvin Harrison, Tommy Kane and Rob Moore.

The Panthers look to rebound from a heartbreaking 24-17 loss at Louisville that dropped Pittsburgh's record to 3-5 overall and 1-2 in the BIG EAST … Pittsburgh had advanced to the Louisville 1-yard line in the final two minutes of a sevenpoint game, but saw an untimely fumble dash the Panthers' comeback hopes … True freshman RB LeSean McCoy ranks second in the BIG EAST in rushing (115.6 yards per game) and is ranked first among the nation's freshmen … McCoy needs 75 yards to become the Panthers' first 1,000-yard rusher since Kevan Barlow ran for 1,167 yards in 2000 … McCoy has 10 rushing touchdowns, trailing only Tony Dorsett (12) on the Panthers' freshman single-season chart … Junior LB Scott McKillop leads the BIG EAST in tackles (12.0 per game) … True freshman QB Pat Bostick has completed 62 percent of his passes (93 of 150) with four TDs in his rookie year.


RUTGERS at Connecticut
Sat 11/3
7:15 PM
ESPNU
The Rutgers-Connecticut series dates to 1940 and encompasses 26 previous meetings … The Scarlet Knights hold an 18-8 lead in the rivalry and have won two straight against the Huskies … Saturday's game will be just the third in the series at Rentschler Field with each school claiming one win at that site.

Rutgers, which had not faced nationally ranked opponents in consecutive weeks in its first 137 seasons of football, plays its third straight game against a top-25 opponent with Saturday's game against Connecticut … The game against the Huskies is Scarlet Knights' fourth against a ranked opponent this year, with Rutgers holding a 1-2 record in its first three … Rutgers defeated then-No. 2 USF 30-27 Oct. 18 and has fallen to then-No. 20 Cincinnati (28-23) and then- No. 6 West Virginia (31-3) … Junior RB Ray Rice leads the BIG EAST and ranks fourth nationally in rushing with an average of 142.6 yards per game … Rice has gained 1,141 yards with a league-best 13 touchdowns on the ground this year … Junior WR Tiquan Underwood also ranks among the national top 10 as he enters Saturday's game seventh (second among BIG EAST players) in receiving yards (106.0 yards per game) … Sophomore WR Kenny Britt has registered 11 plays of at least 25 yards.

Just one week after earning its first listing in the BCS top 25, Connecticut continues to make history as the Huskies are ranked in the AP, USA Today and Harris Interactive polls for the first time … The accolades come on the heels of a 22-15 win against then-No. 11 USF that lifted Connecticut to 7-1 overall and 3-0 in the BIG EAST … Connecticut would assure itself of at least a share of the BIG EAST championship if the Huskies defeat West Virginia (Nov. 24) and at least one of their three other remaining opponents … Connecticut's entry to the top 25 has come five years and 10 weeks after it joined the Bowl Subdivision — only Marshall (two years, four weeks) made a faster rise to the national rankings … Connecticut ranks third nationally in scoring defense (13.0 points per game) and hasn't allowed an opponent to score more than 17 points … Sophomore RB Andre Dixon ranks fourth in the BIG EAST in rushing (101.7 yards per game).


SOUTH FLORIDA vs. Cincinnati
Sat 11/3
3:30 PM
ABC
Saturday's game will be the fifth meeting between Cincinnati and USF in a series that dates to the 2003 season, when both schools were members of Conference USA … The series is tied at 2-2 with the home team prevailing in each of the first four meetings.

Cincinnati returns from its bye week to play the first of four straight BIG EAST games to close the 2007 season with Saturday's trip to Tampa … The Bearcats are 6-4 after a bye week since 2000 … Cincinnati has never won at Raymond James Stadium (0-2) … The Bearcats are receiving votes in this week's national coaches poll, marking the seventh straight week that Cincinnati has been ranked or received votes … Cincinnati's turnover ratio of 1.13 per game is good for ninth nationally … The Bearcat defense has 17 interceptions this season, with juniors DeAngelo Smith and Mike Mickens entering Saturday's game with four picks each … QB Ben Mauk is ranked third in the BIG EAST in passing yards (227.9 per game) and has completed 63.4 percent of his passes (123 of 194) … Junior WR Darius Goodman is the league's fourth-leading receiver (4.6 receptions per game) … Junior P Kevin Huber is ranked second nationally in punting (46.7 yards per punt).

USF looks to rid itself of a two-game slide when the Bulls take on Cincinnati as part of the school's homecoming festivities … USF is 4-0 at home this season and has won seven straight at Raymond James Stadium … The last home loss was a Sept. 29, 2006 setback to Rutgers (22-20) … USF is ranked No. 18 in this week's BCS standings … Sophomore QB Matt Grothe is ranked second in the BIG EAST in total offense (263.4 yards per game) … Grothe is the conference's seventh-leading rusher (68.8 ypg) and ranks sixth in the circuit in passing (194.6 ypg) … The defense is paced by sophomore DE George Selvie, who has more than twice as many sacks (13.5) as anyone else in the BIG EAST … Selvie is the national leader in both sacks and tackles for loss (3.0 per game) … Senior LB Ben Moffitt is one of 10 finalists for the Butkus Award, which goes to the nation's top linebacker. … Moffitt ranks fifth in the BIG EAST in tackles (8.5 per game).


SYRACUSE at Pittsburgh
Sat 11/3
Noon
ERT
Saturday's game will be the 63rd meeting between Syracuse and Pittsburgh in a series that dates to 1916 … Only the Pittsburgh-West Virginia rivalry, which began in 1895, and the Rutgers-Syracuse rivalry, which started in 1914, have longer histories among current active BIG EAST series … Pittsburgh has won four of the last five games against Syracuse, including last year's 21-11 Panther win at the Carrier Dome, while Syracuse holds a 12-4 edge in BIG EAST play.

Syracuse enters Saturday's game at Pittsburgh at 2-6 overall and 1-2 in the BIG EAST as the Orange come off a bye week … Syracuse was a 20-12 winner against Buffalo in its most recent game Oct. 20 … The Orange won their only BIG EAST road game to date, taking a 38-35 decision at Louisville Sept. 22 … Sophomore QB Andrew Robinson enters Saturday's game as the BIG EAST's fourth-leading passer, averaging 208.5 yards per game … Robinson has thrown 10 touchdown passes and has completed 113 of 215 attempts … The Orange boast two of the BIG EAST's top eight receivers in junior WR Taj Smith and sophomore WR Mike Williams … Smith has 27 catches for 498 yards, while Williams has a team-high six touchdown receptions and 473 yards on 29 catches … Williams has caught a TD pass in five consecutive games, tying a school record held by Marvin Harrison, Tommy Kane and Rob Moore.

The Panthers look to rebound from a heartbreaking 24-17 loss at Louisville that dropped Pittsburgh's record to 3-5 overall and 1-2 in the BIG EAST … Pittsburgh had advanced to the Louisville 1-yard line in the final two minutes of a sevenpoint game, but saw an untimely fumble dash the Panthers' comeback hopes … True freshman RB LeSean McCoy ranks second in the BIG EAST in rushing (115.6 yards per game) and is ranked first among the nation's freshmen … McCoy needs 75 yards to become the Panthers' first 1,000-yard rusher since Kevan Barlow ran for 1,167 yards in 2000 … McCoy has 10 rushing touchdowns, trailing only Tony Dorsett (12) on the Panthers' freshman single-season chart … Junior LB Scott McKillop leads the BIG EAST in tackles (12.0 per game) … True freshman QB Pat Bostick has completed 62 percent of his passes (93 of 150) with four TDs in his rookie year.


WEST VIRGINIA Open Date


Next game Thu. Nov. 8 vs. Louisville

BlueGoldNews Top Stories