Big East Preview: Week Three

Just four of the league's eight teams are in action this week, but the foes in each game will provide strong measuring sticks for Rutgers, Connecticut, South Florida and Syracuse.


CINCINNATI Open Date
Next Game
Miami (OH)
9/20

CONNECTICUT vs. Virginia
Sat 9/13
7:30 PM
ESPNU
Connecticut and Virginia met for the first time last season, when the Cavaliers took a 17-16 decision in Charlottesville, Va., Oct. 13, 2007 … The teams exchanged fourth-quarter leads before Virginia K Chris Gould's 19-yard field goal with 3:20 left gave the hosts the winning margin … The Virginia defense held Connecticut to just 1 for 13 on third down, yet the Huskies had two possessions with a chance to take the lead down the stretch.

Connecticut is one of four Bowl Subdivision teams that has not allowed a touchdown in 2008 (Florida State, Iowa, Kentucky) … The Huskies have allowed just 12 points through two games, good for seventh nationally in scoring defense (6.0 points per game) … Connecticut's defense also ranks second nationally in sacks, averaging 4.5 per game … The offense has been paced by RB Donald Brown, who ranks second nationally in rushing (180.0 yards per game) … Brown has 360 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 59 carries and is averaging 6.1 yards per carry … QB Tyler Lorenzen has completed 24 of 47 passes for 270 yards and four interceptions … The Huskies are looking for their first passing touchdown of the season … DE Cody Brown and LB Lindsey Witten have two sacks each, while LB Scott Lutrus has a team-high 16 tackles … Connecticut has won eight straight home games, with the last loss at Rentschler Field a 26-23 setback to Cincinnati Nov. 25, 2006 … Last week, the Huskies announced a two-game series against Tennessee for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

Virginia evened its record at 1-1 with a 16-0 win against Richmond Saturday in Charlottesville … The Cavaliers began the season with a 52-7 setback to Southern Cal … Virginia's first two opponents were ranked No. 3 nationally prior to the game, though Richmond's ranking was in the Championship Subdivision … The Cavaliers play their first road game with the trip to Connecticut … … Virginia was 4-2 on the road last season … Virginia held a 7-0 lead in the fourth quarter against Richmond before two key interceptions allowed the Cavaliers to add a pair of insurance field goals … QB Peter Lalich has taken all of the snaps behind center and has completed 39 of 74 passes for 359 yards and three interceptions … The Cavaliers have averaged just 2.1 yards per carry thus far … RB Mikell Simpson has scored both of Virginia's offensvie touchdowns … LB Antonio Appleby has 14 tackles through two games … The Cavaliers have three interceptions on defense, including a 60-yard return for a touchdown by CB Vic Hall.


LOUISVILLE Open Date
Next Game
9/17
vs. Kansas State

PITTSBURGH Open Date
Next Game
9/20
vs. Iowa

RUTGERS vs. North Carolina
Thu 9/11
7:30 PM
ESPN
Rutgers and North Carolina have met three times prior to Thursday's game and the Scarlet Knights are 3-0 against the Tar Heels … The most recent matchup saw Rutgers' RB Ray Rice run for 201 yards and three touchdowns in the Scarlet Knights' 21-16 win in Chapel Hill Sept. 2, 2006 … Prior to that game, the schools met in 1894 and 1919.

Rutgers is 0-1 for the first time since the 2005 season after the Scarlet Knights fell 24-7 to Fresno State at Rutgers Stadium Sept. 1 … The game will mark the first meeting between Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano and North Carolina head coach Butch Davis … Schiano served as Davis' defensive coordinator at Miami in 1999 and 2000 … QB Mike Teel enters the game against North Carolina as the BIG EAST's leading passer this season (263.0 ypg) … RB Kordell Young ran for 94 yards and a touchdown in his first career start … WR Kenny Britt had six catches for 89 yards and WR Tiquan Underwood had six receptions for 73 yards against Fresno State … Seven different receivers have caught at least one pass … K San San Te is the lone Rutgers player from the state of North Carolina … With Thursday's game taking place Sept. 11, Rutgers will distribute small American flags to spectators and members from the New Jersey National Guard will present the colors and sing the national anthem prior to the game.

The Tar Heels come into Thursday's game at 1-0 following a 35-27 win against McNeese State Aug. 30 in Chapel Hill … The game was suspended for nearly two hours due to weather … North Carolina had an early 14-0 lead, but had to come from behind in the third quarter … WR Brandon Tate scored on an 82-yard punt return and put the Tar Heels ahead for good with a 57-yard touchdown reception … Tate finished with 397 all-purpose yards, setting a North Carolina record and ranking second in ACC history … Tate rushed for 106 yards on just three carries, had 93 receiving yards on four receptions, had three punt returns for 142 yards and had one kickoff return for 56 yards … QB T.J. Yates completed 15 of 26 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns against one interception … WR Hakeem Nicks had a team-high 110 yards on six catches … North Carolina is making its first Thursday night appearance since a 23-0 loss to Virginia in the 2006 season.


SOUTH FLORIDA vs. Kansas
Fri 9/12
8:00 PM
ESPN2
USF and Kansas will meet for the second time Friday … The only previous matchup was a 13-7 Kansas victory Sept. 23, 2006 in Lawrence, Kan. … USF held a 7-3 lead in that game before Kansas scored 10 fourth-quarter points … USF QB Matt Grothe threw for 196 yards and ran for 66, while Kansas got a 273-yard effort from QB Adam Barmann.

USF improved to 2-0 with a 31-24 overtime win at Central Florida … The Bulls held a 24-10 win late in the fourth quarter before Central Florida forced overtime with two touchdowns in the last 2:46 … USF enters the game as the national leader in total defense (161.5 yards per game) … The Bulls lead the BIG EAST both in total defense and total offense (512.0 yards per game) … QB Matt Grothe has completed 29 of 48 passes for 442 yards and five touchdowns against two interceptions … RB Moise Plancher leads the Bulls in rushing with 115 yards and three touchdowns … Plancher is one of six USF players with at least 50 rushing yards this year … WR Taurus Johnson has seven catches for 153 yards and a touchdown … CB Jerome Murphy and LB Tyrone McKenzie have a team-high 12 tackles each, while All-America DE George Selvie has made eight stops through two games … Head coach Jim Leavitt spent six seasons as an assistant at Kansas State, where he worked with Kansas head coach Mark Mangino on Bill Snyder's staff.

Kansas is 2-0 on the heels of a 29-0 win against Louisiana Tech at Memorial Stadium … The Jayhawks will play their first road game of 2008 when they face USF … Kansas is 9-16 in games when both teams are ranked … Kansas was 4-0 in road games last season and is 21-6 in nonconference games under Mark Mangino … Kansas is 6-12 all-time against current BIG EAST members … QB Todd Reesing completed 32 of 38 passes for a career-high 412 yards and three touchdowns in the win against Louisiana Tech … Reesing has completed 76.7 percent of his passes for the season (69 of 90) for 668 yards and six TDs with one interception … RB Angus Quigley is averaging 65.5 rushing yards through two games … WR Dezmon Briscoe has caught four touchdown passes and is averaging 100.5 receiving yards per game … The Jayhawks have won 14 of their last 15 games, with the lone setback a 36-28 loss to Missouri in last year's regular-season finale … Fifteen starters are back from last year's team, though Kansas lost three all-America selections in OT Anthony Collins, DT James McClinton and CB Aquib Talib.


SYRACUSE vs. Penn State
Sat 9/13
3:30 PM
ABC
Saturday's game will be the 69th meeting between Syracuse and Penn State in a rivalry that dates to the 1922 season … The schools played every year from 1922-90, with the exception of 1943 … The last meeting between the schools, however, was Oct. 13, 1990, a 27-21 Penn State win … Despite the near-20-year gap between games, Syracuse has played more games against Penn State than it has any other opponent … The Nittany Lions hold a 40-23-5 series lead.

Syracuse has held second-half leads in each of its first two games, but the Orange bring an 0-2 mark into Saturday's game … The Orange rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit against Akron to tie the game in the fourth quarter before the Zips closed with 14 unanswered points … Syracuse has used two different starting quarterbacks with head coach Greg Robinson leaning toward Cameron Dantley as the starter against the Nittany Lions … Dantley completed 13 of 20 passes for 135 yards and three touchdowns against Akron … QB Andrew Robinson was the Week 1 starter at Northwestern … RB Curtis Brinkley is the leading rusher with 192 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries through two games … RB Delone Carter has 122 rushing yards on the year … WR Mike Owen has two of the Orange's three touchdown receptions, while WR Donte Davis has team highs of eight receptions and 78 yards … LB Jake Flaherty has registered a team-high 17 tackles.

Penn State improved to 2-0 in impressive fashion as the Nittany Lions easily handled Oregon State 45-14 Saturday … Penn State held a 35-7 halftime lead and finished with 454 total yards … Penn State has had 16 plays of 20 yards or more through its first two games … RB Evan Royster was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week (sharing the honor with Michigan State RB Javon Ringer and Minnesota QB Adam Weber) … Royster ran for a career-high 141 yards on 17 carries with three touchdowns against Oregon State and has 205 yards and six TDs on the season … QB Daryll Clark has completed 25 of 37 passes for 361 yards and three touchdowns without an interception … Penn State's offense is averaging 7.8 yards per play … DE Jerome Hayes, who started on the defensive line against Oregon State, suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Beavers … Penn State has finished 9-4 in each of the last two seasons after going 11-1 in 2005 … Penn State was 2-3 on the road last season … The Nittany Lions have won nine straight nonconference games.


WEST VIRGINIA Open Date
Next Game
9/18
at Colorado

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