Big East Preview: Week Four

It's another spread out week, but all eight Big East teams are in action during week four of the 2008 season.

CINCINNATI vs. Miami (Oh)
Sat 9/20
7:30 PM
Saturday's game will be the 113th meeting between Cincinnati and Miami (Ohio) in what is billed as the oldest nonconference rivalry in the nation … The first meeting was Dec. 8, 1888 in the first college football game in the state of Ohio … It is the fifth-most-played rivalry in college football … Miami holds a 59-46-7 series lead … The home team has won four of the last five meetings.

Cincinnati has split its two games to open the season as the Bearcats defeated Eastern Kentucky 40-7 in the opener before falling at Oklahoma 52-26 … The Bearcats had a bye last weekend … Cincinnati will go with its third different starting quarterback in its last four games when Tony Pike makes his first career start against Miami … Ben Mauk was the starter through the end of the 2007 season and Dustin Grutza started both games of 2008 before suffering a leg injury against Oklahoma … Grutza is the BIG EAST leader in pass efficiency rating (165.6) … Pike will have the luxury of two quality receivers in Dominick Goodman and Mardy Gilyard, who both average better than 100 yards per game … Goodman leads the BIG EAST in receptions (8.0 rpg) and is second in receiving yards (102.0 ypg), while Gilyard is first in receiving yards (110.0 ypg) and fourth in receptions (6.5 rpg) … Gilyard also leads the BIG EAST in kickoff returns (45.3 ypr) and all-purpose yards (246.0 ypg) … P Kevin Huber, the 2007 BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Year, is ranked second in the conference this season, averaging 46.9 yards per punt.

The Redhawks opened with a 34-13 home loss to Vanderbilt and a 16-6 setback at Michigan before scoring a 38-27 win against Charleston Southern last Saturday … Miami is looking for its first winning season since 2005 after going 2-10 in 2006 and improving to 6-7 last season … The Redhawks tied for the Mid-American Conference East Division title and reached the MAC title game last year, but fell to Central Michigan 35-10 … Miami split a pair of games against BIG EAST opponents last year, falling 47-10 to Cincinnati and defeating Syracuse 17-14 … RB Thomas Merriweather is averaging 70.0 yards per game and has all three rushing touchdowns … QB Daniel Raudabaugh has completed 58 of 104 passes for 740 yards and two TDs … P Jacob Richardson is the nation's leading punter with an average of 51.6 yards per punt … LB Joey Hudson has 31 tackles through three games, while LB Clayton Mullins has 26 stops and six tackles for loss.

Fri 9/19
8:00 PM
Connecticut and Baylor meet for the first time Friday … The Huskies have played just one Big 12 opponent in their history, defeating Iowa State 37- 20 in 2002.

Connecticut is off to a 3-0 start for the second straight season following a 45-10 win against Virginia … The Huskies have won nine straight at Rentschler Field … Connecticut has won its last seven games played in the month of September … The Huskies are 9-3 all-time in Rentschler Field night games … Connecticut ranks fifth nationally in rushing offense (297.7 ypg) and eighth in scoring defense (7.33 ppg) … Connecticut didn't allow its first touchdown of 2008 until the 10:24 mark of the fourth quarter of the third game of the season … RB Donald Brown enters Friday's game ranked second nationally in rushing (188.7 ypg) … Brown is averaging more than 100 yards more than anyone else in the BIG EAST … Brown has run for 566 yards and eight touchdowns, more than twice as many scores as anyone else in the BIG EAST … QB Tyler Lorenzen has completed 37 of 62 passes for 394 yards and one touchdown against four interceptions … LB Scott Lutrus has a team-high 22 tackles through three games, ranking eighth in the BIG EAST at 7.3 per game … DE Cody Brown is tied for the BIG EAST lead in sacks (2.0 per game) … After the Baylor game, Connecticut plays its next three on the road.

Baylor enters Friday's game at 2-1 following a 45-17 win against Washington State last Friday in Waco, Texas … The game was moved to Friday from its original Saturday slot due to Hurricane Ike … The Bears opened with a 41- 13 loss to Wake Forest, but have won convincingly in their last two games, scoring a 51-6 decision against Northwestern State prior to the Washington State win … Freshman QB Robert Griffin keyed the win against Washington State as he ran for a school-record 217 yards and two touchdowns on just 11 carries … Griffin is averaging 96.0 rushing yards per game, good for first nationally among quarterbacks … Griffin has thrown four touchdown passes and rushed for four scores … Baylor went 3-9 last season and was 0-8 in the Big 12 … The Bears are 2-8 in their last 10 road games … Head coach Art Briles is in his first year at Baylor after leading Houston to a 34-28 record, a Conference USA title and four bowl appearances in five years … Briles has never faced a BIG EAST opponent, though he did take on Louisville (0-2) when the Cardinals competed in Conference USA.

LOUISVILLE vs. Kansas St.
Wed 9/17
8:00 PM
Louisville and Kansas State meet for just the second time on the gridiron Wednesday … The Cardinals were 23-6 winners Sept. 23, 2006, in Manhattan, Kan., in the first meeting between the schools … Louisville QB Hunter Cantwell, starting for the injured Brian Brohm, completed 18 of 26 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown for the Cardinals.

Louisville is 1-1 following a season-opening loss to Kentucky (27-2) and a 51- 10 win against Tennessee Tech … The Cardinals enjoyed a bye in Week 3 … The Cardinals, who ranked near the bottom of most of the national defensive statistical rankings a year ago, lead the BIG EAST in rushing defense (48.0 ypg), passing defense (145.0 ypg) and total defense (193.0 ypg) … Louisville ranks fourth nationally in total defense and fifth in rushing defense … The Cardinals have limited opponents to just 3.2 yards per play and a combined two touchdowns … Louisville's defense also provided the only points in the loss to Kentucky when the Cardinals scored a safety … RB Victor Anderson ranks fourth in the BIG EAST in rushing (72.5 ypg) … QB Hunter Cantwell has completed 35 of 66 passes for 355 yards and two touchdowns against three interceptions … WR Doug Beaumont ranks second in the BIG EAST in receptions (7.0 rpg) and fourth in receiving yards (80.0 ypg) … Louisville is playing the third of four straight home games to open the season.

Kansas State has been largely untested in starting the season 2-0, as the Wildcats cruised to wins against North Texas (45-6) and Montana State (69- 10) before last weekend's bye … The Louisville game will be Kansas State's first road game of the year … It will be the Wildcats' first regular-season midweek game since 1994 … Kansas State is 12-4 following a bye week in its last 16 such games … Kansas State has scored a touchdown on its first play from scrimmage in each of the first two games … Louisville, coincidentally, accomplished the same feat last season … QB Josh Freeman ranks second nationally in pass efficiency rating (209.3) … Freeman has completed 34 of 45 passes for 520 yards and five touchdowns without an interception … The primary beneficiary has been WR Brandon Banks, who has nine catches for 183 yards and three TDs … Freeman also has a team-high four rushing touchdowns … Kansas State was the only school in the nation to have a 2007-08 consensus all-American in both football (WR Jordy Nelson) and men's basketball (Michael Beasley).

Sat 9/20
Saturday's game will be the fourth meeting between Pittsburgh and Iowa in a series that dates to 1931 … The schools have not met since 1952 … Pittsburgh holds a 2-1 series lead and won the only meeting in Pittsburgh, a 26-14 decision Sept. 27, 1952 at Pitt Stadium.

The Panthers come off a bye week at 1-1 following a season-opening loss to Bowling Green (27-17) and a win against Buffalo (27-16) Sept. 6 … The game against Iowa is the third straight home game for Pittsburgh … Pitt is 65-107-6 all-time against the current members of the Big Ten … RB LeSean McCoy is ranked second in the BIG EAST in both rushing (82.0 ypg) and scoring (12.0 ppg) and is fifth nationally in scoring … McCoy has 43 carries for 164 yards and four touchdowns in 2008 … QB Bill Stull has completed 51 of 84 passes for 505 yards and one TD against two interceptions … The top receiver has been WR Oderick Turner, who has 10 catches for 111 yards … K Conor Lee is ranked second in scoring among BIG EAST kickers with 7.0 ppg … Lee has made 3 of 4 field goal attempts and is 5-for-5 on PATs (80-for-80 in his career) … Lee and McCoy accounted for all of the scoring in Pitt's win against Buffalo … LB Scott McKillop, who led the nation in tackles last year, is tied for the BIG EAST lead in 2008 with an average of 10.5 per game.

Iowa has started the season with three wins in as many games as the Hawkeyes completed a three-game homestand with a 17-5 win against Iowa State for the Cy-Hawk Trophy Saturday in Iowa City … The Hawkeyes also have defeated Maine (46-3) and Florida International (42-0) at home … The Hawkeyes have won their first three games for the second time in the last three seasons … Iowa is 1-3 in their last four nonconference road games and was just 1-4 in road games last season … The Hawkeyes were 6-6 overall and 4-4 in the Big Ten last season … WR Andy Brodell is this week's Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week … Brodell scored a touchdown on an 81-yard punt return in the win against Iowa State … QB Ricky Stanzi has completed 22 of 38 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns … RB Shonn Greene is averaging 119.7 yards per game and 6.5 yards per carry … Greene has 359 rushing yards and three touchdowns … Iowa, which has allowed just 2.7 points per game, has not allowed a touchdown this season … It is believed to be the first time since the 1923 and 1924 seasons that Iowa has not allowed a TD through three games.

Sat 9/20
3:30 PM
Rutgers and Navy meet for the 23rd time Saturday … The Scarlet Knights gained an 11-10-1 series lead last season with a 41-24 decision at Rutgers Stadium … QB Mike Teel threw three touchdown passes and RB Ray Rice ran for 175 yards and two TDs for Rutgers, becoming the Scarlet Knights' career rushing leader in last year's game … Rutgers has won three straight against Navy and has averaged 35.3 points against the Midshipmen in that stretch.

Rutgers is looking for its first win of the season following a season-opening 24-7 loss to Fresno State and a 44-12 setback to North Carolina … The Scarlet Knights will play their first road game of the season against Navy … Rutgers was 2-2 on the road last season … The Scarlet Knights are 0-2 for the first time since 2002 and look to avoid their first 0-3 start since 1999 … Rutgers ranks eight in the BIG EAST in red zone offense (66.7 percent) and turnover margin (-3.0 per game) … Rutgers is one of just two teams nationally (Arkansas) that has not forced a turnover this season … QB Mike Teel ranks third in the BIG EAST in passing (253.0 yards per game) … Teel has completed 45 of 79 passes for 506 yards and a touchdown, but has thrown five interceptions … WR Kenny Britt ranks second in the BIG EAST in receptions (7.0 rpg) and third in receiving yards (99.0 ypg) … LB Ryan D'Imperio is tied for the BIG EAST lead in tackles (10.5 tpg).

Navy opened the season with a 41-13 win against Towson, but the Midshipmen enter Saturday's game after dropping back-to-back road games at Ball State (35-23) and Duke (41-31) … Head coach Ken Niumatalolo is in his first full season after coaching Navy in last year's Poinsettia Bowl when Paul Johnson left for Georgia Tech … Navy has played in a bowl game in each of the last five seasons … Navy scored a school-record 511 points last season, Navy's triple option offense leads the nation in rushing (370.3 ypg), while the Midshipmen rank 115th nationally in passing (61.54 ypg) … The offense is keyed by RB Shun White, who leads the nation in rushing (196.0 ypg) … White ran for 348 yards against Towson in the opener and has 588 yards and four TDs on the ground through three games … QB Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada missed the first two games with a strained hamstring, but got the start against Duke … Kaheaku-Enhada ran for 28 yards and threw for 45 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game in the first half due to heat exhaustion.

Sat 9/20
5:00 PM
USF and Florida International meet for just the second time Saturday … The Bulls were 21-20 winners against the Panthers in the only previous meeting Sept. 9, 2006 at Raymond James Stadium … WR Taurus Johnson scored a pair of second-half touchdowns — one rushing, one receiving —to key the come-from-behind win for USF … USF QB Matt Grothe threw for 174 yards in his first collegiate start … The USF and Florida International campuses are located 271 miles apart in Tampa and Miami, respectively.

USF improved to 3-0 in dramatic fashion with a 37-34 win against No. 13/11 Kansas last Friday, less than one week after a 31-24 overtime decision at Central Florida … The Bulls jumped seven spots in the Associated Press top 25 poll, entering this week's game at No. 12 … The Bulls moved two spots to No. 16 in the USA Today poll … USF ranks 13th nationally in total offense (494.0 ypg) and 18th in scoring offense (41.3 ppg) … QB Matt Grothe leads the BIG EAST in total offense (294.3 ypg) and passing offense (260.0 ypg) … Grothe is second in pass efficiency rating (156.6) … Grothe has completed 61 of 93 passes for 780 yards and seven touchdowns and two interceptions … Grothe is one of three USF players with at least 100 rushing yards this season — RB Moise Plancher has 130 yards and three TDs, while RB Jamar Taylor has 122 yards and one TD … K Maikon Bonani made 3 of 4 field goal attempts against Kansas in his first career game, including the 43-yard gamewinner at the final gun … LB Tyrone McKenzie is tied for the BIG EAST lead with four tackles for loss … DE George Selvie is second in the conference in passes defended (1.33 per game).

Florida International opens its new stadium looking to rebound from an 0-2 start to the season … The Panthers dropped a 40-10 decision at Kansas in the season-opener before falling at Iowa 42-0 Sept. 6 … The Panthers are coming off a bye week … Florida International is in its seventh year as a football-playing institution and its fifth at the FBS level … The Panthers are just 1-25 in their last 26 games, with the lone win coming against North Texas in the 2007 season finale … Florida International has averaged just 178.5 yards of offense in its first two games … The Panthers do not have an offensive touchdown thus far … Florida International has just five home games this season … The Panthers play consecutive road games following the matchup with USF … Head coach Mario Cristobal was an All-BIG EAST First Team selection as an offensive tackle at Miami in 1992.

SYRACUSE vs. Northeastern
Sat 9/20
3:30 PM
Saturday's game will be the first meeting between Syracuse and Northeastern … It will be Syracuse's first game against a Football Championship Subdivision opponent since Sept. 14, 2002 when the Orange defeated Rhode Island 63-17.

Syracuse has dropped three straight to open the season, falling to Northwestern (30-10), Akron (42-28) and Penn State (55-13) … The Orange are looking to avoid their first 0-4 start since 1986 … The game against Northeastern is the third in a string of four straight home games … Syracuse faces Pittsburgh at the Carrier Dome next Saturday, but does not play a home game in October … RB Curtis Brinkley is averaging 71.0 yards per game, good for fifth in the BIG EAST … Brinkley has scored both of Syracuse's rushing touchdowns this season …QB Cameron Dantley has started each of the last two games and has completed 26 of 52 passes for 245 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions … The kicking game is among the best in the BIG EAST as K Patrick Shadle has made 3 of 4 field goal attempts, with the only miss coming from 51 yards, and is 6-for-6 on PATs … P Rob Long leads the BIG EAST with a 47.4-yard average … CB Max Suter is averaging 105.0 all-purpose yards per game, all on kickoff returns … LB Jake Flaherty has a BIG EAST-leading 23 tackles and ranks sixth in tackles per game (7.7) … DT Arthur Jones is tied for the BIG EAST lead with four tackles for loss.

Northeastern fell to 0-2 with a 34-27 overtime loss at Georgia Southern Saturday … The Huskies opened the season with a 48-14 loss at Ball State … The Huskies are playing their third straight road game to start the season and their second against a Bowl Subdivision opponent … Northeastern held a 24-14 hafltime lead against Georgia Southern, but saw the Eagles get the game-tying touchdown with 1:01 left in regulation on a 65-yard touchdown pass before winning it in overtime … RB Alex Broomfield has averaged 94.0 rushing yards in the first two games and has two TDs … QB Anthony Orio has completed 38 of 68 passes for 436 yards and a touchdown … Northeastern went 3-8 last season and was 2-6 in the CAA North Division … The Huskies have faced an FBS team in each of the last two years, falling at Northwestern (28-0) in 2007 and at Virginia Tech (38-0) in 2006 … Head coach Rocky Hager won NCAA Division II championships at North Dakota State in 1988 and 1990 and coached in the BIG EAST on the Temple staff from 1997-2003.

Thu 9/18
8:30 PM
West Virginia and Colorado have never met on the gridiron … Thursday's game will be the Mountaineers' first in the state of Colorado since a 52-24 win at Colorado State Sept. 13, 1980 … It will be West Virginia's second game against a Big 12 opponent in the Mountaineers' last four games — West Virginia defeated Oklahoma 48-28 in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Jan. 2.

West Virginia is 1-1 after the Mountaineers followed a 48-21 win against Villanova with a 24-3 setback at East Carolina … The Mountaineers will play their second straight road game when they face Colorado … West Virginia has won six of its last eight nonconference road games … The Mountaineers are 14-3 in their last 17 road games, but 0-1 away from Morgantown this season … QB Pat White is ranked third in the BIG EAST in rushing (80.0 ypg) and sixth in passing (140.0 ypg) … White is fifth in the BIG EAST in total offense (220.0 ypg) through two games … K Pat McAfee is the highest scoring kicker in the BIG EAST with an average of 7.5 points per game … McAfee has made three field goals, including a 52-yard attempt, and is 6-for-6 on PATs … LB J.T. Thomas and S Quinton Andrews lead the team with 16 tackles each and rank fourth in the BIG EAST with 8.0 tackles per game … West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart is no stranger to the state of Colorado having spent four seasons (1990-93) as defensive line coach at Air Force.

Colorado is off to a 2-0 start following wins against Colorado State (38-17) and Eastern Washington (31-24) … Like West Virginia, the Buffaloes haven't played since Sept. 6 … Colorado was 6-7 last season, including a 27-24 win against eventual Big 12 champion Oklahoma in Boulder … Colorado is 2-0 for the first time since 2005 and the fourth time this decade (2003, 2004, 2005, 2008) … The Buffaloes have scored 30 points in back-to-back games to start a season for the first time since 2005 and the second time since 1996 … Colorado has scored in 237 consecutive games, which is the fourthlongest active streak in the nation … QB Cody Hawkins, son of head coach Dan Hawkins, completed 28 of 38 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns against Eastern Washington and enters the game against West Virginia in ninth place on the Buffaloes' career passing chart (3,168) … Hawkins has completed 71.6 percent of his passes this season (48 of 67) … WR Scotty McKnight has a team-high 11 receptions for 157 yards.

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