Big East Preview: 11/22-23

All eight Big East teams are in action as the final three weeks of the regular season loom


CINCINNATI vs Pittsburgh
Sat 11/22
7:15 PM
ESPN2
Pittsburgh and Cincinnati will meet for the eighth time Saturday with the Bearcats looking for their first win in the series … Pittsburgh is 7-0 all-time against Cincinnati, including a 3-0 mark in BIG EAST play and a 2-0 ledger at Nippert Stadium … Last year's matchup produced a 137-yard effort from Pitt RB LeSean McCoy and three field goals from K Conor Lee in Pitt's 24-17 win at Heinz Field … Saturday's winner will be assured of at least a share of first place in the BIG EAST heading into Week 14.

The Panthers enter Saturday's game at 7-2 overall and 3-1 in the BIG EAST following a 41-7 win against Louisville Nov. 8 … Pitt enjoyed a bye in Week 12 … The Panthers trail Cincinnati by a half-game in the BIG EAST standings … Pittsburgh's hopes for a BIG EAST title likely will be decided by its results its next two games — the Panthers face West Virginia (3-1 BIG EAST) next week … RB LeSean McCoy enters Saturday's game ranked 12th nationally in rushing (115.9 ypg) and is second in the BIG EAST … QB Bill Stull returned to the starting lineup against Louisville after missing the Nov. 1 game at Notre Dame with a head injury … Stull is ranked third in the BIG EAST in passing (222.2 ypg) … WR Jonathan Baldwin has come on strong of late with a teamhigh three touchdown receptions and a 24.0-yards-per-catch average … LB Scott McKillop averages a BIG EAST-leading 9.9 tackles per game and leads the nation in solo tackles (6.78 per game) … K Conor Lee is the top-scoring kicker in the BIG EAST (9.3 ppg) and is third among all players.

Cincinnati has won three straight and seven of its last eight following a 28-20 win at Louisville last week … Cincinnati could clinch at least a share of the BIG EAST championship this week with a win against Pittsburgh and a West Virginia loss to Louisville … Cincinnati ended a pair of BIG EAST series losing streaks in the last two weeks … The Bearcats were 0-4 all-time against West Virginia before taking a 26-23 overtime win Nov. 8 and had dropped five straight to Louisville before last Friday … The Bearcats have won their other two trophy games this season, taking the Victory Bell against Miami (Ohio) and the Keg of Nails against Louisville … QB Tony Pike has thrown 12 touchdown passes with four interceptions since stepping into the starting lineup … WR Dominick Goodman has 63 receptions for 802 yards and six touchdowns, while WR Mardy Gilyard has 48 catches for 758 yards and eight TDs … CB Mike Mickens has four interceptions to rank second in the BIG EAST.


CONNECTICUT at USF
Sun 11/23
8:15 PM
ESPN
Sunday's game will be the sixth meeting between Connecticut and USF, with the Bulls holding a 3-2 series lead … USF has taken both previous matchups at Raymond James Stadium … The last meeting was a 22-15 Connecticut win in East Hartford, Conn., behind three field goals, a touchdown pass from QB Tyler Lorenzen and an interception return for a score by LB Scott Lutrus.

Connecticut returned to the form that sparked a 5-0 start in last week's 39- 14 win at Syracuse … The Huskies had dropped three of their previous four prior to the win against the Orange … QB Tyler Lorenzen, who was feared to have been lost for the season after he suffered a fractured foot against Louisville Sept. 26, returned to the starting lineup against Syracuse … RB Donald Brown continues to lead the nation in rushing (153.7 yards per game) … Brown, a junior, has rushed for 1,537 yards and 16 touchdowns on 276 carries and enters Sunday's game as Connecticut's career rushing leader (3,254 yards) … Three players — LB Lawrence Wilson, CB Robert McClain and CB Jasper Howard — have three interceptions each … McClain has scored two touchdowns on interception returns … DE Cody Brown leads the BIG EAST with 10 sacks … LB Scott Lutrus is fourth in the conference with 7.6 tackles per game … K Dave Teggart is 18-for-18 on placements, with nine field goals and nine PATs since taking over as the regular kicker.

USF looks to snap a three-game losing streak Sunday … The Bulls opened the season with five straight wins and were 6-1 through seven games before falling to Louisville, Cincinnati and Rutgers in succession … After scoring at least 17 points in each of its first eight games, USF scored 10 and 16 points in its last two … USF is 3-2 at home this season … QB Matt Grothe remains the BIG EAST leader in passing (236.2 ypg) and total offense (275.5 ypg) … Grothe is USF's leading rusher with 393 yards (39.3 ypg) this season … Grothe is tied for the BIG EAST lead with 15 touchdown passes … WR Taurus Johnson has a team-leading five TD receptions … WR Jessie Hester has 47 catches for 507 yards and has caught at least one pass in 19 consecutive games … LB Tyrone McKenzie has 78 tackles, good for second in the BIG EAST, and eight tackles for loss … DE George Selvie has team highs of 10 tackles for loss and five sacks … S Carlton Williams has three interceptions … K Maikon Bonani is second among BIG EAST kickers in scoring (7.4 ppg).


LOUISVILLE vs.West Virginia
Sat 11/22
12:00 PM
ESPN
Saturday's game will be the 10th meeting between West Virginia and Louisville and the Mountaineers have a 7-2 series lead … West Virginia is 2-1 against Louisville in BIG EAST games, including a 38-31 decision last year … West Virginia QB Pat White had 328 yards of total offense in that game as he rushed for 147 yards and a touchdown and threw for 181 yards and two TDs … Louisville QB Brian Brohm threw for 345 yards and two TDs .

West Virginia saw its five-game winning streak end with a 26-23 overtime setback to Cincinnati Nov. 8 … The Mountaineers had a bye last week … West Virginia is 1-2 on the road, having defeated Connecticut 35-13 Nov. 1 in East Hartford, Conn. … West Virginia's last two losses have been overtime setbacks by three points each … The Mountaineers fell at 17-14 at Colorado Sept. 18 … QB Pat White is averaging 211.2 yards of offense per game, good for fourth among BIG EAST players … White has thrown 15 touchdown passes, tying for the BIG EAST lead, and is sixth in the conference in rushing (73.2 ypg) … RB Noel Devine is ranked 17th nationally, and third in the BIG EAST, in rushing (107.4 ypg) … Devine is averaging 6.4 yards per carry, by far the highest average of any BIG EAST back … LB Mortty Ivy leads a defense that hasn't allowed more than 26 points in a game this season … Ivy has a team-high 68 tackles and three interceptions.

Louisville plays its final home game of the year Saturday as the Cardinals look to get back above .500 … The Cardinals have dropped three straight after a 28-20 setback to Cincinnati … Louisville is 4-3 at home this season, but 1-2 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in BIG EAST games … RB Victor Anderson leads a solid three-headed rushing offense with 973 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground … Anderson is fifth in the BIG EAST in rushing (97.3 ypg) … RB Brock Bolen has 399 yards and five TDs, while RB Bilal Powell has 277 yards and one touchdown … QB Hunter Cantwell has thrown 14 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions … Cantwell has at least one TD pass in nine straight games … WR Doug Beaumont has a team-high 46 receptions — more than twice as many as any other Louisville player … CB Woodny Turenne leads the BIG EAST with five interceptions … Louisville is eighth nationally in rushing defense (95.4 ypg) and has allowed just nine rushing touchdowns.


PITTSBURGH at Cincinnati
Sat 11/22
7:15 PM
ESPN2
Pittsburgh and Cincinnati will meet for the eighth time Saturday with the Bearcats looking for their first win in the series … Pittsburgh is 7-0 all-time against Cincinnati, including a 3-0 mark in BIG EAST play and a 2-0 ledger at Nippert Stadium … Last year's matchup produced a 137-yard effort from Pitt RB LeSean McCoy and three field goals from K Conor Lee in Pitt's 24-17 win at Heinz Field … Saturday's winner will be assured of at least a share of first place in the BIG EAST heading into Week 14.

The Panthers enter Saturday's game at 7-2 overall and 3-1 in the BIG EAST following a 41-7 win against Louisville Nov. 8 … Pitt enjoyed a bye in Week 12 … The Panthers trail Cincinnati by a half-game in the BIG EAST standings … Pittsburgh's hopes for a BIG EAST title likely will be decided by its results its next two games — the Panthers face West Virginia (3-1 BIG EAST) next week … RB LeSean McCoy enters Saturday's game ranked 12th nationally in rushing (115.9 ypg) and is second in the BIG EAST … QB Bill Stull returned to the starting lineup against Louisville after missing the Nov. 1 game at Notre Dame with a head injury … Stull is ranked third in the BIG EAST in passing (222.2 ypg) … WR Jonathan Baldwin has come on strong of late with a teamhigh three touchdown receptions and a 24.0-yards-per-catch average … LB Scott McKillop averages a BIG EAST-leading 9.9 tackles per game and leads the nation in solo tackles (6.78 per game) … K Conor Lee is the top-scoring kicker in the BIG EAST (9.3 ppg) and is third among all players.

Cincinnati has won three straight and seven of its last eight following a 28-20 win at Louisville last week … Cincinnati could clinch at least a share of the BIG EAST championship this week with a win against Pittsburgh and a West Virginia loss to Louisville … Cincinnati ended a pair of BIG EAST series losing streaks in the last two weeks … The Bearcats were 0-4 all-time against West Virginia before taking a 26-23 overtime win Nov. 8 and had dropped five straight to Louisville before last Friday … The Bearcats have won their other two trophy games this season, taking the Victory Bell against Miami (Ohio) and the Keg of Nails against Louisville … QB Tony Pike has thrown 12 touchdown passes with four interceptions since stepping into the starting lineup … WR Dominick Goodman has 63 receptions for 802 yards and six touchdowns, while WR Mardy Gilyard has 48 catches for 758 yards and eight TDs … CB Mike Mickens has four interceptions to rank second in the BIG EAST.


RUTGERS vs. Army
Sat 11/22
12:00 PM
Big East Network
Rutgers and Army meet for the 35th time, with the Black Knights holding an 18-16 series lead … Rutgers has won four straight in the series, including a 41-6 decision last season at West Point … Rutgers RB Ray Rice ran for 243 yards and two touchdowns as the Scarlet Knights gained 404 rushing yards.

Rutgers has emerged as the BIG EAST's hottest team as the Scarlet Knights have won four straight to get back to the .500 mark after a 1-5 start to the season …. Rutgers has scored 138 points in its last three games after scoring a combined 117 points in its first seven … A win against Army would allow Rutgers to go undefeated in November, which would be a first for head coach Greg Schiano … Rutgers has won seven straight games against teams from New York with a combined score of 238-59 in that stretch … Rutgers is 3-2 at home and has won three straight at Rutgers Stadium … Rutgers is 5-0 when it forces at least one turnover and 0-5 when the Scarlet Knights fail to take the ball away … WR Kenny Britt has registered four straight 100-yard receiving games and leads the BIG EAST in both receptions (7.6 per game) and receiving yards (110.4 ypg) … Britt ranks third nationally in receiving yards … QB Mike Teel ranks second in the BIG EAST in passing yards (229.3 ypg) and total offense (222.5 ypg) and is tied for the conference lead with 15 touchdown passes.

Army looks to snap a two-game slide that has the Black Knights at 3-7 … Army hasn't played since a 38-31 loss at Rice Nov. 8 … Army is 1-3 on the road, having defeated Tulane 44-13 Oct. 4 in New Orleans … The three road losses have been by a combined 14 points, including a 27-24 overtime setback at Buffalo and a 21-17 loss at Texas A&M … The three wins have been against Tulane, Eastern Michigan and Louisiana Tech … Army has outscored its opponents by a 56-37 margin in the first quarter, but has been outscored 85-28 in the second … The Black Knights have more than five times as many rushing yards (2,578) as they do passing yards (501) … Army ranks seventh nationally in rushing (257.8 ypg) … RB Collin Mooney enters Saturday's game ranked 11th nationally in rushing … Mooney has rushed for 1,173 yards and eight touchdowns on 194 carries … QB Chip Bowden has completed just 38.5 percent of his passes, but has thrown just two interceptions and has rushed for 483 yards … LB Frank Scappaticci has team highs of 70 tackles and three interceptions.


SYRACUSE at Notre Dame
Sat 11/22
2:30 PM
NBC
Saturday's game will be just the sixth meeting between Syracuse and Notre Dame … Notre Dame holds a 3-2 series lead after taking the most recent meeting — a 34-10 decision Nov. 19, 2005, in what was the first season for Syracuse head coach Greg Robinson and Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis … QB Brady Quinn threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns for Notre Dame in that game, while Syracuse RB Damien Rhodes ran for 112 yards.

Syracuse announced Sunday that Greg Robinson's tenure as head coach will end following the conclusion of this season … Syracuse looks to snap a two-game slide as it plays the first of back-to-back road games to close the season … The Orange are 0-4 on the road this year … RB Curtis Brinkley has been a standout on offense with 1,060 rushing yards and six touchdowns in his senior year … Brinkley became the eighth Syracuse back to rush for 1,000 yards in a season, joining Joe Morris, Walter Reyes, Larry Csonka, James Mungro, Floyd Little, Dee Brown and Michael Owens … QB Cameron Dantley has thrown nine touchdown passes and just four interceptions … QB Andrew Robinson saw regular snaps behind center last week against Connecticut as well … Special teams remain a strong suit for Syracuse — K Patrick Shadle is fourth among BIG EAST kickers in scoring (5.7 ppg) and P Rob Long leads the BIG EAST with a 46.0-yard average … Long is ranked third nationally in punting … In addition, Syracuse has scored a touchdown off a blocked punt in each of its last two games.

Notre Dame snapped a two-game slide with a 27-21 win against Navy last weekend in Baltimore … Notre Dame is 4-1 at home, with the only loss a four-overtime setback against Pittsburgh Nov. 1 (36-33) … The Irish held a 27-7 lead against Navy in the final two minutes, but nearly saw the Midshipmen come all the way back as Navy scored twice in 18 seconds … QB Jimmy Clausen has completed 213 of 353 passes for 2,439 yards and 18 touchdowns against 15 interceptions … WR Michael Floyd has a team-high 46 receptions, while WR Golden Tate leads the Irish with 742 receiving yards … Floyd has seven touchdown receptions, while Tate has five … Notre Dame allowed 58 sacks last season, but has yielded just 14 this year … The Fighting Irish have attempted 25 fourth-down conversions and been successful eight times … S Kyle McCarthy has a team-high 89 tackles … DE Pat Kuntz leads the team with 3.5 sacks … QB Evan Sharpley and P Eric Maust are members of Notre Dame's baseball team, which competes in the BIG EAST.


USF vs. Connecticut
Sun 11/23
8:15 PM
ESPN
Sunday's game will be the sixth meeting between Connecticut and USF, with the Bulls holding a 3-2 series lead … USF has taken both previous matchups at Raymond James Stadium … The last meeting was a 22-15 Connecticut win in East Hartford, Conn., behind three field goals, a touchdown pass from QB Tyler Lorenzen and an interception return for a score by LB Scott Lutrus.

Connecticut returned to the form that sparked a 5-0 start in last week's 39- 14 win at Syracuse … The Huskies had dropped three of their previous four prior to the win against the Orange … QB Tyler Lorenzen, who was feared to have been lost for the season after he suffered a fractured foot against Louisville Sept. 26, returned to the starting lineup against Syracuse … RB Donald Brown continues to lead the nation in rushing (153.7 yards per game) … Brown, a junior, has rushed for 1,537 yards and 16 touchdowns on 276 carries and enters Sunday's game as Connecticut's career rushing leader (3,254 yards) … Three players — LB Lawrence Wilson, CB Robert McClain and CB Jasper Howard — have three interceptions each … McClain has scored two touchdowns on interception returns … DE Cody Brown leads the BIG EAST with 10 sacks … LB Scott Lutrus is fourth in the conference with 7.6 tackles per game … K Dave Teggart is 18-for-18 on placements, with nine field goals and nine PATs since taking over as the regular kicker.

USF looks to snap a three-game losing streak Sunday … The Bulls opened the season with five straight wins and were 6-1 through seven games before falling to Louisville, Cincinnati and Rutgers in succession … After scoring at least 17 points in each of its first eight games, USF scored 10 and 16 points in its last two … USF is 3-2 at home this season … QB Matt Grothe remains the BIG EAST leader in passing (236.2 ypg) and total offense (275.5 ypg) … Grothe is USF's leading rusher with 393 yards (39.3 ypg) this season … Grothe is tied for the BIG EAST lead with 15 touchdown passes … WR Taurus Johnson has a team-leading five TD receptions … WR Jessie Hester has 47 catches for 507 yards and has caught at least one pass in 19 consecutive games … LB Tyrone McKenzie has 78 tackles, good for second in the BIG EAST, and eight tackles for loss … DE George Selvie has team highs of 10 tackles for loss and five sacks … S Carlton Williams has three interceptions … K Maikon Bonani is second among BIG EAST kickers in scoring (7.4 ppg).


WEST VIRGINIA at Louisville
Sat 11/22
12:00 PM
ESPN
Saturday's game will be the 10th meeting between West Virginia and Louisville and the Mountaineers have a 7-2 series lead … West Virginia is 2-1 against Louisville in BIG EAST games, including a 38-31 decision last year … West Virginia QB Pat White had 328 yards of total offense in that game as he rushed for 147 yards and a touchdown and threw for 181 yards and two TDs … Louisville QB Brian Brohm threw for 345 yards and two TDs .

West Virginia saw its five-game winning streak end with a 26-23 overtime setback to Cincinnati Nov. 8 … The Mountaineers had a bye last week … West Virginia is 1-2 on the road, having defeated Connecticut 35-13 Nov. 1 in East Hartford, Conn. … West Virginia's last two losses have been overtime setbacks by three points each … The Mountaineers fell at 17-14 at Colorado Sept. 18 … QB Pat White is averaging 211.2 yards of offense per game, good for fourth among BIG EAST players … White has thrown 15 touchdown passes, tying for the BIG EAST lead, and is sixth in the conference in rushing (73.2 ypg) … RB Noel Devine is ranked 17th nationally, and third in the BIG EAST, in rushing (107.4 ypg) … Devine is averaging 6.4 yards per carry, by far the highest average of any BIG EAST back … LB Mortty Ivy leads a defense that hasn't allowed more than 26 points in a game this season … Ivy has a team-high 68 tackles and three interceptions.

Louisville plays its final home game of the year Saturday as the Cardinals look to get back above .500 … The Cardinals have dropped three straight after a 28-20 setback to Cincinnati … Louisville is 4-3 at home this season, but 1-2 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in BIG EAST games … RB Victor Anderson leads a solid three-headed rushing offense with 973 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground … Anderson is fifth in the BIG EAST in rushing (97.3 ypg) … RB Brock Bolen has 399 yards and five TDs, while RB Bilal Powell has 277 yards and one touchdown … QB Hunter Cantwell has thrown 14 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions … Cantwell has at least one TD pass in nine straight games … WR Doug Beaumont has a team-high 46 receptions — more than twice as many as any other Louisville player … CB Woodny Turenne leads the BIG EAST with five interceptions … Louisville is eighth nationally in rushing defense (95.4 ypg) and has allowed just nine rushing touchdowns.


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