Big East Preview

It's another big week of out-of-conference action in the Big East, with every game but one available for viewing.

Cincinnati Featured In First Big East Game of the Week Telecast

The Cincinnati Bearcats, ranked 14th in this week's Associated Press poll, host Fresno State Saturday in the first game of the 2009 Big East Game of the Week television package. Produced by ESPN Regional, the package covers more than one-third of the nation and reaches 40 million homes. Each Big East Game of the Week will start at noon, Eastern time. Also this Saturday, ESPNU will carry USF at Florida State at noon and Pittsburgh at NC State at 3:30. CBS College Sports has Louisville at Utah at 7:30.


Big East Has Fared Well In Nonconference Play

The last big chunk of nonconference games for Big East teams comes this Saturday. To date, the Big East owns a 16-5 nonleague record, which is second best in the nation. Included in last week's results was Cincinnati beating a ranked opponent on the road, Oregon State, 28-18. Connecticut led by as many as 20 points in its 30-22 victory at Baylor. Syracuse got its first win for new coach Doug Marrone, a 37-34 triumph over Northwestern.


From The Hardwood To Under Center

Three of the eight Big East football teams now have a starting quarterback who also has played college basketball. The newest is B.J. Daniels of USF who will make his starting debut Saturday at Florida State. Daniels played in 16 games last season for the basketball Bulls. West Virginia quarterback Jarrett Brown played in 13 games two seasons ago on the Mountaineer hoop squad. Syracuse's Greg Paulus enjoyed a four-year basketball career at Duke before transferring to Syracuse this year as a graduate student.


Big East Coaches Support Muscular Dystrophy Cause

This Saturday, Big East coaches will join coaches across the country in support of the American Football Coaches Association's partnership with Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. Coaches and their staffs will wear a Coach to Cure MD patch to raise awareness of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, the most prolific genetic killer diagnosed in childhood.


Turnover At The Top

The Big East has crowned a first-time champion in each of the last three years (Louisville in 2006, Connecticut in 2007 and Cincinnati in 2008). Each of those seasons has also seen a new single-season rushing record set. In 2008 Donald Brown of Connecticut set the current standard with 2,083 yards. He surpassed Ray Rice, who set the record in 2006 with 1,794 yards and then bettered it with 2,012 yards in 2007.



CINCINNATI vs Fresno St
Sat 9/26
Noon
Big East Network
Saturday's game will be the first meeting between Cincinnati and Fresno State … The Bearcats are 3-2 all-time against teams from the Western Athletic Conference, including a 29-24 win at Hawaii last season … Fresno State last faced a Big East opponent in its 2008 season-opener (24-7 at Rutgers).

Cincinnati has won three straight to start the 2009 season following a 28-18 win at Oregon State … The Bearcats moved up three spots to No. 14 in this week's Associated Press top 25 poll and gained six places in the ESPN/USA Today ranking … Cincinnati has won its first three games by an aggregate score of 145-36 … The Bearcats lead the Big East in scoring (48.3 points per game), total offense (516.7 yards per game), passing offense (359.7 ypg) and rushing defense (69.3 ypg) … QB Tony Pike ranks 11th nationally in total offense (315.3 yards per game), 13th in pass efficiency (165.03) and is 14th in passing yards (295.5 ypg) … Pike has completed 70.8 percent of his passes (75 of 106) for 923 yards and eight touchdowns … WR Mardy Gilyard is tied for the Big East lead and ranks sixth nationally in scoring (12 ppg) … Gilyard has four touchdown receptions and has added a rushing touchdown and a punt return for a TD … Six different players have at least one touchdown reception this season, while five different players have at least one rushing TD … DE Curtis Young has three sacks, but is out indefinitely after having surgery on his right knee … Cincinnati has scored 18 offensive touchdowns and has punted just 12 times.

Fresno State looks to snap a two-game losing streak after the Bulldogs dropped a 51-34 decision to then-No. 10/10 Boise State … Fresno State opened with a 51-0 win against UC Davis, but fell to Wisconsin in overtime (34-31) prior to the loss to the Broncos … The Bulldogs fell behind Boise State 24-3 in the second quarter and closed to within a field goal in the third, but couldn't keep the Broncos from scoring on five second-half drives … QB Ryan Colburn has thrown for 637 yards and six touchdowns with six interceptions after replacing three-year starter Tom Brandstater … RB Ryan Matthews has averaged 149 rushing yards per game, 9.1 yards per carry and has four TDs … WR Seyi Ajirotutu and WR Devon Wylie have two touchdown receptions each … LB Ben Jacobs was an All-Western Athletic Conference Second Team selection last year and has a team-high 25 tackles this year … Fresno State has registered just two sacks, both by DE Chris Carter.


CONNECTICUT vs Rhode Island
Sat 9/26
Noon
ESPN360.com
Connecticut's football history with Rhode Island dates to 1897, or the second season of intercollegiate football in Storrs … The Huskies have played more games against Rhode Island (93) than against any other opponent and have a 50-35-8 series lead … The schools met every season from 1949-99, when both were members of the Yankee Conference and the Atlantic 10.

Connecticut bounced back from a two-point home loss to North Carolina with a 30-22 win at Baylor … The win improved Connecticut to 3-0 all-time against Big 12 teams … The Huskies, who ranked sixth nationally in total defense last season, stand at 13th (227.7 yards per game) through three games of 2009 …Connecticut ranks fifth nationally in sacks (4.0 per game) … Connecticut has two of the Big East's top five rushers with RB Jordan Todman second in the conference (108.7 ypg) and RB Andre Dixon third (90.0 ypg) … Todman and Dixon both surpassed the 100-yard mark against Baylor, marking the second time in three games they've accomplished that feat … QB Cody Endres made his first start of the season against Baylor and completed 12 of 23 passes for 147 yards … WR Isiah Moore and WR Brad Kanuch are tied for the team lead with seven receptions each … DE Lindsey Witten has seven sacks, leading the Big East and ranking second nationally … LB Lawrence Wilson has a team-high 30 tackles and is tied for the Big East lead at 10.0 tackles per game … The Huskies have allowed 21 combined points in the first three quarters and 29 points in the fourth quarter.

Rhode Island suffered its first loss of 2009 as the Rams fell 30-10 at Massachusetts … The Rams opened the season with a 41-28 win against Fordham … Head coach Joe Trainer is the third coach in three seasons for Rhode Island … The Rams are members of the Colonial Athletic Association, which has already produced three wins against FBS programs (Villanova over Temple, New Hampshire over Ball State, Richmond over Duke and James Madison over Virginia) … Rhode Island's starting quarterback is Chris Paul-Etienne, who is familiar to Big East followers as a transfer from Rutgers … Paul-Etienne threw for 198 yards against Massachusetts last week and completed passes to nine different receivers … Rhode Island's offensive line has allowed just one sack on 67 pass attempts … The Rams have attempted 67 passing plays and 68 running plays on offense … Rhode Island has scored all of its points in the first three quarters.


LOUISVILLE at Utah
Sat 9/26
7:30 PM
CBS CS
Saturday's game is the fourth meeting between Louisville and Utah as the Cardinals look for their first win against the Utes … The last meeting was Utah's 44-35 win behind three touchdowns and 163 rushing yards for Ute RB Darrell Mack.

Louisville enters Saturday's game at Utah at 1-1 following a tough 31-27 loss at Kentucky in the schools' annual Governor's Cup showdown … The game produced five lead changes … Louisville forced Kentucky into three straight turnovers in the second half, but the Cardinals could only convert the miscues into 10 points … The Cardinals look to snap a four-game road losing streak — the last road win for Louisville was a 35-28 decision at Memphis Oct. 10, 2008 … QB Justin Burke performed well in his second collegiate start against Kentucky while playing in front of his hometown crowd … Burke has thrown for 468 yards and two touchdowns through two games and ranks third in the Big East in passing yards (234.0 ypg) … RB Victor Anderson is ranked fourth in the Big East and 25th nationally in rushing at 101.5 yards per game … Anderson has three rushing touchdowns in two games … WR Scott Long and WR Doug Beaumont have nine and eight catches, respectively … LB Jon Dempsey has a team-high 20 tackles and is tied for the Big East lead in tackles per game (10.0) … DT William Savoy has two sacks, while CB Johnny Patrick has two interceptions … K Ryan Payne is ranked third in the Big East in scoring (10.5 ppg) and is first among kickers.

Utah saw a 16-game winning streak end with a 31-24 loss at Oregon last Saturday … Utah was the nation's only unbeaten team last season after the Utes defeated Alabama in the Nokia Sugar Bowl … Utah is the only school since the inception of the BCS to register two undefeated seasons (2004, 2008) … Saturday's loss to Oregon took Utah out of the top-25 polls for the first time since August 2008 … Utah is 6-0 all-time against current members of the Big East, having gone 3-0 against Louisville and 1-0 against Pittsburgh, USF and West Virginia … Utah has more wins against automatic-qualifying BCS schools (17) than any other team from a non-automatic-qualifying conference … QB Terrance Cain has taken every snap in 2009 … Cain ranks second in the Mountain West Conference in total offense (290.3 ypg) … RB Matt Asiata leads the MWC in rushing (101.3 ypg) and has more carries (71) than any player in the nation.


PITTSBURGH at N. Carolina St.
Sat 9/26
3:30 PM
ESPNU
Saturday's game will be the ninth meeting between Pittsburgh and North Carolina State in a series that dates to Nov. 15, 1952 … The last matchup was a 34-19 Pittsburgh win in the 2001 Tangerine Bowl … Panthers WR Antonio Bryant caught seven passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns in that game, while the Pittsburgh defense registered four sacks of Wolfpack QB Phillip Rivers.

Pittsburgh improved to 3-0 for the first time since the 2000 season after the Panthers were 27-14 winners against Navy … Pittsburgh has scored at least 27 points in all three games as the Panthers have averaged 39.7 points per game, good for 16th nationally … The Panthers rank second nationally in sacks, averaging 5.0 per game … Pittsburgh's balanced offense has been led by the steady play of QB Bill Stull, who has completed 70 percent of his passes (49 of 70) for 540 yards and six touchdowns with one interception … RB Dion Lewis leads the Big East and is sixth nationally in rushing as a true freshman (132.7 ypg) … Lewis has five rushing touchdowns and has 398 rushing yards on the year … WR Jonathan Baldwin and TE Dorin Dickerson are tied for the team lead with 13 receptions each …Dickerson has four of the Panthers' six touchdown receptions … LB Adam Gunn, who had 19 tackles and five sacks in Pittsburgh's first two games, missed the Navy game with an ankle sprain … LB Dan Mason moved into the starting lineup and had 11 tackles and two sacks in Gunn's place.

North Carolina State dropped a 7-3 decision to South Carolina to open the season, but the Wolfpack have been impressive in its last two outings, to the tune of a 65-7 win against Murray State and a 45-14 victory against Gardner- Webb … North Carolina State plays its fourth straight home game to open the season against the Panthers… Wolfpack head coach Tom O'Brien coached in the Big East for eight years as head coach at Boston College … QB Russell Wilson holds the unofficial NCAA record of 329 consecutive passes without an interception … Wilson completed 26 of 36 passes for 345 yards and four touchdowns — all career highs — against Gardner-Webb … Wilson was the All-ACC First Team quarterback last season, becoming the first freshman to be so named … Wilson has completed 53 of 80 passes for 647 yards and eight touchdowns … He has thrown just one INT on 230 passes in two years … DE Willie Young has four sacks to lead the defense.


RUTGERS at Maryland
Sat 9/26
3:30 PM
ESPN360.com
Rutgers and Maryland have met nine times prior to Saturday's game and the Terrapins hold a 6-3 series lead … The last meeting was Sept. 29, 2007, when Maryland was a 34-24 winner at Rutgers Stadium … Maryland RB Keon Lattimore ran for 124 yards and a touchdown in that game.

Rutgers improved to 2-1 following a 23-15 win against Florida International to complete a three-game homestand … After allowing 47 points to Cincinnati in a season-opening loss, Rutgers has allowed just 22 combined points to its last two opponents … QB Tom Savage took over as the starting quarterback in the second week of the season and has thrown for 543 yards and three touchdowns without an interception … RB Joe Martinek broke the 100-yard barrier for the first time against Florida International and has a team-high 213 rushing yards this season … RB Jourdan Brooks has three rushing touchdowns … WR Tim Brown ranks ninth nationally and second in the BIG EAST in receiving yards (116.3 yards per game) … Brown has 349 yards on just 14 catches, standing as the far-and-away Big East leader in yards per reception (24.9) … LB Ryan D'Imperio leads the Scarlet Knights with 20 tackles, while DE Jonathan Freeny has a team-high four sacks … D'Imperio, a senior, scored his first career touchdown on a 38-yard interception return against Florida International.

Maryland fell 32-31 to Middle Tennessee State Saturday as the Terrapins saw the Blue Raiders get a 19-yard field goal as time expired … The Terrapins opened the season with a 52-13 loss at California and survived upset-minded James Madison with a 38-35 overtime win … Maryland's special teams units have blocked a kick in each of the last two games … Turnovers have proven costly to Maryland, which has lost six fumbles and thrown two interceptions in three games … The Terrapins have just nine starters back from last year's team that went 8-5 and won the Humanitarian Bowl … QB Chris Turner has completed 62.2 percent of his passes (61 for 98) and has thrown for 691 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions … RB Da'Rel Scott — an All-ACC First Team selection last year — is averaging 91.7 rushing yards per game … WR Torey Smith has accounted for nearly 40 percent of Maryland's receiving yards … Smith has 274 yards and two touchdowns on 14 receptions … Smith is also a threat on kickoff returns and is averaging 249.3 all-purpose yards per game … LB Alex Wujciak was an All-ACC Second Team pick last year, has a team-high 28 tackles.


SYRACUSE vs Maine
Sat 9/26
7:00 PM
No TV
Saturday's game is the first meeting between Syracuse and Maine … The Orange last faced an opponent from the Colonial Athletic Association last season, when Syracuse was a 30-21 winner against Northeastern.

Syracuse gave head coach Doug Marrone his first career win in exciting fashion as the Orange got past Northwestern 37-34 on a 41-yard field goal from K Ryan Lichtenstein as time expired … Syracuse led 17-0, but saw Northwestern build a 34-27 lead in the fourth quarter before the Orange scored the game's final 10 points … WR Mike Williams enjoyed the best day of his career as he finished with career highs of 11 receptions, 209 yards and two touchdown receptions … Williams has caught at least one TD pass in 11 of his last 12 games … Williams leads the Big East and is ranked eighth nationally in receiving yards (119.0 ypg) … QB Greg Paulus has thrown for 618 yards and four touchdowns after a 346-yard, two-TD effort against Northwestern … RB Delone Carter has rushed for 212 yards and two TDs … LB Derrell Smith leads the Orange in tackles (26), sacks (2.5), tackles for loss (3.5) and forced fumbles … P Rob Long leads the Big East with a 45.1 yards-per-punt average … S Max Suter came up with the Orange's biggest defensive play of the season when he intercepted a Northwestern pass in the last minute to set up the game-winning score … The game against Maine is the second of six straight in the Carrier Dome.

Maine suffered its first loss of the season Saturday when Albany rallied to take a 20-16 win in Albany, N.Y. … The Black Bears held a 16-0 halftime lead, but saw the Great Danes reel off 20 unanswered points in the second half, including 17 in the fourth quarter … Maine opened the season with an overtime win against Division II Saint Cloud State before scoring a road win against Northeastern … Maine is a football member of the Colonial Athletic Association, which has produced four wins against FBS programs this season (Villanova over Temple, New Hampshire over Ball State, Richmond over Duke and James Madison over Virginia) … Maine itself scored back-to-back wins against FBS programs when the Black Bears defeated Florida International (24-14) in 2003 and at Mississippi State (9-7) in 2004 … Maine has averaged nearly 200 yards on the ground … RB Derek Session has run for 314 yards and three touchdowns on 63 attempts … The Black Bears have used a two-quarterback system with Warren Smith and Mike Brusko … DE Jordan Stevens has registered 4.5 sacks through three games.


USF at Florida St
Sat 9/26
Noon
ESPNU
Saturday's game will be the first meeting between USF and Florida State … Florida State is the only FBS school in the state of Florida that USF has not faced in its brief football history … USF's last game against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent was a 41-10 win at North Carolina State last season… Florida State is expected to wear all-white uniforms for the first time in school history.

USF remained unbeaten in impressive fashion with a 59-0 win against Charleston Southern … The Bulls have outscored their first three opponents 134-20 … USF had scored eight touchdowns, had one field goal and missed a field goal in its 10 possessions against Charleston Southern … USF ranks second nationally in scoring defense (6.7 ppg) … The Bulls are third nationally in pass defense (84.3 ypg) and sixth in scoring offense (44.7 ppg) … The win against Charleston Southern did come with a cost as the Bulls lost QB Matt Grothe to a season-ending knee injury … Grothe, who has already used his redshirt year, finishes his career as the Big East's all-time leader in total offense (10,875 yards) and in fourth place on the conference's career passing chart (8,669 yards) … The Bulls are expected to go with redshirt freshman QB BJ Daniels behind center against Florida State … Daniels came off the bench to run for 105 yards and two touchdowns while throwing for 149 yards and a TD against Charleston Southern last week … Daniels has completed 12 of 15 passes for 179 yards and two TDs this season and has three rushing touchdowns … LB Kion Wilson has a team-high 20 tackles … The Bulls have not allowed a touchdown pass this season and have punted just four times in three games.

Florida State rebounded from an opening-week loss to Miami (Fla.) and a come-from-behind effort against Jacksonville State to turn in an impressive 54-28 win at No. 7/9 Brigham Young last Saturday … The Seminoles generated 511 yards of offense against the Cougars … QB Christian Ponder completed 21 of 25 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions against Brigham Young … Florida State has four receivers with at least 10 receptions on the year, including WR Richard Goodman, who has a team-high 14 … TE Caz Piurowski has a team-leading two touchdown catches … LB Dekoda Watson has registered 4.5 sacks … The defense has five interceptions, including two by DB Greg Reid.


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