Big East Preview

Six Big East teams are in action on Saturday as league action begins to intensify.

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE

The BIG EAST has a 23-7 nonconference record through five weeks of the 2009 season. The BIG EAST does not have a loss to a team that currently has a losing record. The aggregate record of the seven teams to defeat BIG EAST opponents this season is 23-10.


GETTING IT DONE

The BIG EAST's .767 winning percentage in 2009 is good for second among FBS conferences.Only the SEC, with a 25-3 record and a .893 winning percentage, is better than the Big East's 23-7 (.767). The Big East dusts the ACC (21-13 .618) and the Mountain West (20-15, .571), and also has leads putative powers such as the Big Ten (25-9, .735) and the Big 12 (34-13, .723).


ROAD SWEET ROAD

The visiting team has won each of the first three BIG EAST games in 2009.


ONE BAD LOSS

Rutgers has won 10 of its last 11games, dating to last season. The one loss, the 2009 season opener against Cincinnati, has overshadowed the other successes enjoyed by the Scarlet Knights.


CONSISTENT OUTPUT

West Virginia has gained at least 405 yards of total offense in every game this year.


CINCINNATI Open Date
Next Game
Thu Oct. 15
at USF
 

CONNECTICUT at Pittsburgh
Sat 10/10
3:30 PM
ABC
Saturday's game will be the sixth meeting between Connecticut and Pittsburgh … The Huskies hold a 3-2 series lead, though the Panthers took a 34-10 decision in East Hartford, Conn., last season … Pittsburgh broke open a 3-3 halftime score with 24 third-quarter points as QB Bill Stull threw for 141 yards and two touchdowns.

Connecticut is off to a 3-1 start following a 52-10 win against Rhode Island Sept. 26 … The Huskies have road wins against Ohio and Baylor on the ledger with the lone setback coming to North Carolina Sept. 12 … Connecticut's calling cards remain a stout defense and an effective running game … The Huskies rank fourth nationally in total defense (232.3 ypg), eighth in rushing defense (68 ypg) and 18th in pass defense (164 3 ypg) … Connecticut is second in the Big East in rushing (191.3 ypg) … QB Zach Frazer started the first two games behind center, but has missed the last two with a knee injury … QB Cody Endres is 2-0 as the starter and is expected to get the nod against Pittsburgh with Frazer still recovering … Endres has thrown for 466 yards and two touchdowns without an interception this season … Connecticut has the top backfield tandem in the Big East in RB Jordan Todman (99 ypg, five TDs) and RB Andre Dixon (92 ypg, three TDs) … DE Lindsey Witten leads the Big East with eight sacks and is second nationally with 2.0 sacks per game … All-Big East LB Scott Lutrus has missed the last three games after suffering a stinger in the opener.

Pittsburgh rebounded from its first loss of the season with a come-from-behind win on the road against Louisville (35-10) … The Panthers are 2-0 at home, having defeated Youngstown State and Navy at Heinz Field … Pittsburgh's strength is found in the trenches as the Panthers lead the nation in sacks (4.4 per game) and rank eighth in fewest sacks allowed (0.6 per game) … Pitt has committed just three turnovers through five games … QB Bill Stull leads the Big East and is ranked fifth nationally in pass efficiency (167.49) … Stull has completed 77 of 116 passes for 988 yards and 11 touchdowns with just one interception … TE Dorin Dickerson has team highs of 20 receptions and six touchdown catches … WR Jonathan Baldwin is averaging 22.8 yards per catch and has 428 receiving yards … RB Dion Lewis is second in the Big East and sixth nationally in rushing (116 ypg) … DE Greg Romeus has a team-high six sacks and ranks seventh nationally at 1.2 per game … LB Adam Gunn has five sacks despite missing two games due to injury.


LOUISVILLE vs. Southern Miss
Sat 10/10
7:30 PM
ESPNU
Saturday's game will be the 28th meeting between Louisville and Southern Mississippi and the first since Louisville became a member of the Big East … The Golden Eagles hold an 18-8-1 series lead … One of the more memorable games in the series came in 1989 when former saw Southern Miss QB Brett Favre hit Darryl Tillman on a 79-yard Hail Mary as time expired to give the Golden Eagles a 16-10 win … The most recent matchup was a 20-17 Louisville win in double-overtime Nov. 14, 2002 behind a pair of touchdown passes by Cardinal QB Dave Ragone … Louisville has won the last three meetings.

Louisville looks to snap a three-game losing streak with the second of backto- back home games … The Cardinals have held second-half leads in two of their last three games, but have been outscored 41-24 in the fourth quarter this season … QB Adam Froman was announced as the starting quarterback shortly before last week's game against Pittsuburgh after QB Justin Burke started the first three games … Head coach Steve Kragthorpe has not announced a starter for the game against Southern Miss … RB Victor Anderson is sixth in the Big East in rushing (69.0 ypg) … The Cardinals have just three passing touchdowns this season, with TE Cameron Graham delivering two scores … LB Jon Dempsey leads the Big East and is 10th nationally in tackles (10.8 per game) … LB Chris Campa is ninth (7.0 per game) … CB Johnny Patrick has team highs of five passes defended and two interceptions.

Southern Miss reeled off three straight wins to open the season, but come into Louisville on a two-game slide after falling at Kansas (35-28) and Alabama-Birmingham (30-17) … The wins have been against Alcorn State (52-0), Central Florida (26-19) and Virginia (37-34) … Southern Miss is 3-0 at home and 0-2 on the road … The Golden Eagles will be without their starting quarterback for the rest of the year as QB Austin Davis was felled by a foot injury against UAB … Davis had thrown at least one touchdown pass in 12 consecutive games … QB Martevious Young came on in relief of Davis and is the projected starter against Louisville … RB Damion Fletcher is averaging 92.8 yards per game and has four rushing touchdowns … LB Korey Williams has a team-high 48 tackles to go with three sacks and two forced fumbles … Southern Miss has enjoyed 15 consecutive winning seasons, with only Florida State (32), Florida (21) and Virginia Tech (16) enjoying longer runs.


PITTSBURGH vs. Connecticut
Sat 10/10
3:30 PM
ABC
Saturday's game will be the sixth meeting between Connecticut and Pittsburgh … The Huskies hold a 3-2 series lead, though the Panthers took a 34-10 decision in East Hartford, Conn., last season … Pittsburgh broke open a 3-3 halftime score with 24 third-quarter points as QB Bill Stull threw for 141 yards and two touchdowns.

Connecticut is off to a 3-1 start following a 52-10 win against Rhode Island Sept. 26 … The Huskies have road wins against Ohio and Baylor on the ledger with the lone setback coming to North Carolina Sept. 12 … Connecticut's calling cards remain a stout defense and an effective running game … The Huskies rank fourth nationally in total defense (232.3 ypg), eighth in rushing defense (68 ypg) and 18th in pass defense (164 3 ypg) … Connecticut is second in the Big East in rushing (191.3 ypg) … QB Zach Frazer started the first two games behind center, but has missed the last two with a knee injury … QB Cody Endres is 2-0 as the starter and is expected to get the nod against Pittsburgh with Frazer still recovering … Endres has thrown for 466 yards and two touchdowns without an interception this season … Connecticut has the top backfield tandem in the Big East in RB Jordan Todman (99 ypg, five TDs) and RB Andre Dixon (92 ypg, three TDs) … DE Lindsey Witten leads the Big East with eight sacks and is second nationally with 2.0 sacks per game … All-Big East LB Scott Lutrus has missed the last three games after suffering a stinger in the opener.

Pittsburgh rebounded from its first loss of the season with a come-from-behind win on the road against Louisville (35-10) … The Panthers are 2-0 at home, having defeated Youngstown State and Navy at Heinz Field … Pittsburgh's strength is found in the trenches as the Panthers lead the nation in sacks (4.4 per game) and rank eighth in fewest sacks allowed (0.6 per game) … Pitt has committed just three turnovers through five games … QB Bill Stull leads the Big East and is ranked fifth nationally in pass efficiency (167.49) … Stull has completed 77 of 116 passes for 988 yards and 11 touchdowns with just one interception … TE Dorin Dickerson has team highs of 20 receptions and six touchdown catches … WR Jonathan Baldwin is averaging 22.8 yards per catch and has 428 receiving yards … RB Dion Lewis is second in the Big East and sixth nationally in rushing (116 ypg) … DE Greg Romeus has a team-high six sacks and ranks seventh nationally at 1.2 per game … LB Adam Gunn has five sacks despite missing two games due to injury.


RUTGERS vs. Texas Southern
Sat 10/10
3:30 PM
No TV
Saturday's game will be the first meeting between Rutgers and Texas Southern … The Scarlet Knights are 258-233-13 all-time against current members of the Football Championship Subdivision.

Rutgers enters Saturday's game against Texas Southern at 3-1 with the Scarlet Knights enjoying a bye in Week 5 … Rutgers dropped its seasonopener to Cincinnati (47-15), but have reeled off three straight wins since, including a 34-13 decision at Maryland Sept. 26 … After allowing 47 points in the opener, Rutgers has allowed a combined 35 points in its last three games … The Scarlet Knights are tied for second in the Big East in rushing defense (87.8 ypg) after holding Florida International to 42 rushing yards and limiting Maryland to just 28 … RB Joe Martinek has emerged as Rutgers' top option in the offensive backfield after back-to-back 100-yard games … Martinek is fifth in the Big East in rushing (90.0 ypg) … QB Tom Savage and QB Domenic Natale have made two starts each … Natale got the nod against Maryland while Savage recovers from a head injury suffered against Florida International … LB Ryan D'Imperio leads the defense with 25 tackles, while DE Jonathan Freeny has a team-high four sacks … CB Devin McCourty is fourth in the Big East in passes defended (1.0 per game) … After next Friday's game against Pittsburgh, Rutgers will have played five of its first six games at Rutgers Stadium … The Scarlet Knights have received votes in each of the last two USA Today Coaches' Polls.

Texas Southern, like Rutgers, enjoyed a bye last week … The Tigers are 1-3 after a 52-18 loss at Texas State Sept. 26 … Texas Southern opened the season with losses to Prairie View A&M (17-7) and Louisiana-Monroe (58-0) before getting its lone win against NAIA Texas College (75-6) … The Tigers lead the Southwestern Athletic Conference and rank 11th in the Championship Subdivision in passing (266.8 ypg) … Conversely, the Tigers average just 27.8 rushing yards per game, ranking 117th of 118 FCS teams … QB Arvell Wilson has completed 60.5 percent of his passes (75 of 124) for 758 yards and two touchdowns … QB Gino Simoni also sees regular action as part of the Tigers' spread offense … The Tigers have been intercepted just once in 153 pass attempts … The game at Rutgers is part of a stretch in which Texas Southern plays five of six on the road … LB Robert Joseph and LB Dejuan Fulghum are tied for the team lead with 39 tackles each … Fulghum also leads the team with four sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss.


SYRACUSE vs. West Virginia
Sat 10/10
12:00 PM
Big East Network
The Syracuse-West Virginia series dates to the 1945 season and the schools have met each year since 1955 … The Orange hold a 30-26 series lead, though the Mountaineers have won seven straight … West Virginia held a 7-6 lead early in the fourth quarter last season and the Mountaineers iced the win on RB Noel Devine's 92-yard touchdown run with 4:16 left.

West Virginia overcame four first-half turnovers to take a 35-24 win against Colorado last Thursday … The Mountaineers take to the road for just the second time this season when they head to Syracuse … West Virginia is 3-0 at home and 0-1 on the road thus far … RB Noel Devine has generated some Heisman Trophy buzz, particularly after his 220-yard effort against Colorado … Devine ranks third nationally in rushing (135 ypg) and has 540 yards and six touchdowns on the year … QB Jarrett Brown is second in the Big East in total offense (286.8 ypg) and passing (236.5 ypg) … WR Jock Sanders is second in the conference in receptions (8.0 rpg) … LB J.T. Thomas has a team-high 28 tackles to go with 4.5 tackles for loss and an interception … DE Julian Miller leads the team with 3.5 sacks and five tackles for loss … Tyler Bitancurt has been perfect on field goal attempts this season (5- for-5), but the Mountaineers have attempted only one field goal since the season-opener.

Syracuse saw a two-game winning streak end with a 34-20 setback to USF last Saturday … The Orange are in the middle of a six-game homestand and are 2-1 in that stretch … Syracuse forced three turnovers against USF, but the Orange were undone by seven giveaways, including five interceptions … WR Mike Williams sits atop the Big East leaderboard in both receptions (8.2 per game) and receiving yards (124.6 ypg) … Williams is fifth nationally in receiving yards and seventh in receptions … Williams has 41 catches for 623 yards and five touchdowns this year … QB Greg Paulus is third in the Big East in passing (231.4 ypg) and has thrown for 1,157 yards and eight touchdowns … RB Delone Carter has been a workhorse with 88 carries (second in the Big East) for 327 yards and five TDs … The defense is paced by LB Derrell Smith, who is third in the Big East in tackles (9.4 per game) … Smith also leads the Orange in sacks (4.5) and tackles for loss (6.5) … NT Arthur Jones had fumble recoveries on USF's first two offensive snaps last Saturday … K Ryan Lichtenstein is 9-for-10 on field goal attempts.


USF Open Date
Next Game
Thu Oct. 15
vs. Cincinnati
 

WEST VIRGINIA at Syracuse
Sat 10/10
12:00 PM
Big East Network
The Syracuse-West Virginia series dates to the 1945 season and the schools have met each year since 1955 … The Orange hold a 30-26 series lead, though the Mountaineers have won seven straight … West Virginia held a 7-6 lead early in the fourth quarter last season and the Mountaineers iced the win on RB Noel Devine's 92-yard touchdown run with 4:16 left.

West Virginia overcame four first-half turnovers to take a 35-24 win against Colorado last Thursday … The Mountaineers take to the road for just the second time this season when they head to Syracuse … West Virginia is 3-0 at home and 0-1 on the road thus far … RB Noel Devine has generated some Heisman Trophy buzz, particularly after his 220-yard effort against Colorado … Devine ranks third nationally in rushing (135 ypg) and has 540 yards and six touchdowns on the year … QB Jarrett Brown is second in the Big East in total offense (286.8 ypg) and passing (236.5 ypg) … WR Jock Sanders is second in the conference in receptions (8.0 rpg) … LB J.T. Thomas has a team-high 28 tackles to go with 4.5 tackles for loss and an interception … DE Julian Miller leads the team with 3.5 sacks and five tackles for loss … Tyler Bitancurt has been perfect on field goal attempts this season (5- for-5), but the Mountaineers have attempted only one field goal since the season-opener.

Syracuse saw a two-game winning streak end with a 34-20 setback to USF last Saturday … The Orange are in the middle of a six-game homestand and are 2-1 in that stretch … Syracuse forced three turnovers against USF, but the Orange were undone by seven giveaways, including five interceptions … WR Mike Williams sits atop the Big East leaderboard in both receptions (8.2 per game) and receiving yards (124.6 ypg) … Williams is fifth nationally in receiving yards and seventh in receptions … Williams has 41 catches for 623 yards and five touchdowns this year … QB Greg Paulus is third in the Big East in passing (231.4 ypg) and has thrown for 1,157 yards and eight touchdowns … RB Delone Carter has been a workhorse with 88 carries (second in the Big East) for 327 yards and five TDs … The defense is paced by LB Derrell Smith, who is third in the Big East in tackles (9.4 per game) … Smith also leads the Orange in sacks (4.5) and tackles for loss (6.5) … NT Arthur Jones had fumble recoveries on USF's first two offensive snaps last Saturday … K Ryan Lichtenstein is 9-for-10 on field goal attempts.


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