Big East: Did you know?

October, 21, 2011
10/21/11
9:00
AM ET
Time for a little Big East did you know? Thanks to the school sports information departments and ESPN Stats & Information for the notes featured below.
  • Cincinnati’s defense has not allowed an offensive touchdown in nine quarters and its three most recent opponents are averaging 14 yards rushing a game.
  • Cincinnati punter Pat O'Donnell has proven once again why he is the best in the Big East. Eleven of his punts have been downed inside the 20-yard line this season and six have gone for 50 yards or more.
  • Bearcats senior offensive lineman Alex Hoffman leads the offense with 31 career starts. What makes that note unique is that Hoffman, now the starter at left tackle, is at his third different starting position and fourth spot overall in three years.
  • Louisville and Rutgers are playing on a weekday for the seventh consecutive season. The Cardinals and Scarlet Knights met on a Friday in 2005, a Thursday in 2006-08 and a Friday in 2009, 2010 and again tonight.
  • The Cardinals have scored just seven points at home in the second half this season — and haven’t scored at all in the third quarter.
  • West Virginia ranks second nationally with 34 completions of 20 or more yards. Only Houston has more (40).
  • Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith leads the Big East with 16 passing touchdowns, nine of which have come off play action. Smith has at least one touchdown on a play-action pass in four games this season after only having three such games in 2010.
  • Smith's completion percentage is 67.8 over the past two seasons, but drops by more than 23 percent when passing outside the pocket. In West Virginia's five losses over the past two seasons, Smith's completion percentage outside the pocket was 37.9 percent.
  • At halftime of its game against West Virginia, host Syracuse will celebrate the 50th anniversary of running back Ernie Davis winning the Heisman Trophy. Davis made history in 1961 when he became the first African-American to receive the award. A member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Davis played for the Orange from 1959-61. He was a first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns, but died of leukemia before ever playing a down in the NFL.
  • Syracuse has not beaten West Virginia at home since 2001.
  • Syracuse and West Virginia have played 58 times, making the Mountaineers one of the Orange’s oldest and most frequent rivals. In its history, Syracuse has only faced four teams (Penn State, Colgate, Pittsburgh and Boston College) more than the Mountaineers.
  • Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib is on pace for 248 completions, 384 attempts and 2,588 yards. All three numbers would be school records. He is on pace to tie the school season record for passing touchdowns (22) and finish second in completion percentage and passing yards per game.
  • For just the fourth time since 1980, Rutgers is 5-1 or better after six games to start the year.
  • The Scarlet Knights ranked last in the nation with 61 sacks allowed last year, averaging a little over five per game. In 2011, Rutgers is tied for 59th in the NCAA, allowing 2.0 sacks a game (12 sacks total).
  • The Rutgers defense has held three opponents to under 300 yards of total offense in 2011, going 3-0 in those contests. Under coach Greg Schiano, the Scarlet Knights are 38-4 (.904) when limiting the opposition to less than 300 yards of total offense.
  • Since 2002, Rutgers is third nationally with 51 blocked kicks, including four this season. In the 21-20 victory over Navy, junior cornerback Brandon Jones blocked Navy’s attempted go-ahead field goal attempt with 4:43 remaining to preserve the one-point victory.
  • USF tied the school record for sacks with seven against Connecticut. The Bulls had six different players record a sack in that game with two coming from defensive tackles, two from linebackers, one from a defensive end and one from a safety.
  • Sophomore WR Sterling Griffin is on pace to challenge both the single-season reception (62) and yardage (706) totals at USF. In six games, Griffin has 32 receptions for 420 yards. The 32 receptions are the second-most through six games in school history, behind only Hugh Smith, who had 34 receptions in six games during the 2002 season. Griffins' 420 yards are the most by a USF receiver at this point in the season.

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