What we learned in the Big East, Week 2
September, 13, 2009
By Brian Bennett | ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
1. West Virginia can be as good as it wants to be: Despite a couple of muffed punts and a spate of penalties, the Mountaineers beat East Carolina 35-20. They had 509 yards of offense and got a superstar performance from quarterback Jarrett Brown (334 yards, four touchdowns). If they can clean up their problems on special teams and other areas, the Mountaineers will be a major factor in the Big East. "We've got a long way to go, folks," coach Bill Stewart said. "We're not even close to being a good football team."
2. Pitt can be explosive: The question about the Panthers coming into the year was whether the offense could score enough points without LeSean McCoy and with some shaky quarterback play. A 54-point day at Buffalo helps answer that. Dion Lewis has rushed for 319 yards in two games, making people forget about McCoy, and Bill Stull has been good enough at quarterback so far. The competition will improve soon, though, and the Pitt defense -- particularly its secondary -- has some issues to work on after giving up 500 yards to the Bulls.
3. UConn is at a crossroads: The Huskies had a soul-crushing defeat on Saturday when they blew a 10-0 fourth-quarter lead at home to North Carolina and lost on a safety in the final two minutes. Now they must regroup for this week's game at Baylor to avoid a 1-2 start. The defense, led by Lindsey Witten (six sacks in two games) has been terrific. But once again the offense is not carrying its fair share of the load, and quarterback Zach Frazer's status is iffy after he suffered a knee injury in the second half against the Tar Heels.
4. Syracuse is close but needs to start winning: The Orange have exceeded expectations in each of their first two games. The problem is they have also lost both games, including Saturday's 28-7 defeat at Penn State. Starting this week with Northwestern, Syracuse will play six straight at the Carrier Dome. It will need a similar effort but better execution to get some more desirable results and to give fans something to really cheer about.
5. South Florida isn't there yet: The best thing you can say about the Bulls right now is they're 2-0. But it's hardly an impressive 2-0. They were in a battle into the fourth quarter with FBS newbie Western Kentucky on Saturday before using two late touchdowns to pull away 35-13. Special teams have been sloppy and the offense has been hit or miss. South Florida doesn't look ready yet for Florida State in two weeks -- or beyond. "Playing them [Western Kentucky] isn't anything in the world like playing in the Big East, not even in the hemisphere," coach Jim Leavitt said. "I guess it's pretty good when we're disappointed and we won. The Big East is a lot better than all this stuff."'