Time for a little Big East did you know? Thanks to the school and league sports information folks for the terrific notes each and every week.
For the first time since Oct. 6, 2007, Rutgers will host a game on a Saturday night at home when it plays USF. The last time Rutgers played a Saturday night home game, Cincinnati won 28-23.
Rutgers is second nationally in red zone defense in 2011. The Scarlet Knights have given up 16 scores in 25 opportunities, including just 11 touchdowns.
Syracuse has gone three consecutive games and a total of 208 offensive plays without a turnover, the second-longest streak in the nation behind LSU (The Tigers have gone five straight without a turnover). The Orange’s last turnover came when Antwon Bailey fumbled in overtime against Rutgers on Oct. 1. The last time the Orange had a streak of three games in a row without a turnover was in 1984 (against Army, Pittsburgh and Navy).
Syracuse is averaging 27.4 points per game this season, its highest average since 2002 (28.9 ppg).
Syracuse rookie Sam Rodgers is one of just nine true freshmen across the country to start for an FBS team at long snapper. Overall, a total of 16 first-year players earned their team’s starting long snapper position, six of whom are redshirts. Rodgers is also one of two Big East players on the list, joining Louisville’s Grant Donovan.
Louisville will look for its first three-game league winning streak since 2006 Saturday at West Virginia. In 2006, the Cardinals closed the year with wins against USF, Pittsburgh and UConn to earn its first BCS bowl berth and Big East title.
Louisville is just 3-8 over its past 11 games in the month of November, dating back to the 2008 season.
Louisville has averaged 166 yards on the ground over the past two games, which is its best two-game output of the season. The Cardinals ran for 187 yards against Rutgers and 145 in the win against Syracuse. Louisville is 3-1 this season when running for a touchdown. Last year against West Virginia, Louisville only had 26 yards rushing.
Through the ﬁrst seven games of the season, Ray Graham accounted for 85 percent of Pitt's rushing yardage (939 of 1,106), 48 percent of its total offense (1,139 of 2,395) and 31 percent of its scoring (54 of 177 points).
Pitt has two games with more than 500 yards in total offense this season (529 against UConn and 523 against USF). It is the ﬁrst time the Panthers have had multiple 500-yard games since the 2000 season, when they also had two.
The only team to score a touchdown on the Panthers in the first quarter has been USF (12-yard run by quarterback B.J. Daniels). That touchdown came on a 52-yard drive after a Pitt fumble.
Cincinnati quarterback Zach Collaros needs 53 completions to join Gino Guidugli as the only quarterbacks in school history to complete 500 passes, throw for more than 5,000 yards and have 50 touchdown passes.
Cincinnati enters its third trophy game of the season with the Victory Bell (Miami-Ohio) and Keg of Nails (Louisville) already in its possession. The Bearcats and Pitt play for the River City Rivalry Trophy, a 46-inch, 96-pound replica of a riverboat telegraph -- a device for signaling the engine room -- and a silhouette of the Ohio River.
UConn has beaten Syracuse four straight times, and has never lost to the Orange at home.
Since the start of the 2002 season, the Huskies have 83 scoring drives of at least 80 yards. That includes four this season.
West Virginia has scored on 90 percent (36-of-40) of its red zone drives in 2011, tying for No. 17 nationally. The Mountaineers’ four misses: two against Norfolk State (a missed field and a drive that ended on downs), an interception at Syracuse and at Rutgers (half ended).
In seven games, USF has allowed just four punt returns in 30 attempts for minus-2 yards, which leads the NCAA.
Rutgers has been a spoiler of sorts for USF in New Jersey -- the Scarlet Knights beat USF 30-27 in 2007, when the Bulls were ranked No. 2. They also won 31-0 in 2009 when USF was ranked No. 23.