Thursday, September 13, 2012
What to watch in the Big East: Week 3
By Matt Fortuna
Here's what to keep an eye on this weekend in the Big East:
1. Rutgers' passing game. The Scarlet Knights simply need to be more effective passing the football. Quarterback Gary Nova has shouldered the blame for his team's passing game, which, despite two inferior opponents, is 111th in the nation so far. USF surrendered 271 passing yards in a victory at Nevada last week, but the Bulls' defense remains several notches above Tulane and Howard.
2. Andre Davis. Hey, it's not like he didn't ask for the attention. The USF wideout set a school record with 191 yards and two scores last week, and the focus will be on him even more from here on out after Sterling Griffin suffered a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Rutgers will be counting on QB Gary Nova to step up in their bowl matchup against Virginia Tech.
3. Can the Big East stick it to the ACC? Losing both games last weekend to ACC teams was bad enough. Then the ACC took Notre Dame in Wednesday as a partial member. (Yes, we know the Irish were never a Big East football team, but the move is still a score in the other direction.) Three interconference games line this week's schedule, with the highlight being UConn looking for revenge against former coach Randy Edsall and Maryland.
4. What will Pitt do? The Panthers lost by double digits at home to an FCS school. They were routed in their Big East opener at Cincinnati. This isn't their ACC opener, but it is a contest against a Virginia Tech team that's been as consistently good as any program in the nation. Pitt's offensive linemen will have their work cut out for them against the Hokies' deep defensive line.
5. UConn's offense looks to get on track. Four turnovers and 239 total yards doomed the Huskies in their home loss to NC State. The No. 1 Big East defense should have enough to stop undermanned Maryland, but eventually UConn will need some playmakers to step up on the other side of the ball.
6. Teddy Bridgewater looks to ride hot streak. Has there been a more efficient quarterback through two weeks this season than Louisville's? UNC gave up 327 yards to Tanner Price last week in a loss at Wake. Bridgewater wasn't great last year in a loss at Chapel Hill, but it was just his second career start.
7. Syracuse looks for a payoff. It should finally get a win when it hosts FCS Stony Brook this Saturday. And Ryan Nassib and Co. will deserve it after as tough a two opening weeks as any team in the country. The Orange need to take advantage everywhere they can on this schedule, where breaks are few and far between.
8. Cincy looks to build off opener. Are the Bearcats that good or is Pitt that bad? It will be tough to tell when Cincinnati hosts FCS Delaware State, but Munchie Legaux will look to improve on his accuracy and keep the Bearcats hot going into their next game against Virginia Tech.