- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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Here's what to keep an eye on Saturday:
1) Fast start from Louisville. An early kickoff time is hardly ideal for the Cardinals, who have been unable to put teams away in the early going. Expect that to change this week against a Temple team coming off two big losses and a scrambled week of preparation following tragedy on the East Coast.
2) Syracuse ground game. Can the Orange keep it up running the ball? Jerome Smith has rushed for 125-plus yards in each of the past two games, opening things up vertically for Syracuse. Cincinnati has been stout against the run all year.
3) Munchie Legaux looks to get back on track. The Bearcats' QB threw a pick-six in a loss at Toledo, then a pick in overtime that all but sealed his team's fate at Louisville. Butch Jones restated that he's sticking with his signal caller, so now is the time for Legaux to step up.
4) Can Pitt's running backs keep it up? Ray Graham and Rushel Shell have yet to face a defense like the one they will Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish allowed their first rushing touchdown of the season last week, but limited Oklahoma to 15 net yards rushing. The Panthers need to establish the run early to have an upset chance.
5) Paging UConn's offense … again. No second-half points since the third quarter of a Sept. 29 win against Buffalo? The Huskies need more out of the offense, especially with their defense collapsing in their most recent outing two weeks ago at Syracuse.
6) Can USF finish? The Bulls have good players. This much we can gather, though not from their 2-6 record. The fact they have lost four of those games in the final minutes is better evidence. Still, a six-game losing streak has its best chance of ending this Saturday night against reeling UConn. The Bulls are still seeking that elusive first pick, too, which probably has its best chance of happening against the Huskies, who have thrown 11. Somebody is getting conference win No. 1.
10hDavid M. Hale