Monday, September 13, 2010
Big East Week 2 review/Week 3 preview
By Brian Bennett
Once upon a time ...
Team of the week: Connecticut. I seriously considered leaving this one blank. West Virginia nearly lost at Marshall, South Florida and Syracuse lost by double digits, Rutgers struggled at Florida International and everybody else played FCS squads. UConn's opponent, Texas Southern, offered little resistance. But at least it was good to see the Huskies have some fun and romp 62-3.
Best game: It had to be nerve-wracking, scary and frustrating most of Friday night for West Virginia fans. But after mounting two long drives in the final eight minutes to tie the game, the Mountaineers pulled out a season-saving, 24-21 overtime win against Marshall.
Geno Smith led West Virginia's late comeback against Marshall.
Biggest play:Geno Smith's five-yard touchdown pass to tight end Will Johnson with 12 seconds left in the Marshall game. Some West Virginia scribes even compared it to "The Catch" from Joe Montana to Dwight Clark.
Best call: On 4th-and-2 in the second quarter, Rutgers lined Mohamed Sanu up in the Wildcat formation. Florida International expected Sanu to run, but he threw it to tight end D.C. Jefferson for a 24-yard touchdown. Had the Scarlet Knights not scored there, they might have lost instead of winning 19-14.
Big Man on Campus (Offense): West Virginia's Smith. Despite having every reason to get happy feet from Marshall's pressure, the sophomore coolly led those two long drives and finished with 316 yards passing.
Big Man on Campus (Defense and Special teams): Rutgers safety Joe Lefeged became the first player in Big East history to win the league's official weekly honors in both defense and special-teams play on Monday, and he gets the same recognition here. Check out this monster line: Two forced fumbles, two blocked punts, an interception and one pass break-up.
Worst hangover: Syracuse. The Orange had a 10-0 lead at Washington, only to leave with a familiar feeling after losing 41-20. Syracuse's defensive performance against Jake Locker was especially disappointing. But it's not too disheartening, as most people figured the Orange wouldn't win that game anyway.
Strangest moment: The halftime score at Nippert Stadium. The Bearcats led only 12-7 and even heard some boos from their home fans, who haven't seen a loss there in more than two years.
The future is now (This week's games listed in descending order of importance/interest):
Cincinnati (1-1) at NC State (2-0): Bearcats had better win this one, or else they could easily be 1-3 after the Oklahoma game. (ESPN, 7:30 ET, Thursday):
Maryland (2-0) at No. 21 West Virginia (2-0): Terps have already matched their win total from '09. Mountaineers need to show much improvement to have a chance in Week 4 at LSU. (ESPNU, Noon ET)
Louisville (1-1) at Oregon State (0-1): Last time these two met, Bobby Petrino's Cardinals won 63-27. Charlie Strong's team doesn't have that kind of firepower, and the Beavers might be looking for some revenge. (5:30 ET)
Connecticut (1-1) at Temple (2-0): Two years ago, UConn needed overtime to win at Temple. The Owls look like they could provide a test again this season. (ESPN3.com, Noon ET)
Maine (1-1) at Syracuse (1-1): Orange beat the Black Bears by 17 last year and should have a similarly easy time this week. (ESPN3.com, 7:15 ET)