Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Big East stock report, Week 4
By Brian Bennett
Ring the bell. Time for the stock report to open.
1. Ryan Nassib: It was only Maine, but still the Syracuse quarterback threw for five touchdowns in just his third college start. Nassib is completing nearly 59 percent of his passes and has eight scores. Says Doug Marrone: "I think he can be a special player."
2. Chandler Jones: Another Syracuse player makes the list. I thought this could be the year Jones turned in a breakout season, and the defensive end might be on his way after recording two sacks and a pair of forced fumbles against Maine.
3. Bruce Irvin: There was plenty of preseason hype about West Virginia's junior-college transfer, but there wasn't much production in the first two games. Then Irvin recorded three sacks against Maryland, and fans began chanting "Bruuuuuce!" He is looking pretty boss.
4. D.J. Woods: Cincinnati hasn't had a lot of bright spots in September, but Woods is one of them. The junior receiver had six catches for 146 yards and two scores in the loss at NC State.
1. Zach Frazer: The UConn quarterback hasn't thrown an interception, but he's also completing only about half his passes. As a senior, he should be playing with more consistency, and the return of Cody Endres from suspension may put some pressure on him to get better.
2. Pitt's police blotter: Taken individually, the three arrests of Pittsburgh players since this summer don't have much in common with one another. The latest incident involved a walk-on offensive linemen fighting someone. But given the spotlight the program was already under after the earlier incidents involving Jabaal Sheard and Jason Douglas, you'd think Pitt's players would be on their best behavior.
3. Cincinnati's returns: The Bearcats rank second-to-last in the Big East in kickoff return average, with only one return over 30 yards this season, and last in punt return average. It's clear that Mardy Gilyard doesn't work here anymore.
4. West Virginia's big-play defense: The Mountaineers gave up 60- and 80-yard touchdown passes against Maryland, a week after giving up a 96-yard pass at Marshall. Think LSU might try to hit a few deep balls?
Player of the year race: Offense
1. Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia: Has eclipsed 100 yards in all three games for the Big East's lone ranked team. But he'd better watch out for teammate ...
2. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Smith has simply been terrific since midway through the fourth quarter of the Marshall game and is the Big East's top-rated passer.
3. Jordan Todman, RB, Connecticut: Leads the Big East in rushing and had a 192-yard day against Temple. But late fumble marred his performance.
4. Jon Baldwin, WR, Pitt: He can make a statement on Thursday versus Miami.
5. Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse: He leads the league with eight touchdown throws.
Player of the year race: Defense
1. Joe Lefeged, S, Rutgers: He was great in the first two games. Let's see what he can do against North Carolina.
2. Robert Sands, S, West Virginia: Still a force, but he's obviously dealing with some health issues.
3. JK Schaffer, LB, Cincinnati: Leads league in tackles, though his team needs to play better.
4. Derrell Smith, LB, Syracuse: Second behind Schaffer in tackles and had a big game against Maine.
5. Lawrence Wilson, LB, Connecticut: Mostly held in check against Temple, though he did have a sack.