Monday, October 4, 2010
Week 5 review/Week 6 preview
By Brian Bennett
Only five Big East teams were in action on Saturday, and the opponents left something to be desired for the most part. Let's hope nostalgia makes Week 5 seem better:
UConn's Blidi Wreh-Wilson returned a pick-six to put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.
Team of the week: Connecticut. There weren't a lot of big wins over the weekend, but the Huskies doubled the Big East's victory total against teams from AQ conferences and even managed to topple an, ahem, SEC team in Vanderbilt. More importantly, the offense seems to be hitting its stride, and UConn could be building some steam heading into conference play.
Best game: Purely for drama's sake, it has to be Rutgers' 17-14 loss to Tulane. It wasn't a game to watch if you love offense, though the Green Wave pulled off a few big plays at key moments. The Scarlet Knights had a couple of chances to go in for the lead or a tying field goal but couldn't get it done.
Biggest play and best call: Speaking of Tulane big plays, one play was the biggest and best of the weekend. In the third quarter, the Green Wave executed a double pass, with Joe Kemp throwing a lateral to his right to receiver D.J. Banks, followed by Banks returning the favor with a pass back to Kemp. The Scarlet Knights said they had studied that play on film, but it sure didn't look like it as Kemp practically walked into the end zone for a 24-yard score and a 17-7 lead.
Big Man on Campus (Offense): Ray Graham, RB, Pittsburgh. There's a new star running back in Pittsburgh. Subbing for an injured Dion Lewis, Graham racked up 277 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries versus Florida International. Add in his receiving and return production, and he finished with 374 all-purpose yards, which is believed to be a school record.
Big Man on Campus (Defense): Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut. Wilson returned an interception for a touchdown for the second straight week and also had a fumble recovery against Vanderbilt.
Big Man on Campus (Special teams): Quenton Washington, South Florida. Washington blocked a punt against Florida Atlantic that was recovered for a score by teammate Armando Sanchez for a touchdown. That gave the Bulls a 14-0 lead and some early breathing room in the first quarter of a 31-3 win.
Biggest hangover: Rutgers. For reasons that should be painfully obvious after the Scarlet Knights lost to Tulane on homecoming.
Now we look ahead as conference season finally begins -- at least for half the league (Games listed in descending order of interest/importance):
Pittsburgh (2-2) at Notre Dame (2-3): Pitt has won the past two meetings against the Irish. But Brian Kelly has Dave Wannstedt's number. Both teams need a win to get back on track. (3:30 ET)
Connecticut (3-2) at Rutgers (2-2): The official first game of Big East play features a Huskies team that seems to be on the rise with a Scarlet Knights squad facing all sorts of questions. (ESPN, 7:30 ET Friday)
Syracuse (3-1) at South Florida (3-1): I say this without hesitation: This is the most interested I've ever been in a Syracuse/South Florida game. (ESPN3.com, Noon ET)
UNLV (1-4) at West Virginia (3-1): Vegas comes to Morgantown. The house should win. (ESPN3.com, 3:30 ET)
Miami of Ohio (3-2) at Cincinnati (1-3): The Bearcats should get their first win over an FBS opponent. In the second weekend of October. Yes, that's weird to say. (ESPN3.com, 7 ET)
Memphis (1-4) at Louisville (2-2): Memphis is truly bad. And the Big East can't say that about a lot of other teams. (2 ET)