Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Big East stock report: Week 12
By Brian Bennett
1. Jeremy Deering: The Rutgers true freshman has been terrific lately and had 166 rushing yards out of the Wildcat last weekend, the most rushing yards by a Scarlet Knights player since Ray Rice left for the NFL. He's averaging 6.2 yards per carry his last two games.
South Florida's Lindsey Lamar has established himself as a weapon on special teams.
2.Lindsey Lamar: The South Florida sophomore has become the most dangerous kick returner in the league. He's averaging 30.8 yards per attempt -- third best in the FBS -- with two scores. His electric 100-yard return on Saturday against Louisville changed the dynamics of that game.
3. Andrell Smith: Louisville coaches have long liked the potential of the 6-foot-3 sophomore receiver. Smith is beginning to turn into a valuable target in the passing game, with touchdown catches in his last two games.
4. Marcus Sales: The Syracuse receiver came into Saturday's game with just five catches for 39 yards. He equaled his season total for receptions and gained 73 yards against Rutgers, with 20 of those yards coming on the game-winning drive. The Orange had been expecting more of Sales this season, but he finally delivered in a big spot with Alec Lemon hurt.
5. Shawne Alston: Pressed into service with Noel Devine ailing, Alston had 17 carries for 75 yards for West Virginia against Cincinnati.
1. Louisville's special teams: In addition to giving up Lamar's kickoff return score, the Cardinals surrendered excellent field position (and a subsequent field goal) after a 22-yard shanked punt from their own end zone. Special teams cost Louisville the South Florida game far more than the failed fourth-and-1 call in overtime.
2. Pitt's kickoff teams: Speaking of special-teams blunders, Pitt gave up a 100-yard return to UConn's Nick Williams that completely changed the momentum of a game they seemingly had under control. Ray Graham later fumbled a return, setting up a Huskies touchdown. Take those two scores off the board, and the Big East race looks a lot different this week. Pittsburgh's special-teams mistakes also contributed heavily to last year's loss to Cincinnati with the BCS bid on the line.
3. Cincinnati's offense: The high-flying Bearcats attack has been grounded the last two games, scoring only 17 total points in losses to Syracuse and West Virginia. Yes, Zach Collaros was hurt in the Syracuse game, but this team can't beat anybody with that kind of pathetic point production.
4. Doak Walker Award voters: Leaving Donald Brown, the nation's leading rusher at more than 2,000 yards, out of the 2008 finalists group was a disgrace I thought couldn't be topped. But the Doak voters outdid themselves by not including Jordan Todman on their list of 10 semifinalists. Todman is only the nation's No. 2 rusher despite missing a game with an injury. Someone mail the voters of this award a map of Connecticut and tell them the Huskies are in the FBS. Until then, rename it the Joke Walker Award.
5. Airheaded airplane ads: Some doofus hired a plane carrying a banner calling for Oliver Luck to fire Bill Stewart, and the plane circled Milan Puskar Stadium before the Cincinnati game. Not only was that banner a complete waste of money and air space, but the Mountaineers went on to win the game 37-10. If West Virginia wins the Big East, I hope there's an apology banner planned.