NCF Nation: Tony Fiammetta

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Twenty-seven Big East products had their name called over the weekend in the NFL draft. Three league schools had their best drafts ever.

Cincinnati had six players taken, the most of any Big East team and the most in program history. The previous school record had been five, which happened in 1998, 1960 and 1947. The Bearcats were one of only nine schools to have six or more players drafted this year.

Connecticut had never had a player taken in the first two rounds of the draft before Saturday. Four Huskies went in the first two rounds this year, including the school's first-ever first-rounder, running back Donald Brown.

Rutgers had a record-setting five players drafted, including the Scarlet Knights' first-ever first-rounder, wide receiver Kenny Britt. The most Rutgers had ever previously had drafted in one year was three, in 2007.

Here's a rundown of all the league draft picks and some commentary:

Cincinnati

Player, Position, Round, Team

Connor Barwin, DE, 2, Houston Texans

• DeAngelo Smith, DB, 5, Dallas Cowboys

Brandon Underwood, DB, 6, Green Bay Packers

Mike Mickens, DB, 7, Dallas Cowboys

Trevor Canfield, OG, 7, Arizona Cardinals

Thoughts: Kind of surprising that Mickens went after Underwood and Smith, when he was generally regarded as the best pro prospect of the three for most of his career. The fifth round is lofty territory for a punter, but Huber is that good.

Connecticut

Player, Position, Round, Team

• Donald Brown, RB, 1, Indianapolis Colts

Darius Butler, DB, 2, New England Patriots

Will Beatty, OT, 2, New York Giants

Cody Brown, OLB, 2, Arizona Cardinals

Thoughts: We thought UConn would have a huge day, and the Huskies sure did.

Louisville

Player, Position, Round, Team

Eric Wood, C/OG, 1, Buffalo Bills

George Bussey, OT, 5, New England Patriots

Thoughts: Bussey didn't get much pre-draft buzz, but the Patriots must have liked the former walk-on who became a three-year starter and All-Big East performer. Wood will play guard for the Bills.

Pittsburgh

Player, Position, Round, Team

LeSean McCoy, RB, 2, Philadelphia Eagles

Scott McKillop, LB, 5, San Francisco 49ers

LaRod Stephens-Howling, RB, 7, Arizona Cardinals

Derek Kinder, WR, 7, Chicago Bears

Thoughts: OK, Pitt fans. How do you feel about McCoy going to Philly? Will you still root for him? Getting McKillop in the fifth round seems like a steal.

Rutgers

Player, Position, Round, Team

• Kenny Britt, WR, 1, Tennessee Titans

Mike Teel, QB, 6, Seattle Seahawks

Jason McCourty, DB, 6, Tennessee Titans

Courtney Greene, DB, 7, Seattle Seahawks

Tiquan Underwood, WR, 7, Jacksonville Jaguars

Thoughts: I didn't think Teel would get drafted, but good for him. The Titans and Seahawks must have liked Greg Schiano's program.

South Florida

Player, Position, Round, Team

Tyrone McKenzie, OLB, 3, New England Patriots

Thoughts: Despite all that Florida talent, the Bulls had the smallest draft class in the Big East.

Syracuse

Player, Position, Round, Team

Tony Fiammetta, FB, 4, Carolina Panthers

Ryan Durand, OG, 7, Tennessee Titans

Thoughts: Durand was another guy who wasn't on many mock draft boards. There were some good fullbacks in the Big East, including Pitt's Conredge Collins and Louisville's Brock Bolen. But Fiammetta was the only one drafted.

West Virginia

Player, Position, Round, Team

Pat White, QB/WR, 2, Miami Dolphins

Ellis Lankster, CB, 7, Buffalo
Bills

Pat McAfee, K, 7, Indianapolis

Thoughts: Can't wait to see how the Dolphins, who showed a lot of creativity on offense last year, use White.

Prominent players who went undrafted:

Hunter Cantwell, Louisville

Greg Isdaner and Mortty Ivy, West Virginia

Jamaal Westerman, Rutgers

• C.J. Davis, Pittsburgh

Julius Williams, UConn

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

CINCINNATI -- It's not exactly a nonstop thrill ride here at Nippert today, but Cincinnati goes into halftime up by 10 and just 30 minutes away from an outright Big East title.

The Bearcats have moved the ball efficiently through the air but have backed themselves up too many times with penalties. So after a touchdown drive to start the game, they've had to settle for a pair of Jake Rogers field goals.

Quarterback Tony Pike is 21-of-28 for 195 yards. Wide receiver Dominick Goodman -- who's wearing No. 36 in honor of his father, who played for the Bearcats in the 1980s -- has eight catches for 74 yards. He needs two more receptions to tie the UC single-season record and six more to become the school's career leader.

Syracuse continues to play hard as always, but other than a Tony Fiammetta 58-yard run on a third-and-1 handoff, the Orange offense hasn't done much at all. That play has accounted for more than half of Syracuse's total yards.

The Orange were down 13 in the second half last week and rallied to beat Notre Dame. But Cincinnati is much better than Notre Dame.

In case you're wondering, Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross is in attendance, so if he's interviewing coaches today he's doing it by phone or somewhere in the Cincinnati area. Spotted Gross chatting with Bill Polian in the press box before the game.

Big East lunchtime links

November, 7, 2008
11/07/08
12:57
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

• Louisville is trying to fix its run defense before facing LeSean McCoy on Saturday, C.L Brown writes in The Courier-Journal.

• The Cardinals' own running game may pose problems for Pitt, Paul Zeise writes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Panthers have been using the Wildcat formation with McCoy, but Greg Cross still can't get off the bench, Kevin Gorman writes in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

• West Virginia receiver Dorrell Jalloh wants to go into broadcasting and help kids prepare for college after his playing days are done, Mike Casazza writes in the Charleston Daily Mail.

• Cincinnati kicker Jake Rogers lost his job after missing a couple of extra points in the first game. He worked his way back, and hasn't missed a kick since. Bill Koch has the story in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

• Rutgers is looking for more consistent production from its tight ends, Aditi Kinkhabwala says in the Bergen Record.

• Fullback Tony Fiammetta is the glue to the Orange offense, Dave Rahme writes in the Syracuse Post-Standard. He can also play tight end or H-back and might have a future at the next level.

• South Florida got a rare commitment from a New Jersey recruit, Greg Auman writes in the St. Petersburg Times. The Bulls hardly ever leave their own state for players.

Big East internal affairs

October, 29, 2008
10/29/08
12:02
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Connecticut: Donald Brown's amazing season has left Andre Dixon a forgotten man this season. Dixon actually led the Huskies in rushing last season, but he's only gotten three carries this year as Brown has piled up more than 1,300 yards. Dixon was slowed by an ankle injury at the start of the year but is healthy now. UConn coach Randy Edsall says Dixon hasn't done anything wrong and is contributing on special teams; there just aren't enough handoffs to go around the way Brown is performing.

South Florida: The Bulls' comeback attempt at Louisville was hampered by injuries. Running backs Mike Ford and Jamar Taylor were limited, while starting right tackle Marc Dile (leg), tight end Trent Pupello (head) and linebacker Brouce Mompremier (head) got hurt and had to leave the game. True freshman Danous Estenor took over for Dile, who returned to practice this week. Senior guard Zach Hermann, who has been out since the opener with a broken foot, will travel to Cincinnati and may play.

Syracuse: The Orange hope to have two additions to their backfield on Saturday against Louisville. Fullback Tony Fiammetta should be good to go after missing the South Florida game with a lower leg problem, while backup tailback Delone Carter appears ready after sitting four games with a hamstring injury. Fiammetta is important as both a blocker and in the receiving game, while Carter can either give starting halfback Curtis Brinkley a breather or come in on two-back sets.

Pittsburgh: The season-ending ankle injury to center Robb Houser means that fifth-year senior Dom Williams will return to the starting lineup. Williams will play left guard, while C.J. Davis moves over to center. Williams, the team's oldest player at 24, started the first two games of 2005, including one against this week's opponent, Notre Dame. If Williams falters, Pitt will probably turn to true freshman tackle Lucas Nix.

West Virginia: The Mountaineers shredded Auburn's defense in last week's 34-17 win without one of their most effective offensive players. Backup quarterback Jarrett Brown did not play because of lingering shoulder and thigh injuries. West Virginia had been using Brown in the backfield with Pat White as a blocker/runner/decoy on short-yardage situations. Brown has practiced this week and should be ready to play at Connecticut. Freshman right guard Josh Jenkins, out since the Rutgers game with a knee injury, could return to add depth to the offensive line.

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