Not so easy in the Big East
Notebook: Opportunities, challenges on slate for Week 3
With teams looking to separate themselves in the conference, Week 3 of the college football season will go a long way to see how things stack up in the long run for the Big East.
Connecticut vs. Maryland: The Huskies will travel to College Park to take on former coach Randy Edsall for the first time since Edsall left them to head up the Terps.
While emotions will be running high, UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni will be looking to keep his team focused as they look to rebound from their tough loss.
“We had a very tough game, physical, close game,” Pasqualoni said. “From our standpoint we are just going to get read to play the game and not get distracted by everything else.”
Pittsburgh vs. Virginia Tech: Coach Paul Chryst will take a winless squad to Hinze Field to take on the 13th-ranked Hokies in what could either be a statement win for the struggling Panthers or another nail in the team’s slowly forming coffin. Chryst is confident that his team is up to the task.
“What a great opportunity for them to come into Hinze Field and for us to play them,” Chryst said. “Every great challenge, which I think this is, presents a great opportunity.”
Rutgers vs. South Florida: Two very different teams will face off in a game that will have major repercussions in the conference. USF’s high-flying offense will try to crack a Rutgers defense that has only allowed 12 points on the season.
“They’ve got a very good defensive football team,” USF coach Skip Holtz said of his competition. “It’s scheme, it’s talent, it’s the way that they run and they are very physical and it’ll be a great challenge for our offense.”
• The Bearcats have the early lead in the conference with a win against Pitt thanks to 259 yards on the ground, including 117 from quarterback Munchie Legaux and two scores from George Winn. The junior signal caller started just his fourth game for UC adding two touchdown passes to Ralph Abernathy to his impressive rushing total.
Defensive lineman Walter Stewart took home Big East Defensive Player of the Week honors with nine tackles and 2 sacks.
Next Game: vs. Northern Iowa Sept. 15
South Florida (2-0)
• B.J. Daniels’ late game heroics saved the day for the day for USF as the Bulls quarterback tossed the winning score to Big East Offensive Player of the Week Andre Davis with only 38 seconds left to play. Daniels’s three touchdowns to go with 363 passing yards saved a Bull defense that gave up 278 rushing to the Wolf Pack.
Next Game: vs. Rutgers Sept. 13
• The Panthers could be in for a long season after being outscored 65-27 in the team’s first two games. Chryst is certain however that his team’s difficulties are self-inflicted.
“I think [Saturday] we played against two opponents,” Chryst said. “We played against ourselves and we played against Cincinnati. I think you got to fight through it…you got to focus on the things you can control. You got to be careful especially guys that care a lot and want to do more than maybe they should be doing.”
Next Game: vs. No. 13 Virginia Tech Sept. 15
• The Orange actually outgained the No. 2-ranked Trojans 455 to 445 and only trailed by five in the fourth quarter before Matt Barkley exploded for three touchdowns. Quarterback Ryan Nassib impressed again with another 322 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Next Game: vs. Stony Brook Sept. 15
• The Scarlet Knights pitched their seventh shutout against Howard becoming the only team since 2007 to do so and shut the Bison down for only 149 total yards and blocked two kicks. Rutgers sustained some major injuies with center Betim Bujari, defensive end Marcus Thompson running back Savon Huggins and guard Andre Civil all leaving the game and are currently listed as questionable for the Scarlet Knights’ first conference game against USF.
“I think all four guys on a short week, if you can’t finish a game, it’s hard to foresee playing in a short week,” Coach Kyle Flood said.
Next Game: vs. South Florida Sept. 13
• Through two games Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has a completion percentage of 81.7 and a quarterback rating of 173.3 and looked sharp shredding Missouri State for 344 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Next Game: vs. North Carolina Sept. 15
• The Huskies were scoreless through three quarters against NC State until running back Lyle McCombs scored Connecticut’s only touchdown. Both teams combined for only 497 yards in the lowest scoring game of the conference. Despite the loss, the Huskie defense is still formidable. Senior defensive end Trevardo Williams is third in nation with 3.5 sacks and leads a team tied for fifth in sacks in college football.
Next Game: vs. Maryland Sept. 15
• The Owls managed only 52 total rushing yards on 39 carries for a pathetic 1.3 yards per carry against an average Terrapin defense. The Temple defense, which held Villanova to only 10 points the week before, could not rattle Maryland’s true freshman quarterback Perry Hills who accounted for three of the Terp’s four touchdowns.
Next Game: vs. Penn State Sept. 22