Around The Big East - A Look At The Weekend Football Slate
The weekend schedule features four home games, four road games, and seven televised contests.
Sept. 16, 2005
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CBS Sportsline.com rated the BIG EAST Conference's 2005 schedule the toughest in the country (Click here to look at the complete CBS Sportline.com schedule ratings). The BIG EAST schedule is particularly strong this weekend when BIG EAST Conference teams play three ACC opponents, one team from the Big 12 and one from the PAC 10. Take an inside look at all eight of Saturday's matchups:
OREGON STATE at LOUISVILLE: On Saturday at Noon on ESPN, Louisville (1-0) plays host to the Oregon State Beavers (2-0). This is the first meeting between Louisville and Oregon State. It is the 2005 home opener for the Cardinals. Last season, Louisville was 5-0 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. UL won its 2005 season opener at Kentucky on Sept. 4, 31-24. Running back Michael Bush ran for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Cardinal defensive end Elvis Dumervil leads the nation in sacks, after setting a BIG EAST record with six versus the Wildcats. Oregon State improved to 2-0 on the season after rallying to defeat Boise State, 30-27, on Sept. 10 in Corvallis. Beaver quarterback Matt Moore completed 27-of-38 for 279 yards and one touchdown. Placekicker Alexis Serna kicked three field goals - 40, 32 and 29 yards. Oregon State is averaging 340.5 yards in the air through its first two games. Moore has 646 passing yards and five touchdowns. Wideout Matt Haas has 20 catches for 333 yards and two scores.
VIRGINIA at SYRACUSE: In another nationally televised Noon game, Syracuse (1-1) hosts the Virginia Cavaliers (1-0) on ESPN2. Syracuse leads the overall series versus Virginia, 2-1. The Cavaliers took last season's meeting, 31-10, on Sept. 25 in Charlottesville. SU running back Damien Rhodes scored Syracuse's only touchdown in the game on a two-yard run. The Cavaliers out-gained the Orange, 427-254, in total offense. Virginia won its 2005 season opener, 31-19, versus Western Michigan on Sept. 3 at home. Western Michigan rallied from a 24-3 deficit to cut the Cavalier lead to 24-19 in the third quarter, but a Cedric Peerman one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter sealed the victory for Virginia. Quarterback Marques Hagans was 17-of-25 for 252 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Hagans also ran for a touchdown. Virginia was 8-3 in 2004. After UVa., SU plays three of the next four on the road.
WEST VIRGINIA at MARYLAND: Also on Saturday at Noon, West Virginia (2-0) plays at the University of Maryland (1-1), in a contest televised regionally by Jefferson Pilot Sports (Clearance List). Maryland holds a narrow 21-20-2 lead in the all-time series versus West Virginia. The Mountaineers took last season's meeting in overtime, 19-16, in Morgantown. WVU gained 220 yards on the ground in the game, including 142 yards and one touchdown from running back Kay-Jay Harris. West Virginia has lost the last three games in College Park. The Terrapins won their season-opener versus Navy, 23-20, but fell at home on Saturday to No. 25 Clemson, 28-24. Maryland quarterback Sam Hollenbach is 37-of-58 for 505 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions through two games. D'Qwell Jackson leads the Terrapin defense. Jackson had a team-high 34 tackles on the year. Since 1980, WVU has started 2-0 on 15 occasions. Only three of those teams did not end up in a bowl game.
PITTSBURGH at NEBRASKA: At 3:30 p.m., in a game being carried by ABC, Pittsburgh (0-2) plays in Lincoln, Neb., versus the Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-0). Pittsburgh holds a 15-5-3 lead in the all-time series versus Nebraska. The Cornhuskers won last season's meeting, 24-17, on Sept. 18. Pitt quarterback Tyler Palko was 22-of-45 for 228 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Four Panther turnovers led to 17 points for the Huskers in the game. Nebraska is 2-0 this season after defeating Wake Forest, 31-3, on Sept. 10 in Lincoln. The Huskers got three defensive touchdowns against Wake Forest - a 38-yard interception return by Corey McKeon, a 30-yard fumble recovery for a score by Dan Bullocks, and a 43-yard interception return by Stewart Bradley. Running back Cory Ross has 203 yards and one touchdown through two games.
CONNECTICUT at GEORGIA TECH: On ESPNU at 6:45 p.m., Connecticut (2-0) plays at Georgia Tech (2-0). Connecticut has two shutouts in 2005 (38-0 over Buffalo and 59-0 versus Liberty) The Huskies have outscored opponents 97-0 through two games. Georgia Tech leads the all-time series versus Connecticut by a 2-0 margin. The Yellow Jackets won last season's meeting, 30-10, on Nov. 13 in Atlanta. UConn ran for only 20 yards versus Georgia Tech last year. This Connecticut team is averaging 333.0 yards rushing through the first two games os 2005. Georgia Tech is 2-0 in 2005, after a 31-27 week two victory at North Carolina. Quarterback Reggie Ball completed 24-of-47 for 320 yards and two touchdowns. Ball also ran for a 9-yard score. Through two games, Ball has 494 yards passing and three touchdowns. UConn is the first team in 10 years to open its season with two straight shutouts. The last team to do it was the Auburn in 1996 (beat UAB 29-0 and Fresno 62-0).
WESTERN CAROLINA at CINCINNATI: Cincinnati (1-1) returns home on Saturday to take on Western Carolina (2-0) at 7:00 p.m. This is the first meeting between Western Carolina and Cincinnati. The Catamounts are 2-0 in 2005 with wins over Mars Hill (21-7) and Furman (41-21). Western Carolina running back Darius Fudge had 133 yards rushing and one touchdown versus Furman. The Catamounts intercepted Furman quarterback Ingle Martin five times. Western Carolina has six rushing touchdowns through two games. Defensively, the Catamounts have nine interceptions on the season. Cincinnati freshman quarterback Dustin Grutza has completed 44-of-73 passes for 462 yards and three touchdowns through the first two games of 2005.
CENTRAL FLORIDA at USF: A new intrastate rivalry begins Saturday when UCF (0-1) travels to Tampa to take on the USF Bulls (1-1) at 7:00 p.m. The game can be seen locally on FSN Florida. It is the first meeting between UCF and USF. This is the second straight game against a Florida opponent for USF, but only the third meeting ever versus a Sunshine State opponent. The Bulls defeated Florida A&M, 37-3, on Sept. 10 in Tampa. USF will also play a Florida opponent later in the season, traveling to Miami on Oct. 1. The Golden Knights are 0-1 in 2005. UCF lost on Sept. 1 at South Carolina, 24-15. Golden Knight quarterback Steven Moffett completed 27-of-39 passes for 258 yards, one touchdown and one interception. UCF's last game against a BIG EAST opponent came in 2004, with West Virginia defeating the Golden Knights in Orlando, 45-20.
RUTGERS at BUFFALO: The weekend schedule winds down on Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. when Rutgers (1-1) travels to Buffalo, N.Y., to play the Buffalo Bulls (0-2). The game is being televised locally on the YES Network. This is the third straight game for Buffalo against a BIG EAST opponent. The Bulls were shut out in each of the first two weeks - 38-0 at Connecticut and 31-0 at Syracuse. Rutgers is 3-1 all-time against Buffalo. The two teams last met on Aug. 30, 2003, with the Scarlet Knights defeating the Bulls at home, 24-10. Rutgers wideout Tres Moses scored twice in the game for the Scarlet Knights - first on a 66-yard punt return and later on a 15-yard pass from Ryan Hart. Moses caught five passes for 47 yards and a touchdown. Hart completed 21-of-31 passes for 225 yards and one touchdown. Rutgers is currently first in the BIG EAST in passing offense (309.0), second in total offense (445.5) and second in scoring (34.0).
The West Virginia at Maryland, Central Florida at USF and Rutgers at Buffalo contests will be carried on ESPN's Gameplan.