2011 CFN Big East Week 1 Roundup & Picks

Posted Sep 5, 2011

2011 CFN Big East Week 1 Staff Picks, Roundup, & More

2011 Big East Week 1

- Cincinnati | Connecticut | Louisville | Pittsburgh
- Rutgers | South Florida | Syracuse | West Virginia


Player of the Week

USF S Jerrell Young made seven tackles with an interception and a forced fumble in the 23-20 win over Notre Dame.

Three Best Games of the Week

1. at Syracuse 36 … Wake Forest 29 OT
2. South Florida 23 … at Notre Dame 20  
3. at West Virginia 34 … Marshall 13  

Big East Standings
  Conf. Overall
Cincinnati 0 0 1 0
Conn. 0 0 1 0
Louisville 0 0 1 0
Pitt 0 0 1 0
Rutgers 0 0 1 0
Syracuse 0 0 1 0
USF 0 0 1 0
W. Virginia 0 0 1 0
Players of the Week
9/3 USF S Jerrell Young

Games of the Week
9/3 at Syracuse 36 … Wake Forest 29 OT 
Cincinnati at Cincinnati 72 … Austin Peay 10 … It was only against Austin Peay, but after a rough year offensively last season the Bearcats needed a cathartic moment, and they got it with 387 rushing yards and six scores, spread around among 13 players, and with Zach Collaros completing 12-of-19 passes for 134 yards and four scores, everything clicked. The defense gave up some yards, but it also forced five turnovers on the way to a blowout. No, this doesn't mean everything is back to 2009 form, but for Butch Jones, it was a statement game to kick off the season before going to Tennessee.

Connecticut at Connecticut 35 .. Fordham 3 … The Huskies weren't going to have anything more than a light scrimmage against an overmatched Fordham team, and they played around with several options and got several players time including Lyle McCombs, who was a bit of a surprise as the main back and came through big with 24 carries for 141 yards and four scores. UConn won't have any problems running the ball, but the passing game has to click better than it did last year, and John McEntee was solid completing 8-of-12 passes for 113 yards. He didn't have to push it like he'll have to at Vanderbilt next week, but he showed enough to stay ahead of Mike Nebrich and Scott McCummings.

Louisville Louisville 21 … Murray State 9 … The Cardinals came out effective with Will Stein coming up with a nice, effective game completing 17-of-32 passes for 226 yards and two sores, but the running game was mediocre as the revamped offensive line struggled to generate a push. And then the O fell totally flat. The four turnovers were a big problem and the ten penalties killed any semblance of consistency, but the big problem was the inability to finish off drives. The Cardinals put it away early with a 21-0 lead, and the defense did its part against a dangerous Murray State offense, but the mistakes have to be kept to a minimum against FIU next week. Star quarterback recruit Teddy Bridgewater was supposed to see plenty of time, but he only threw one pass and it got picked off.

Pitt at Pitt 36 … Buffalo 16  … This couldn't have been the way Todd Graham wanted to kick off his era, but the offense perked up in the second half just in time to put the game away. QB Tino Sunseri was fine, and Ray Graham was tremendous with 201 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries, but the offense almost never had the ball. Buffalo controlled the clock for almost 39 minutes with third down conversion after third down conversion, and while the Panther defense stiffened when needed, this wasn't a good sign with Iowa coming up in a few weeks. The front line has to get more of a pass rush, and while Brandon Lindsey got a sack and seven tackles, there needs to be more pressure from the front line.

Rutgers at Rutgers 48 … NC Central 0  ... After a down year, Rutgers needed to come out and blow someone away. Beating NC Central isn't any big deal, but still, it was a cathartic moment that showed off some of the great young talents. Savon Huggins only ran for 32 yards and averaged 3.2 yards per carry, but he showed a spark in the red zone. The defense was phenomenal at getting behind the line, coming up with nine sacks and 15 tackles for loss, with the wealth spread around, and the front seven was swarming like it was a few years ago. It would be nice if Gary Nova was a little sharper throwing the ball, but Chas Dodd was decent in his little bit of time. Going forward, the quarterbacks have to be more accurate after combining to complete 15-of-34 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns with a pick.

South Florida South Florida 23 … at Notre Dame 20 … The Bulls didn't exactly do much on offense with a mere 128 passing yards and 126 on the ground, but there weren't any turnovers. The nine penalties were a problem, but considering the rain delays and with the major momentum swing after the first stoppage, the Bulls did more than okay. The story is more about how the Irish messed things up, but USF did its part to force the errors. No matter how it might have looked and no matter how mediocre the offense was, a win at Notre Dame is a win at Notre Dame. Now it should be smooth sailing for the next three weeks before going to Pitt. Yes, this was a statement game for Skip Holtz's program.

Syracuse at Syracuse 36 … Wake Forest 29 OT … Syracuse might have played it too cautiously at the end of regulation before getting its possible game-winning field goal blocked, but the brilliant play by Ryan Nassib to Van Chew to end in overtime will overshadow just how strong the team was in the fourth quarter. Antwon Bailey came up with a brilliant game with 25 carries for 114 yards and two scores, but it's Nassib who managed to keep the game rolling, even though the Orange were lousy when moving the chains. The problem was that the offense wasn't consistent and didn't do nearly enough until it absolutely had to. The defense struggled way too much, especially in the secondary, but the pass rush helped the cause in the second half generating enough pressure to stop the Demon Deacon offense when needed. There's one more week of tune-up with Rhode Island up next before going to USC, and now, after a confidence-builder like this, the team should be ready. The Orange wouldn't have won this type of game last year.

West Virginia at West Virginia 34 … Marshall 13 … The real story might have been the weather and the rain and lightning delay, and while the offense didn't quite roll as expected with just 291 total yards, everything worked out fine. Geno Smith was as strong as expected throwing for 249 yards with two scores, but too many drives ended with field goals instead of touchdowns early on. The Mountaineers should've put the game well out of reach early on, but they were always in control. With Norfolk State up next, the O gets another game to tune up before going to Maryland and getting to deal with LSU. The running game didn't work against Marshall, and it's not going to work against LSU; this season is all about Smith.

Thursday, Sept. 1

at Louisville 21 ... Murray State 9
 - The Cardinals Sputter In 2nd Half
CFN Prediction: Louisville 24-14

at Rutgers 48 ... NC Central 0

- Huggins shines in easy win
CFN Prediction: Rutgers 49-6

at Syracuse 36 ... Wake Forest 29 OT
- Hassib comes through in big 4th quarter
CFN Prediction: Syracuse 27-17
Line: Syracuse -7 O/U: 49

Saturday, Sept. 3

at Connecticut 35 ... Fordham 3
- What Happened? ... The Game Story
CFN Prediction: Connecticut 58-3

South Florida 23 ... at Notre Dame 20
- What Happened? ... The Game Story
CFN Prediction: Notre Dame 24-20
Line: Notre Dame -10   O/U: 47

at Pitt 35 ... Buffalo 16
- What Happened? ... The Game Story
CFN Prediction: Pittsburgh 41-10
Line: Pitt -29.5   O/U: 52.5

at Cincinnati 72 ... Austin Peay 10
- What Happened? ... The Game Story
CFN Prediction: Cincinnati 55 … Austin Peay 10

Sunday, Sept. 4

at West Virginia 34 ... Marshall 13
 - What Happened? ... The Game Story
CFN Prediction: West Virginia 28-16
Line: West Virginia -21  O/U: 52