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Big East Bloggers Week Twelve Review
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CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 22, 2011


Each week CFN’s Big East Bloggers put the previous weekend under the microscope, looking for the Lucky 7


MB is Marc Basham, JB is Jon Berke, RG is Randy Gyorko, and SK is Scott King.


1. OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Jawan Jamison; RB, Rutgers
MB: Jawan Jamison; RB, Rutgers – In a week of less than stellar Big East football across the board, Jamison provided fans of the conference with an offensive bright spot, racking up 200 yards and 2 TDs in a big win over Cincinnati.
JB: Jawan Jamison; RB, Rutgers – Jamison basically WAS the offense for the Scarlet Knights in their huge upset over Cincinnati. He carried the ball 34 times for 200 yards and a pair of TDs. Rutgers’s defense obviously was a big part of their victory, but Jamison was the Scarlet Knights’ single most valuable player.
RG: Jawan Jamison; RB, Rutgers – In a game the Scarlet Knights had to win, Jamison was the workhorse Rutgers needed. The game plan was to frustrate Munchie Legeaux on defense and controlling the ball on offense. Jamison provided the latter. 200 yards and 2 TDs make Jawan a runaway for this award.
SK: Jawan Jamison; RB, Rutgers– Jamison and the Rutgers offensive line pounded the 2nd best run defense in the nation going into the game for 200 yards. Jamison also scored twice. His most impressive runs came when Cincinnati pinned Rutgers at the 6, and Jamison broke out for 21 and 29. Jamison got nearly halfway to his season total in a career game.


2. DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
MB: Dexter Heyman; LB, Louisville – With a BCS bowl on the line week in and week out for much of the conference, solid performances are key to playing in January. With 7 tackles, a sack and and interception in a win against Connecticut, Heyman stepped up his game, leading the Cardinals defense and putting them one step closer to an improbable BCS berth.
JB: Steve Beauharnais; LB, Rutgers – Beauharnais is acting as a placeholder for the entire D (and because I can’t choose Munchie Legaux as the best player on Rutgers’s defense). He had 5 tackles, 3 of which were for a loss, and helped lead a stifling Scarlet Knights effort for the entire day.
RG: Dexter Heyman; LB, Louisville – I wanted to pick the entire South Florida defense and offense here, but I decided to go with an individual. Heyman had a Sack, an INT, and 3.5 tackles for loss in the Cardinals victory at UCONN. Louisville is in a tie for first place. Thanks to their defense.
SK: Dexter Heyman ; LB, Louisville – Heyman made a lot of big plays for the Louisville defense as they shut down UConn. Heyman had 3 and a half tackles for a loss to go with a sack and an INT. Heyman is the leader of the Louisville defense that has come on strong in conference play.


3. SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Adrian Bushell; KR, Louisville
MB: Adrian Bushell; KR, Louisville – With a 100 yard kick return for TD to open up the game, Bushell helped set the pace for the Cardinals in their win at Connecticut.
JB: Adrian Bushell; KR, Louisville – Bushell had 2 kick returns in Lousiville’s win over UConn. One began the game, and went 100 yards for a TD. Great way to start the day off for his team. Louisville’s kick return unit did a great job as a whole, really (38 yards-per-return on the day).
RG: Adrian Bushell; KR, Louisville – I love kickoff returns for TD. Love them. Most exciting play in football. Bushell provided me that excitement with his electrifying 100 yard return on the opening kickoff. He set the tone and jumpstarted the Cards on their way to the top of the league standings.
SK: Adrian Bushell; KR, Louisville – Bushell wins the award for the second time this year because of his explosive work on special teams. This time he took the opening kickoff 100 yards for a score. That set the pace and Louisville never really looked back.


4. COACH OF THE WEEK
MB: Greg Schiano; Rutgers – For years, Schiano has preached to the Scarlet Knights to “Keep Chopping.” After a dominating victory over Cincinnati this week, Schiano’s squad looks like it might ‘chop’ its way to the most unlikely of BCS berths in recent memory. After being unanimously chosen last in most preseason polls, the Knights currently sit tied atop the Big East standings. Whether they succeed or fall short, no question Schiano deserves Coach of the Year for the job he has done this season.
JB: Charlie Strong; Louisville - It would have been far too easy for the Cardinals to lose their focus after a tough loss at home against Pitt last week. The game cost them a lot of positive momentum, and a 3-game winning streak. A roadie @Connecticut (who was coming off a big win over Syracuse) could have easily led to another loss. Instead, Strong had his team ready to go from the opening kick (returned for a TD), and the Cardinal breezed to a relatively easy victory. With the win, Louisville is currently tied atop the Big East standings, and still has a shot at a BCS bowl game.
RG: Greg Schiano; Rutgers – Anytime I get to reference some good old fashioned wood chopping, I can’t pass it up. Schiano has had a wonderful bounce back season in Piscataway. No wins have been bigger than the upset over first place Cincinnati. The Rutgers defense was suffocating, and the offense balanced in the ‘never in doubt’ victory.
SK: Greg Schiano ; Rutgers – Rutgers launched the perfect game plan to beat Cincinnati. They took away Isaiah Pead and the UC running game, 28 for Pead, 67 total. They forced Munchie Legaux to beat them with his arm, which he could not do. Offensively they went with a game plan to pound Cincinnati up front, and pound them they did. The worst rushing offense in the league put up 212 yards total. The 23 play, near 10 minute drive said a lot about how Rutgers was going to play Saturday.


5. BEST GAME OF THE WEEK
MB: Louisville v. Connecticut – While the final score does not reflect it, the battle between the Cardinals and Huskies was the most exciting game in a fairly bare week of Big East football. The Huskies remained within realistic striking distance throughout much of the game, even cutting the deficit to within one score late in the fourth quarter. However, Charlie Strong’s Cardinals were just too much to handle on this day in an entertaining affair.
JB: Miami v. South Florida – Not much to choose from, here. The UM-USF game was at least close throughout, and featured a winning field goal as time expired. Both defenses played extremely tough. USF’s unit in particular was able to deny the Hurricanes time after time, as their offense sputtered. However, Jacory Harris’s clutch play on the final drive of the game proved too much for the Bulls, who lost their 5th game over the last 6.
RG: Miami v. USF – In a game that would’ve left Les Miles and Nick Saban’s bedsheets wet, Miami and USF decided to play nothing but defense for 60 minutes. The fact that this game was a nobrainer pick says all you need to know about the Big East slate this weekend.
SK: Miami v. USF – This was the closest game of the week. If you love punts, you would have really loved this one. BJ Daniels getting hurt put a damper on things. Miami hit a last second FG to win. As we’ve seen around the college football landscape, last second FGs are not easy.


6. BIGGEST SURPRISE OF THE WEEK
MB: South Florida – Saying that the Bulls haven’t given their fans much to cheer about recently is an understatement. However, Skip Holtz’s squad gave fans reason to cheer for a while in a sloppy, defensive matchup against Miami. While the Bulls lost 6-3 thanks to a Hurricanes field goal as time expired, holding their own against their in-state rivals provided a bit of solace for Bulls fans, who have come to expect the worst each season when the calender switches into October.
JB: Rutgers over Cincy – The Scarlet Knights have had an excellent season. They haven’t looked outclassed in a single game. Even so, it would have been hard to pick against the Bearcats before last Saturday. Cincinnati has definitely gotten the better of Rutgers since joining the Big East, going 5-1 against the Scarlet Knights in that span. One dominating defensive performance later, and the Scarlet Knights are looking like the class of the conference - no caveats.
RG: Louisville in first place – Who could’ve possibly guessed that the Cardinals would be in first place going into their final conference game in Tampa against USF? Charlie Strong was going to get Louisville back, but this soon? I don’t think anybody had this pegged. Even Strong, who this week said his Cardinals weren’t a very good football team. The rest of the Big East begs to differ.
SK: Louisville – The Louisville Cardinals, who were 2-4, are being projected to go to the Orange Bowl. That’s insane. Their biggest obstacle is this week, playing at South Florida, where Louisville traditionally gets pounded. Louisville being in first place going into their last game of the season is something not even the biggest homer Card fans saw coming.


7. BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE WEEK
MB: Cincinnati's Offense – While the Bearcats deserve a pass this week due to the loss of Zach Collaros, watching their offense, which has been one of the most efficient and effective in the conference, was rough. It seemed the Bearcats couldn’t move the ball at all against the Scarlet Knights. While it’s easy to blame Munchie Legaux, the entire offense, including all-conference RB Isaiah Pead, failed to perform in a key match-up as the conference title race goes down to the wire.
JB: Munchie Legaux – It’s never easy replacing a starting QB. It’s made even harder when that QB is a Conference 1st-team player like Zach Collaros. Nevertheless, Legaux was nothing short of a disaster against Rutgers. After a surprisingly-successful stint last week against West Virginia, Legaux had some momentum coming into last Saturday. That is now all gone. Butch Davis needs to figure out a solution fast, before UC falls from leading the conference into its bottom third.
RG: USF – One week after a big win in the Carrier Dome, USF came back to earth. 3 points? 3 points? I feel like Bob Uecker in Major League. I’ll spare you the expletive, but c’mon USF. You weren’t playing the Pittsburgh Steelers. The sad thing is that the Big East title is likely going to be decided in Tampa over the next two weeks, as the Bulls host both Louisville and West Virginia.
SK: Cincinnati – The Bearcats went from controlling the Big East race after the Pittsburgh win to needing help to win the league in the span of two weeks. Cincinnati looked completely lost without Zach Collaros offensively. Their defense was hammered the whole game. UC couldn’t get off the field on 3rd downs on defense, and couldn’t stay on the field on 3rd downs offensively. Butch Jones is opening up the QB spot as UC spirals out of the Big East hunt.


Please follow Scott King @BearcatsBlog, Jon Berke @jonbcfn, Randy Gyorko @gyorkocfn and Marc Basham @marc_b.