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Big East Players to Watch Blog

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 2, 2008


The Big East players to watch and to look out for in each week's games.

Big East Players Blog

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By Dave Gill

Connecticut @ Temple: Tyler Lorenzen QB (6’5 226 pounds) It goes without saying that Connecticut must get better production out of their senior QB if they are going to make any noise in the Big East this season.  Lorenzen was picked off three times in the opener against Hofstra; including two in the red zone.  Against Temple last season Lorenzen was an efficient 19-29 for 222 yards; he will need to provide that kind of mistake free outing again this Saturday to help keep an improved Temple defense from loading the box to stop running back Donald Brown.   

Tennessee Tech @ Louisville: Hunter Cantwell QB (6’4 236 pounds) The Cardinal offense was abysmal against Kentucky in their opener and their senior QB was one of the reasons why.  Cantwell and his mates will have a chance to work out some of the kinks when D-1AA Tennessee Tech visits Papa Johns Stadium.  The Golden Eagles defense gave up an average of 227 yards through the air last season.  Cantwell and his new cast of receivers need to take this opportunity to get the offense going before the team heads into a bye week to prepare for Kansas State on September 17th.

Akron @ Syracuse: Curtis Brinkley RB (5’9 203 pounds) It appeared that Brinkley was going to have a big day against Northwestern early as he broke off a 28 yard run in the Oranges first drive of the season.  Brinkley and the Orange running attack disappeared for the rest of the day as Syracuse rushed for only 122 yards as a team (4.1 yards per carry).  Akron pays the Carrier Dome a visit coming off a 38-17 setback against Wisconsin.  Akron’s defense was toasted for 407 yards on the ground against the Badgers; no one is mistaking Wisconsin’s running game for the Oranges but Brinkley and fellow running back Delone Carter should get plenty of opportunities.

Cincinnati @ Oklahoma: Mike Mickens CB (6’0 170 pounds) Cincinnati’s defense is talented at just about every position on the field but its cornerbacks lead by Mickens are the oil that runs the machine.  Oklahoma is as balanced an offense as you will find in the country making this match-up with the Bearcats one of the most intriguing games of the weekend.  Mickens and fellow cornerback DeAngelo Smith will be asked to cover the Sooner wide receivers with little support as the safeties and linebackers attempt to pressure Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford.  No question the defense will be asked to shoulder the load in this one and create turnovers to help QB Dustin Grutza and the Bearcat offense with field positioning.

West Virginia @ East Carolina: Mortty Ivy LB (6’2 236 pounds) Ivy is the emerging star for an inexperienced Mountaineer defense in 2008.  In the opener against Villanova the senior LB was everywhere accounting for five tackles, one sack, an interception returned for a TD and a fumble recovery he returned 30 yards.  With Reed Williams playing status still in question Ivy becomes the leader of the defensive unit. East Carolina QB Patrick Pinkney was completely shut down in last seasons 48-7 WVU victory tossing for only 43 yards passing and was intercepted by Ivy.  The Pirates appear to be a much improved football season after knocking Virginia Tech in their opener.  In WVU’s last visit to Greenville, North Carolina they defeated the Pirates 27-10 and lead the all-time series 17-2.

Buffalo @ Pittsburgh: Scott McKillop LB (6’2 240 pounds) Pitt’s defense played reasonably well in the season opening lose to Bowling Green and with the offense appearing to be a work in progress McKillop and the defense will again need to shoulder the load against a much improved Buffalo squad.  Bison QB Drew Willy has a streak of 254 pass attempts without an interception; the Panthers need to pressure Willy and force some turnovers in order to give their offense some short fields to work with.  McKillop will also be keying on Buffalo RB James Starks who ran for 179 yards against UTEP.

South Florida @ Central Florida: Mike Ford RB (6’2 225 pounds) Ford is the work horse on the ground for the Bulls and while his play during his freshman campaign was hot and cold Jim Leavitt knows he needs Ford in a big way to help shoulder the load with QB Matt Grothe.  UCF has nine starters back on the defensive side of the ball and pitched a shut out in their opener against South Carolina State.  The Golden Knights strength is in their secondary and that bolds well for Ford who carried the ball eight times for 39 yards in last years 64-12 thrashing of UCF.  South Florida leads the all time series 3-0 which will come to end after this years game.

Rutgers: Off