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What the coaches are saying about the state of the Big East


Two Big East teams had close calls against top-10 ranked opponents, but the league continues to fall short in big games against teams from other BCS conferences. 

The bottom line is that Big East is without a ranked team now.   

"It’s way too early to judge anything," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said.  "I do know that leagues go through ebbs and flows.  Who knows what this one will be when you look back at the end of 2010."

"There are a lot of football games left," Louisville coach Charlie Strong pointed out.  "There will be some (Big East) teams ranked because there will be teams that play themselves back into the picture."

"It is early in the season and I would just ask everyone to just wait and see where things are two months from now come December," Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said.   "It is a slow start, there is no question about that.   Everybody has their reasons but there is a lot of football left to be played."

"I think it is just one of those years," South Florida coach Skip Holtz said.  "I look at our game against Florida and if we don’t turn the ball over five times, that’s a classic college football game that goes down to the wire.

"I watched the West Virginia/LSU game and I though that was a very competitive game.  We are just not closing the door On these games.)   I still think this is a good football conference and a good league," Holtz said. 

"I think the Big East is as strong as any conference," Cincinnati coach Butch Jones said.   "You have to go back and (look at) the history and past bowl game performances.

"I also think it is a product of having some very young football teams in our conference,"  Jones said.  "In our case, we had a total of 12 players on the field in the Oklahoma game that played offense or defense in the Sugar Bowl last year.   A lot of it is that we are very youthful in our conference right now."

Cincinnati–like the Mountaineers against LSU–turned the ball over four times early and fell behind No. 8 Oklahoma 24-9.    Still, the Bearcats played their best half of football in the second half against  the Sooners and the improvements are starting to become evident. 

The biggest positive for Cincinnati coming out of the Oklahoma game was the re-emergence of junior running  back Isaiah Pead.  Pead missed most of the last two games with a leg injury but he ran strong in the second half against the Sooners as he finished with 169 yards on the ground. 

Receiver/returner D.J. Woods committed two early fumbles in the game but Jones stuck with him.   Woods also played much better in the second half as  he finished with 171 yards on seven receptions and a touchdown. 

The Cincinnati offensive line allowed three more sacks to run the team total to 18–which is still the worst in the nation.   Still the line showed a little improvement.   

The crowd of 58,263 at Paul Brown Stadium was the second largest to ever watch the Bearcats in Cincinnati.  Only  the crowd of 66,139 for the UC-Ohio State game at Paul Brown in 2002 was bigger.

Cincinnati is off this week.   The Bearcats will host long time rival Miami of Ohio on Oct. 9 at Nippert Stadium.   That will be followed by the start of Big East play at Louisville Oct. 15.


Connecticut coach Randy Edsall has made the move to Cody Endres at quarterback

Endres sparked UConn in the second half against Buffalo.  He entered a contest that was tied 14-14 at the half.   Endres–replacing Zach Frasier–went 7-11 for 139 yards and two touchdowns in Connecticuts eventual 45-21 win.

"We were stagnant and not taking advantage of the field position we had,"  Edsall said.   "I just felt it was time to make the change.  Cody came in and gave us a spark so he will be starting this week."   

Endres was reinstated to the team this week after serving a month long suspension for an unspecified violation of school policies. The junior played in seven games last season, starting six, and threw for 1,354 yards and six touchdowns, before suffering a shoulder injury that ended his season last year.  Now it is his team again.

"He was leading the team down the field and we were scoring," Edsall said.  "We were more productive.   He was getting the ball out of his hand and he was putting it on the money.  We were scoring points."

Connecticut also had the BIg East Conference defensive player of the week in sophomore linebacker Sio Moore.

Moore had a game- and career-high 16 tackles with an interception in his first career start.

UConn will host Vanderbilt Saturday.

Rutgers quarterback Tom Savage suffered a rib injury during the Scarlett Knights loss to North Carolina Saturday.   His status for this week’s game at home against Tulane is unknown.

It was a very physical football game,  "Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said.   "There were a lot of guys (banged) up."    

Savage was hurt late in the first half when he was hit by Tar Heels linebacker Bruce Carter as he released the ball on an incomplete pass to wide receiver Mohamed Sanu.  Savage returned to the game late in the first half.   He remained on the bench at the start of the second half but he managed to lobby his was back into the contest later in the third quarter.  Savage will likely be allowed to play in the Tulane game unless it is determined he has broken ribs. 

After his injury, Savage struggled to make plays as he finished 16-29 for 150 yards and no touchdowns.  He threw a pair of drive killing interceptions including one with 2:42 to go at the North Carolina six yard line.   Rutgers was driving for a touchdown that could have put them in the lead of a game they lost 17-13.  Savage was sacked a total of four times in the game. 

The Tulane team that will visit Rutgers Saturday is coming off a 42-23 loss at Houston.  It was the Conference USA opener for 1-2 Tulane.   

Louisville is coming off a bye week.   The Cardinals are hoping the offensive momentum from their game at Oregon State two weeks ago continues, but they will have to do it without leading receiver Doug Beaumont.

"Doug had surgery on his knee," Louisville coach Charlie Strong confirmed Monday.   "We will see how long he is out."

Beaumont was hobbled in the Oregon State game, but he will produced nine receptions for 121 yards. 

The breakout performer in that one for the Cardinals was Louisville quarterback Adam Froman.   Froman was 22-38 for 288 yards and a touchdown.  He also rushed for 46 yards and two scores  as Louisville out gained Oregon State 453-319.     

Louisville will play a second consecutive road game as it visits Arkansas State Saturday night.


Pitt is coming off a 31-3 loss to Miami from last Thursday.   

"It was tough to move the ball on them," Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said.   "We struggled making first downs and keeping any drives alive.

"It really highlights the point that we have a lot of work to do," Wannstedt said. 

"The Panthers will host an 0-3 Florida International team that has played Rutgers, Texas A&M and Maryland so far.   The Golden Panthers were in every one of those games losing 19-14 to Rutgers and 27-20 to A&M.  Last week in a 42-28 loss to Maryland, FIU had the ball deep in Maryland territory late but could not get any points.  

Pitt could have issues against a Florida International spread offense that threw for 355 yards and had 472 total yards against Maryland.   

And the Pitt defense finished that Miami game without three key starters.    Defensive end Greg Romeus is out until at least November after undergoing back surgery .    Safety Dom DeCicco pulled a hamstring and had to come out of the Miami game after 13 plays including an interception.   Linebacker Dan Mason also suffered a dislocated knee in that game.  

Pitt hosts Florida International this week prior to Notre Dame next week. 


South Florida handed Western Kentucky a 24th consecutive loss Saturday but not before the Hilltoppers made it interesting with two fourth quarter touchdown passes.    The Bulls won the game 24-12 as they did an excellent job slowing Western Kentucky running back Bobby Rainey   Rainey came in as the fifth-leading rusher in the nation.   He was held to just 64 yards on 21 carries.   It was the first time this season he was held under 10-0 yards.   

South Florida Running back Demetris Murray posted his first career 100 yard game as he finished with 115 yards on 15 carries.  The Bulls churned out 226 of their 283 offensive yards on the ground, including all three touchdowns.

South Florida will host Florida Atlantic this week. 

Syracuse had the conference offensive player of the week in running back Delone Carter.  

Carter’s career-high rushing performance in Saturday’s 42-7 victory over Colgate as he gained  172 yards on 14 carries and matched his career best with four touchdowns. Carter scored on TD runs of 24, 9, 12 and 18 yards.

Carter is currently third in rushing in the Big East with 104.8 yards per game. He also leads the conference with five rushing touchdowns. He now ranks 11th on the Syracuse all-time career rushing list with 2,290 yards.

Syracuse is off this week.   The Big East opener is next for the 3-1 Orange Oct. 9 at South Florida. 

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