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Big East Roundup: Upset Alert for Louisville, Game of the Week

It’s going to be a busy day in Big East football on Saturday and for Louisville (5-0), the team will finally kick off its conference play against the Pittsburgh Panthers (2-3, 0-2). For the Cardinals, they will need to put last year’s loss in the back of their minds and not have history repeat itself.

After a good showing last Friday by Syracuse (2-3, 1-0) in a 14-13 win against Pitt, the Orange will try for a 2-0 conference start not seen since 2001 by upsetting ranked Rutgers.

#18 Louisville vs. Pittsburgh 

Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater

Last year, the Panthers upset the Cardinals 21-14 and knocked the team out of an opportunity for a BCS berth. In their last four meetings, they have owned them and they will look to make it number five on Saturday.

The Cardinals had a bye last week but on September’s last Saturday, they defeated Southern Mississippi 21-17 in poor weather conditions.

They have Teddy Bridgewater as their quarterback and in last year’s meeting, he was 18 for 26, 165 yards, one touchdown and one pick. He is off to a good start this year and to-date, he is 100 for 137 (a nice 73 percent completion rate), 1134 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions.

Bridgewater’s lead running back is Senorise Perry with 458 yards to-date with Andrell Smith as his top receiver at 189 yards.

The Panthers also have a talented quarterback with Tino Sunseri. He is 105 for 152, 1463 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions. His is assisted by two wide receivers Devin Street and Mike Shanahan.

Running back Ray Graham has been off but when he returns to speed, he can be hard to stop.

Fortunately the Cardinals have defensive end Marcus Smith. Sunseri’s protectors will need to watch out for him as they have a tendency not to do so, allowing their quarterback repeatedly to get sacked.

Louisville has its own secret weapon, linebacker Shane Gordon. He sits as No. 2 on the team with tackles and is the leader for tackles for loss. Really, the entire defense could pose a challenge on Saturday.

Will Louisville snap its losing streak? The bettors only give them -2 to do so with a 49 over/under.

Game of the Week: Syracuse (2-3, 1-0) vs. #20 Rutgers (5-0, 2-0)

Rutgers RB Jawan Jamison

Facing their second Top 25 team this season, Syracuse has been inconsistent in its play but has been close to some nice upsets (see Northwestern).

In this matchup, Rutgers had to go to double overtime last year to defeat the Orange, 19-16. In 2010’s meeting, Syracuse took a 13-10 win. Field goals appear to be key when these two meet but Rutgers will hope this isn’t the case on Saturday as its kicker Kyle Federico is injured and will only kick extra points.

Plan B for Federico isn’t a good one as his backup Nick DeLouisa is so weak, Rutgers coach Kyle Flood had a few students try out this week for the position.

That doesn’t bode well but the Scarletts have Gary Nova as their quarterback. To-date, he has 1119 yards, 10 touchdowns (tied as the greatest number in the conference) and two interceptions.

He does have the Big East’s leading rusher in Jawan Jamison. He has 601 yards in five games.

But the real strength for Rutgers is its defense.

Rutgers sits as No. 5 for scoring defense (10.8 points), No. 2 against the run (60.6 average yards) and No. 1 in the conference with 10 interceptions.

Syracuse will bring a talented quarterback, Ryan Nassib. To-date, he has has 1,552 yards and 10 touchdowns.

He also has a talented defense to help him get wins and last week they were instrumental against Pitt. Linebacker Dyshawn Davis scored on a fumble while defensive end Brandon Sharpe had six tackles for loss with four sacks.

The Orange will enter the away game with some swagger after last week’s win but the bettors give the nod to the home team at -7.5 and a 48.5 over/under.



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