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Big East Week 9: Louisville Wins, Rutgers vs. Kent State, Syracuse vs. USF

Again this week, the Big East kicked things off on a Friday night. #16 Louisville (8-0, 3-0) took on Cincinnati (5-2, 1-1) with high expectations for an upset. It took until overtime but the Cardinals dodged a bullet and won 34-31.

In Saturday’s games, undefeated Rutgers will play Kent State (6-1, 4-0) from the pesky MAC conference and Syracuse (3-4, 2-1) will travel south and play South Florida (2-5, 0-3).

Louisville beats Cincinnati 34-31

Overcoming two 10-point deficits, Louisville kept its head down and beat a challenging Cincinnati team to keep its perfect record. A 30-yard kick by Louisville’s nailed the win in overtime after the team grabbed the ball on an interception, setting up the opportunity for the win.

Louisville’s quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was 24 for 41, 416 yards, two touchdowns and one pick.

Rutgers vs. Kent State

Rutgers running back Jawan Jamison

When you hear Rutgers is playing Kent State, you think no problem. Win. The team has a top run defense that has only allowed 69.1 rushing yards per game; this represents a tie with Florida State for No. 2 nationally. The team has only given up two rushing touchdowns this season and for the last 11 games, a running player can’t get past 100 yards rushing in a game.

But not so fast.

Kent State has a strong offense. It has averaged per game, 33.7 points and 210.4 rushing yards per game.

Aside from its one loss of the season against Kentucky, the team has won five consecutive games and has averaged 238.0 rushing yards per game. The Rutgers defense will need to keep their eyes on the Kent State running back duo of Dri Archer and Trayion Durham. The two have 687 and 649 rushing yards, respectively, with a combined 15 touchdowns.

Rutgers has their own offensive weapon, running back  Jawan Jamison. He is the conference leader with 177 carries and 779 yards. Last week against Temple, Jamison had 19 rushes for 114 yards with a 32-yard receiving touchdown.

Should Kent State win on Saturday, it will be the first time since 1940 the team has won six straight games.

That’s a big dry spell and the bettors see it continuing. The winning nod goes to Rutgers at -13.5 with 45.5 over/under.

Syracuse vs. USF

Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib

The Orange will arrive in Florida and will take on a team that is yet to win a conference game this season.

Last week, Syracuse crushed Connecticut 40-10 and have some swagger this week. Success this season has come from their passing game. The team leads the conference in passing offense and joins 19 teams nationally averaging a minimum of 300 passing yards per game (308.4).

Quarterback Ryan Nassib has been the leader of this. To-date, he has thrown for 2,164 yards and 13 touchdowns, giving him a 65.2 percent pass completion. From his 270 attempts, he is the Big East’s leader but this comes with greater interceptions (eight).

Nassib’s favorite weapons are wide receivers Marcus Sales and Alec Lemon.

Syracuse’s defense isn’t too shabby. It is No. 3 in the Big East for total defense (329.0 ypg), while allowing 23.4 points per game.

South Florida offensive stats place them in the middle of the conference with its 399.1 yards per game and 25.1 points per game. They should brag about their red zone numbers: converting 90.5 percent  into points with 71.4 percent as touchdowns.

The Bulls quarterback is B.J. Daniels. To-date, Daniels has passed for 1,693 yards, 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions with a 55.8 pass completion rate. He can also run and has 277 yards with four rushing touchdowns.

His favorite offensive weapons include the running back pair of Demetris Murray and Lindsay Lamar. Combined they average almost 110 rushing yards per game, 714 total rushing yards and six scores.

While South Florida’s offense is mediocre, its defensive is bad. It sits at the bottom of the conference for total defense (389.7 yards per game) and scoring defense (27.4 points per game).

Syracuse looks better on paper but the bettors have more faith in the home team giving them the win at -3.5 and a 52 over/under.
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