Big East Week 10 Preview and Predictions

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Ryan Nassib tries to lead Syracuse to rare Big East win streak

<p> Big East Week 10 Preview and Predictions</p>

Momentum for previously undefeated Cincinnati and Rutgers has been sapped the last two weeks, but the Big East has other teams starting to get hot in recent weeks.

Syracuse has won back-to-back games for the first time this season, but a game at Cincinnati will give the Orange a chance to win three consecutive Big East games for the first time since 2001. And Pittsburgh has scored a rare win streak against FBS opponents. Extending it to three will be a tough task against undefeated Notre Dame.

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Big East’s Top Storylines to Watch in Week 10:

Should Louisville be concerned about its run defense against Temple?

Not counting the rain-drenched game against Southern Miss, Louisville has had its two worst games against the run the last two weeks, giving up 197 rushing yards to USF and 196 yards to Pittsburgh. That adds a little intrigue for this matchup with Temple, which is a run-first team with Boston College transfer Montel Harris and running-threat Chris Coyer at quarterback. However, Louisville likely can gang up on the run moreso against Temple than USF and Cincinnati. Both the Bulls and Bearcats have dual-threat quarterbacks and quality receivers capable of testing the Cardinals’ secondary. Temple is still lacking in that regard.

Can Cincinnati stop the big play against Ryan Nassib?
Cincinnati has been without defensive end Walter Stewart for two games and two losses. Now, the Bearcats must find a way to play without their best defensive player and one of their emotional leaders for the remainder of the season. Cincinnati sacked Teddy Bridgewater three times last week, but struggled to get consistent pressure without Stewart. And along the way, the Cincinnati defense was burned by three pass plays for at least 50 yards. Syracuse is among the Big East leaders in pass plays longer than 20 and 30 yards, and quarterback Ryan Nassib’s track record in the fourth quarter (eight career fourth-quarter comebacks for wins) means Cincinnati can’t let up.

Will the vote of confidence from Butch Jones impact Munchie Legaux?
The Cincinnati quarterback continues to have the support of coach Butch Jones despite his struggled the last two weeks. In the losses to Toledo and Louisville, Legaux is 28 of 64 for 384 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Perhaps being at home will be a boost to Legaux. The sophomore is completing 60.8 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and two interceptions at Nippert Stadium -- granted, two of those games were against FCS opponents.

Tino Sunseri has quietly become of the nation’s most improved players. Can it continue against Notre Dame?
Who leads the Big East in passing efficiency? Tino Sunseri. Who leads the Big East in yards per pass attempt? Tino Suneri. Which starting quarterback has thrown the fewest interceptions in the Big East? Tino Sunseri. Pittsburgh has built some nice momentum the last two weeks but Buffalo and Temple aren’t Notre Dame. Pitt will try to use its running combo of Ray Graham and Rushel Shell to crack the Notre Dame defense, but odds are, the best chance of upsetting Notre Dame will be through the air. Has Sunseri improved enough to even threaten Notre Dame with the pass?

Which awful unit looks better in Tampa: UConn’s run game or USF’s run defense?
Thanks to a struggling offensive line, Connecticut’s run game is pitiful. The Huskies are averaging 1.7 yards per carry in Big East games. They’re the only team in the Big East without a rushing touchdown. And if UConn doubled its rushing output in conference games from 45 yards to 90 per game, it would still rank last by 26 yards per game. OK, so we’ve established the futility of UConn’s run game, but USF’s not quite there on run defense, either. The Bulls rank last in the Big East in that category. FBS teams are averaging 187.4 yards per game and 4.4 yards per carry against the Bulls, who have allowed a rushing touchdown in each game this season. Something has to give in this game, right?

Will this be the magic week USF gets an interception?
It really is quite remarkable: USF is the only team in the country with out an interception. It has been since Oct. 6 when Wisconsin became the second-to-last team to record an interception. The Bulls are one of only two teams in NCAA -- that’s FBS, FCS, Division II and Division III -- without a pick. The other is Division III Denison in Granville, Ohio. Can the streak end against UConn? Huskies quarterback Chandler Whitmer has more interceptions (11) than any QB in the Big East.

Week 10 Big East Predictions:

Week 10 Big East Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Syracuse at Cincinnati Syracuse 28-14 Cincinnati 30-24 Cincinnati 27-20 Cincinnati 37-27
Temple at Louisville Louisville 28-17 Louisville 38-17 Louisville 38-17 Louisville 34-17
Pittsburgh at Notre Dame Notre Dame 35-14 Notre Dame 20-14 Notre Dame 31-14 Notre Dame 27-10
Connecticut at USF UConn 14-10 USF 20-17 USF 34-20 USF 27-14
Last week 2-2 2-2 3-1 2-2
Overall 34-14 33-15 32-16 32-16

by David Fox

@DavidFox615

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