Louisville’s not playing this weekend, but the developments from last week loom over the Big East. The fall of the league’s last remaining undefeated team opened other teams to grab some notoriety, either in the standings or rankings.
Rutgers is the only undefeated team in league play, but the Cardinals’ loss re-opened the door for Cincinnati, whose only Big East loss was Oct. 26 to Louisville. The Big East could take another interesting turn when the Scarlet Knights and Bearcats face off in Nippert Stadium this week.
Other Week 12 Previews and Predictions
Big East’s Top Storylines to Watch in Week 12:
Will Jawan Jamison be ready for Rutgers?
Jawan Jamison practiced this week on the injured right ankle that knocked hime out of last week’s win over Army. His return will be critical for the Rutgers offense. The Scarlet Knights have struggled to score in the first half since September, and Jamison is their best offensive weapon. Not only is Jamison Rutgers' far-and-away leading rusher, he’s third on the team in receiving. If he’s hobbled, sophomore Savon Huggins will get carries (52 this year, 10 of which came last week). But most of the responsibility may fall on Gary Nova, who has suddenly become turnover prone with eight interceptions in the last three games. Six of those picks were in the loss to Kent State on Oct. 27.
Can Cincinnati’s Brendon Kay and George Winn crack the Rutgers defense?
Cincinnati got what it wanted out of its quarterback change from Munchie Legaux to Brendon Kay. The new senior quarterback was consistent and turnover free in the win over Temple, but facing Rutgers will be a different test. Big East quarterbacks are completing only 49.6 percent of their passes with two touchdowns and 10 interceptions against the Scarlet Knights. The same has been true of the Rutgers defense against the run. Big East opponents have averaged only 82.3 rushing yards per game against the Scarlet Knights. Of course, those statistics don't count out a loss to Kent State (355 total yards) and wins over Arkansas (492 total yards) and Army (282 rushing yards). The cracks are there for Rutgers’ defense. Kay and conference-leading rusher George Winn will try to do what no one in the Big East has been able to do this season.
Will USF burn a redshirt or play a redshirt freshman quarterback against Miami?
USF coach Skip Holtz is in a bit of a quandary. His four-year starting quarterback, B.J. Daniels, is out for the year, and his most experienced backup, Bobby Eveld, planned on taking a redshirt this season. When Daniels suffered his season-ending leg injury against Connecticut, redshirt freshman Matt Floyd stepped in. Eveld, though, is a junior who has played against this week’s opponent, Miami, twice before. The Bulls’ margin for error to reach a bowl game is slim as USF must defeat Miami, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh to finish the season. Eveld is the veteran while Floyd, a dual-threat quarterback, may be in USF’s long-term plans.
Once again, has Syracuse put it all together... this time... really?
Syracuse has struggled with consistency for most of the last two seasons. Even when the offense moved the ball on a regular basis, the Orange found away to sabotage itself either through turnovers of special teams gaffes. Now, Syracuse has won three of the last four, the latest a 45-26 win over previously undefeated Louisville that was never in question. Syracuse has a chance for a winning regular season, but the Orange will have to win road games, something that’s not always been easy this season. Balance has been the key the last four games as Syracuse has rushed for an average of 227.3 yards and passed for 277.8 yards during this hot streak.
Who’s going to start in the Temple backfield?
Starting running back Montel Harris left the Cincinnati loss with a knee injury. Starting quarterback Chris Coyer was pulled in a 34-10 loss. Coach Steve Addazio says it’s possible Harris, Temple’s only consistent offensive threat, could return this week against Army. He also says three quarterbacks are competing for the starting job -- Coyer, Juice Granger (who was 7 of 15 for 86 yards and a touchdown against Cincinnati) and Penn State transfer Kevin Newsome. Temple still has Matt Brown at running back, so the quarterback decision may be more telling for the future.
Week 12 Big East Predictions:
Week 12 Big East Games
Temple at Army
Rutgers at Cincinnati
USF at Miami
Syracuse at Missouri
by David Fox
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