With three weeks of college football in the books, fans can settle into routines of tailgating, road trips, and hopefully, solid play out of their favorite team. Here’s a look at the story lines, match-ups, and players to keep an on eye this week.
What To Watch For edition of Laces Out, Big East football style.
Connecticut Huskies (2-1) at Western Michigan Broncos (1-2): Offense vs. defense. The Huskies are out to avenge a 38-31 loss to Western Michigan last season. If they are able to achieve a victory, it will be with a stifling defense. UConn has only allowed 51 yards per game on the ground so far. They’ll attempt to make Western Michigan one dimensional.
Temple Owls (1-1) at Penn State Nittany Lions (1-2): Penn State’s red zone offense vs. Temple’s red zone defense. The Nittany Lions have only scored during six of their ten trips inside the 20-yard line. If they cash in, Temple’s offense won’t be able to keep up on the road. If PSU turns it over or is forced to kick field goals, Temple and Chris Coyer can win a tight one.
Gardner Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs (0-3) at Pittsburgh Panthers (1-2): What a difference a week makes. If Pitt had lost big to Virginia Tech, some might be worried about this game. Instead, Paul Chryst’s crew looks to get back to .500 against a team that struggles on third downs (27.1%) and allowed over 400 yards on the ground to Wofford earlier this season.
South Florida Bulls (2-1) at Ball State Cardinals (2-1): Not your average MAC opponent. Ball State went into a Big 10 team’s house — Indiana — and emerged with a victory last week. South Florida’s defense needs to wake up (374.7 yards allowed per game) soon. Skip Holtz’s team can’t afford to dwell on the loss to Rutgers.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-0) at Arkansas Razorbacks (1-2): It all starts upfront. Specifically, up front when Arkansas has the ball. As of yesterday, Razorbacks quarterback Tyler Wilson was still uncertain to play. Running back Knile Davis — coming back from major surgery — has yet to get going. Rutgers has averaged 8.3 tackles for loss per game. This could get interesting.
Louisville Cardinals (3-0) at Florida International Golden Panthers (1-2): Revenge, specifically in the 2nd half. The Cardinals are looking to get even with the Panthers after falling to them last year in an upset. If they are to do so, keep an eye on the second half and if the Cardinals keep their foot on the gas. Despite a 3-0 record, Louisville has been outscored by four points during the second half this season.
Syracuse Orange (1-2) at Minnesota Golden Gophers (3-0): Cuse is averaging over 550 yards per game. Minnesota leads the league in pass defense efficiency, has picked off five passes, and sacked opposing quarterbacks eight times.