College Football: Connecticut at Cincinnati Preview & Picks Print
Written by Anthony Rome   
Wednesday, 07 November 2007 10:39
NCAAF Headline News

Key Big East Matchup

In a year of unprecedented success, No. 16 Connecticut can add another first to its list Saturday if it can be the first ranked team this season to defeat Cincinnati in a key Big East matchup.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Cincinnati -6.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday's game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 66% of bets for this game have been placed on Connecticut +6.5 (View College Football bet percentages).

The Huskies (8-1, 4-0) are off to the best start in the 109-year history of a program which has recorded only two nine-win seasons. Connecticut has reeled off three straight wins since a 17-16 loss at Virginia on Oct. 13, and currently leads the Big East by 1 1/2 games following a 38-19 victory over Rutgers.

"Offensively, that may have been our best performance consistently four quarters this year," said coach Randy Edsall, whose team rolled up 396 total yards against the Scarlet Knights. "We played outstanding red-zone defense to make them kick field goals, and I think that was a big part of the game in the first half.

"So when you put all those things together, you can end up coming out with the score the way it was. It's great to be 8-1 and 4-0 in the Big East."

Connecticut will need another 60-minute effort since Cincinnati (7-2, 2-2) has proven to be a daunting opponent for ranked opponents. The Bearcats, on the cusp of the Top 25 this week, sent then-No. 16 South Florida tumbling out of the rankings last week with a 38-33 road victory, their second over a Top 25 team this season.

"We certainly are not cookie cutter when it comes to the game of football," said Bearcats coach Brian Kelly after his team nearly squandered a 21-point lead in the second half and had to make a late stand to preserve the win. "The story for me is our defense was put in a tough situation in the second half and really did a great job forcing eight turnovers."

Cincinnati's defense will have to deal with Connecticut's running back tandem of Donald Brown and Andre Dixon. Brown gained a career-high 154 rushing yards against the Scarlet Knights, giving him 521 with a team-high six touchdowns on the season. Dixon has a team-best 645 rushing yards.

"Andre and Brown are two very good backs," said Kelly, whose team allowed 260 rushing yards in a 24-17 loss at Pittsburgh last month. "Brown came back to rush for 154 yards, and Dixon is a guy who can take it the distance. I think we all know the last time we faced two very good backs, we struggled mightily."

The Huskies also have the luxury of an efficient quarterback in Tyler Lorenzen, who has thrown for 1,723 yards and 11 touchdowns with only four interceptions. His steady play is a key reason why Connecticut has a chance at just its third nine-win season.

"We're just getting better every week," Huskies defensive tackle Rob Lunn said. "We go from being a good team in September, better team in October, and a great team in November and I think that we're definitely following that pattern. It's definitely a tremendous accomplishment but we're not done yet, we've got a lot of work to do."

Connecticut will not have fullback Lou Allen, who was suspended Monday for a violation of team rules. Allen is second on the team with five rushing touchdowns.

The Bearcats have won all three previous games between the teams, including a 26-23 victory last season at Connecticut, where they rallied from a 23-16 deficit in the final 8:14.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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