Big East football notebook: New faces surfacing in final weeks
Injuries and poor play have caused a dramatic lineup reshuffling in the Big East.
The most noteworthy is Cincinnati coach Butch Jones' benching of quarterback Munchie Legaux.
Brendon Kay replaced Legaux in the third quarter of the Syracuse game Nov. 3, threw a touchdown pass to give the Bearcats a lead they never surrendered and led a 34-10 victory against Temple last week.
“The beauty of college football is you don't have playoffs, so every game is a championship game,” said Jones, who grew weary of watching Legaux throw interceptions (nine, including six in three games). “We are not going to tolerate turnovers.”
Louisville, which fell to 20th in the Associated Press rankings after a 45-26 loss at Syracuse last week, has lost leading running back Senorise Perry for the season with a knee injury.
“He didn't take the news well,” coach Charlie Strong said.
Also, running backs Jawan Jamison of Rutgers and Montel Harris of Temple are trying to recover from injuries suffered last week.
Rutgers coach Kyle Flood lists Jamison (ankle) as “50-50” to play Saturday at Cincinnati.
Jamison is second in the conference in rushing (953 yards) to Cincinnati's George Winn (980 yards).
Harris' knee injury may heal in time for him to play at Army, coach Steve Addazio said.
Also, Addazio has benched quarterback Chris Coyer in favor of Clinton Granger.
South Florida coach Skip Holtz used his off week to try to find a replacement for three-year starting quarterback B.J. Daniels, who suffered a season-ending broken ankle against Connecticut on Nov. 3.
“He gets hurt running the football, fighting for extra yards and trying to carry two people, and the weight of two guys fell on him,” Holtz said.
Daniels left Raymond James Stadium in a wheelchair, with a cast on his broken left ankle and a boot on his sprained right ankle. Daniels is expected to recover in time to work out for NFL scouts.
Holtz will choose between redshirt freshman Matt Floyd and junior Bobby Eveld, who had been redshirting.
Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson has been linked to the possible opening at Auburn, if coach Gene Chizik is fired, the Denver Post reported.
Strong may not have to worry about replacing Watson. The newspaper reports Strong as a leading candidate to become the next head coach at Arkansas.
Early wake-up calls
For the second time this season, a Big East game will start at 11 a.m.
Both games involve lame-duck members of the conference who will join the ACC next year — first Pitt on Oct. 13 against Louisville and now Syracuse on Nov. 23 at Temple.
Syracuse coach Doug Marrone isn't complaining publicly.
“You have to go in there and keep fighting,” he said. “No need to cry sour grapes and create excuses.” Syracuse's game will occur only six days after its game Saturday night at Missouri. Marrone estimated the team won't get back to campus from that game until 4 a.m. Sunday.
Running out of time
With three weekends left in the regular season, only three Big East teams have reached bowl eligibility (Rutgers, Louisville and Cincinnati) and three others — Pitt (4-6), Connecticut (4-6) and South Florida (3-6) — must win each of their remaining games.
Syracuse is 5-5 and needs one victory to reach the requisite six. Temple (3-6) has two games left on its 11-game schedule, although it is negotiating with Hawaii for a 12th.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7997.