Friday Night Bites: Geno Smith repays
Suppose it's too much to hope for a streaker dressed as a ref to invade a game two nights in a row, right?
• No. 11 West Virginia @ Syracuse, 8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN: I asked my Syracuse-educated producer, the divine Mallory Rubin, whether she, too, thought Geno Smith might throw for 500 yards against her alma mater this Saturday. Her response: "I'm worried he might throw for 600." Last year on Homecoming Saturday in Morgantown, Geno Smith was intercepted three times and sacked five by the Orange. This year's Mountaineer offensive line is allowing little more than one sack per game, and while Syracuse DB Phillip Thomas ranks in the national top 15 for picks, his interceptions have all come against Rutgers and Rhode Island. The Mountaineers have proven in recent weeks they can run (they just don't feel like it) thanks to freshman Dustin Garrison, but up against the nation's 86th-ranked pass efficiency defense, why would they even want to?
• Rutgers @ Louisville, 8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2: Do not adjust your television set. That is Rutgers you see atop the Big East standings with a 5-1 record. The Scarlet Knights came by that record thanks at least in part to an extremely favorable schedule that included an FCS opener, a middling MAC team, Syracuse and a floundering Navy squad. They split their two highest-profile opponents, beating Pitt by 24 and losing to UNC by two, and should look comfortable against the Cardinals tonight. Past Week 8, the schedule takes a sharp uptick in degree of difficulty with West Virginia and South Florida paying calls, but beyond that, only Army, Cincinnati and UConn stand in the way of an extremely favorable bowl bid. The Scarlet Knights' top 20 defense should hold up solidly against a Louisville outfit averaging 16 points per game and starting a true freshman at quarterback.