South Florida ( 0-2 in the Big East, 3-3 overall ) hits the road and heads to Cincinnati ( 1-0 in the Big East, 3-3 overall ).
The Bulls are among three teams in the conference that don’t have a win in the Big East. The other two are Connecticut and Louisville. USF is coming off a loss at West Virginia, while the Bearcats are coming off a win at Louisville. In the loss to West Virginia, South Florida was 1-11 on third downs and the Bulls are the worst team in the nation converting on third down. South Florida has converted only 17 first downs all season in SIX games. Converting on third down will extend the drive and it will also keep the defense fresh. Why are the Bulls struggling on offense? Lots of turnovers, they can’t convert on third down and they can’t create a big play. All of that falls on the shoulders of Daniels and head coach Skip Holtz. It’s obvious Daniels needs to make smarter decisions with the football. Last season under Jim Leavitt, Daniels lead the Bulls in rushing as a redshirt freshman and under the new offense of new head coach Skip Holtz, Daniels hasn’t had many chances to run the ball. In the loss in Gainesville, Daniels ran for over 100 yards. In two Big East games, Daniels has 3 yards on 27 carries. Also in two Big East games, the Bulls haven’t scored an offensive touchdown. All eyes on this game will be on struggling quarterback B.J. Daniels. Daniels is the barometer on how USF plays. In the Bulls three losses this year, Daniels has thrown only 1 TD and has thrown 9 interception in 73 passing attempts. As a team, the Bearcats have only 2 interceptions. What will give Friday night?
Daniels is getting some help tomorrow night with the return of Demetris Murray, the Bulls second leading rusher with 262 yards. Murray has played sparingly the last three weeks due to an ankle injury. The duo of Mo Plancher and Murray should give the Bulls a solid one two punch in the running game and ease the pressure off of Daniels. A good running game can be a quarterbacks best friend, much like a double play ball for a pitcher.
The Bearcats game plan is simple, jump ahead of the Bulls and put all the pressure on Daniels and their inept passing game. Cincinnati quarterback Zach Collaros is the polar opposite of Daniels. Collaros on the season has thrown 17 touchdown passes, but only 3 interceptions in 172 passing attempts. On offense Cincinnati protects the ball, while the Bulls “D” haven’t forced a turnover in two Big East games. If South Florida wants to come out of Cincinnati with a win, they MUST force some turnovers on defense.
Vegas Line: Cincinnati favored by 8
Prediction: Cincinnati 26 South Florida 19
About the Author
Written by Brian Joyce
Hi my name is Brian and I currently reside in the Sarasota area. I'm currently an online student with Southern New Hampshire University going for my Bachelor's in Communications. New Hampshire is close to my heart because I got married there in October of 2011. I was an intern with the local ABC station here in Sarasota last summer and it lasted until the winter. I had a blast and loved putting together highlights for the live sportscasts. I have also interned at WSRQ radio in Sarasota. Currently working for State College of Florida with their hoops team and softball team. I was at Tropicana Field, back in October of 2008 when the Rays won the AL. David Price came out of the bullpen that night and got Jed Lowrie to ground out and the dome went nuts! TB had a losing season every year until 2008, it was a magical season for the Rays.