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South Florida (7-4) at Connecticut (6-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 28th, 8:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Rentschler Field (40,000) -- Storrs, Connecticut. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: USF 4-2, UCONN 3-2. Away Record: USF 3-2, UCONN 3-3. Neutral Record: USF 0-0, UCONN 0-0. Conference Record: USF 3-3, UCONN 2-4. Series Record: South Florida leads, 4-2.
GAME NOTES: The Connecticut Huskies will try to continue their solid play when they host the South Florida Bulls this Saturday evening in a Big East Conference battle at Rentschler Field.
The Bulls began their season with five straight wins, but since then the team has fallen apart, losing four of its last six matchups. The last time South Florida was in action the team was no match for Miami, as the Hurricanes stormed over USF, 31-10. Surprisingly though the Bulls have played well on the road this year, posting a 3-2 ledger as the visitor.
As for the Huskies, they have won back-to-back matchups on the heels of a three-game skid. after defeating Notre Dame in thrilling fashion (33-30 OT), the Huskies clobbered Syracuse 56-31. With the win over the Orange, the Huskies are now bowl eligible for the fifth time in the last seven seasons.
This will be the seventh meeting all-time between the two schools, and the fifth as members of the Big East Conference. The Bulls have a slim 4-2 edge over the Huskies, and one of those victories came last season when South Florida defeated UConn, 17-13.
Offensively, the Bulls have done a respectable job on the season, averaging 26.4 ppg, thanks 363.1 total ypg. The ground game is churning out 167.3 ypg on the season with the majority of the damage being created by the tandem of BJ Daniels and Moise Plancher. Daniels is leading the team with 710 rushing yards and six scores, while Plancher has rushed for 539 yards and five touchdowns. Daniels has not been as consistent under center for the Bulls, as the quarterback has thrown for just 1,606 yards and 12 scores against nine interceptions. Daniels was extremely ineffective in the loss to Miami, as the signal caller completed just 6-of-16 passes for 77 yards. Daniels did throw a touchdown in the contest, but was also intercepted once and sacked three times. Plancher led the ground game for USF, rushing for 78 yards on 15 carries, but Daniels did not contribute much with his leg, totaling just 39 yards on 16 totes.
What has kept the Bulls in most of their matchups has been the play of the defense, which is holding teams to just 20.5 ppg on 326.6 total ypg. South Florida has been able to live off the big play this year as well, as the team has forced 21 turnovers (12 interceptions and nine fumbles), and also comes into this game with 24 sacks. Unfortunately in the team's recent setback to Miami, the Bulls had no answers for the Hurricanes rushing attack, as South Florida was gashed for 240 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The defense did not force a turnover in the game and allowed Miami to covert on 4-of-5 red zone chances. Kion Wilson racked up seven tackles in the loss, giving him a team-best 98 stops on the year.
The success for the Huskies this season has come from the ground game, which is churning out 176.9 ypg on 4.3 yards per attempt. Out of the 40 touchdowns scored by this unit, 27 have come via the run. Overall this offense is producing 402.6 total ypg and that has translated into 32.4 ppg. Leading the way on the ground has been the dangerous duo of Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon. Todman is currently leading the team with 1,079 yards and 14 touchdowns, while Dixon has rumbled for 917 yards and 11 scores. The ground game was once again at its best against Syracuse the last time the Huskies took the field, as UConn rushed for 204 yards on 5.0 yards per tote. Todman pounded the rock for 123 yards and one score in the win, while Dixon added 73 yards and found the end zone on three different occasions. Zach Frazier contributed to the win as well, as the quarterback threw for 173 yards and two touchdowns. Frazier however, has been a bit inconsistent on the year and comes into this game with just seven touchdowns against nine interceptions.
Defensively the Huskies have struggled at times throughout the season and come into this game allowing 24.8 ppg. The Huskies are surrendering 132.5 ypg on the ground, but the real issue has come against the pass for UConn, as the defense is being torched for 252.5 ypg on the year. The Huskies have been able to rely on some big plays this year however, as the unit has forced 22 turnovers, and also heads into this game with 27 sacks. Although the Huskies were victorious in their recent contest against Syracuse, the defense still allowed the Orange to throw for 360 yards and three touchdowns. Connecticut did force two turnovers in the win, but allowed Syracuse to convert on all five red zone chances. Lawrence Wilson, who is leading the team with 130 tackles, had a busy game against the Orange, racking up 17 stops.
The Huskies clearly have the advantage offensively because of their dangerous running back tandem, but the team's chances of winning will rely on the defense. If UConn can eat up the clock with the run and control USF's offense, then the Huskies will remain in the win column.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Connecticut 27, South Florida 20
12/02 11:09:56 ET