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South Florida (6-4) at Miami-Florida (7-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: November 27th, 12:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Orange Bowl (72,319) -- Coral Gables, Florida. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: USF 4-2, Miami-FL 3-2. Away Record: USF 2-2, Miami-FL 4-2. Neutral Record: USF 0-0, Miami-FL 0-0. Conference Record: USF 3-3, Miami-FL 5-3. Series Record: Miami-Florida leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: Skip Holtz leads his South Florida Bulls into this weekend's non- conference clash with Randy Shannon's Miami Hurricanes.
South Florida carried a three-game win streak into last weekend's matchup with Pittsburgh, but that clash ended in a disappointing 17-10 home defeat, crushing the Bulls' hopes of winning the Big East Conference title. Still, they are bowl eligible at 6-4 and can certainly help their postseason prospects with a win this afternoon.
As for Miami, it is also coming off a defeat, as the club fell to Virginia Tech by a 31-17 final last weekend. That setback halted a modest two-game win streak for the Hurricanes, who are 7-4 overall and 5-3 in ACC action. While USF still has one more game remaining after this weekend's affair, Saturday's tilt marks the regular-season finale for Shannon's squad.
Miami has won its only two previous meetings with USF, including a 31-10 triumph over the Bulls last season.
Through 10 games, USF is generating 24.3 ppg and 311.6 total ypg. The team has more interceptions (12) than passing touchdowns, so there is certainly room for improvement in that area. B.J. Daniels has completed just 57.8 percent of his passes for 1,457 yards with nine scores and 12 picks, and the versatile signal caller has also rushed for four touchdowns. Moise Plancher paces the ground attack with 583 yards and four scores, while Dontavia Bogan has made 36 catches for 544 yards and four touchdowns to lead the receivers.
Defensively, USF is limiting opponents to 19.5 ppg and 325.1 total ypg, strong numbers that have played a major role in the six victories this season. The Bulls are tough against the run, limiting foes to 129.7 ypg at a clip of 3.5 yards per carry. The pass defense has been solid at times, but opposing quarterbacks have thrown 16 touchdowns against 10 interceptions when facing USF. The fact that the Bulls have come up with a mere two fumble recoveries in 10 games is troubling, but they have posted 27 sacks.
Against Pittsburgh last week, the Bulls struggled on offense, posting only 285 total yards despite 19 first downs. Daniels couldn't get much going through the air, as he connected on just 15-of-29 passes for 132 yards and one interception with no touchdowns. Plancher rushed for 67 yards, and the offense managed only one touchdown in the affair.
Give the USF defense credit for keeping the team in the game against Pitt. The Bulls yielded only 292 total yards and held the Panthers to 2-of-9 success on third down conversion attempts. USF registered four sacks in that affair and permitted only 3.9 yards per rushing attempt. Aside from the two long scoring drives that the Bulls surrendered, they certainly put forth a solid effort.
Over the course of this season, Miami is scoring 27.7 ppg to go along with 428.9 total ypg. The offense is extremely balanced, as 192.7 ypg at a clip of 4.9 ypc are being gained on the ground, while the passing attack accounts for 236.2 ypg. Of the 36 touchdowns registered by the offense thus far, 19 have come through the air. Jacory Harris has started eight games under center and has completed a modest 53.9 percent of his throws for 1,646 yards with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He has missed some time recently with a concussion, and while Harris is expected to be available on Saturday, it remains to be seen if Shannon plays the veteran or calls on rookie Stephen Morris once again. Morris has completed on 50.5 percent of his passes for 880 yards and five touchdowns with seven interceptions in limited duty.
Regardless who is under center, Leonard Hankerson and Damien Berry will be a big part of the offensive game plan. Hankerson is a standout receiver who has made 57 catches for 958 yards and 12 touchdowns through 11 contests. Berry leads the backfield with 810 rushing yards and five scores.
Opponents are managing 19.4 ppg and 319.3 total ypg against a tough Miami defensive unit this season. The Hurricanes have come up with 27 takeaways, including 16 interceptions, and they have recorded 34 sacks as well. Colin McCarthy continues to pace the club with 95 total tackles, while Sean Spence has recorded an impressive total of 16 TFLs. Allen Bailey has seven sacks to his credit, and three different players have recorded three interceptions.
Miami outgained Virginia Tech last week, 464-369, but the result was a double- digit loss. The most obvious reason for the setback was turnovers, as the Hurricanes lost three fumbles to go along with three interceptions. Morris took all the snaps and certainly looked the part of an inexperienced and confused signal caller. Lamar Miller rushed for 163 yards and one score, while Hankerson caught six passes for 79 yards and touchdown, but those strong performances weren't rewarded. The Miami defense was put in bad positions all game and shouldn't take too much blame for the loss.
The Hurricanes are undoubtedly eager to get back on the field after the careless performance against Virginia Tech. Expect a much more disciplined showing by Miami this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Miami-Florida 30, South Florida 13
11/24 11:18:12 ET