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South Florida (4-3) at Rutgers (5-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 5th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: High Point Solutions Stadium (52,454) -- Piscataway, New Jersey. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: South Florida 3-1, Rutgers 4-1. Away Record: South Florida 1-2, Rutgers 1-2. Neutral Record: South Florida 0-0, Rutgers 0-0. Conference Record: South Florida 0-3, Rutgers 2-2. Series Record: Rutgers leads, 4-2.
GAME NOTES: South Florida is still without a league victory, but the Bulls will look to change that this Saturday when they take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in a Big East Conference bout at High Point Solutions Stadium.
The Bulls were on top of the world early in the year, as they collected four straight wins, including a thrilling decision over Notre Dame on the road. However, the season quickly slipped away, and now the Bulls are looking to snap a three-game slide. The last time South Florida was on the field the team was defeated by Cincinnati, 37-34.
The Scarlet Knights also head into this game trying to fight through a losing skid. After winning four straight games, the Scarlet Knights have dropped back-to-back matchups to Louisville and West Virginia. The recent loss to the Mountaineers dropped Rutgers to a mediocre 2-2 in conference action.
This is a relatively new series, which is currently led by Rutgers, 4-2. The Scarlet Knights are 2-1 at home against South Florida, and that includes a 31-0 victory against the Bulls, who were ranked 23rd in the nation at the time.
The Bulls were able to post 34 points against Cincinnati in their last loss, but that still wasn't enough for the team to grab a victory. During the losing skid the Bulls had trouble offensively, but maybe the team's effort in the loss to Cincy is a sign of good things to come.
Like always the team was carried by the play of BJ Daniels. The quarterback threw for 390 yards and three touchdowns, while pacing the team with 54 rushing yards. However, as a whole the team struggled on the ground, posting just 99 yards on a mere 2.8 yards per carry.
Daniels has been the main source of production for this offense, and he is a big reason for the team's 34.7 points per game average. Daniels has thrown for 11 touchdowns on the year and has completed 62.1 percent of his passes. On top of that Daniels has scored four times on the ground and is behind only Darrell Scott (511 yards and five touchdowns), who is pacing the team in the rushing department.
South Florida's recent loss to Cincinnati can be pinned mainly on the play of the defense, which surrendered three touchdowns in the final quarter, allowing the Bearcats to roar back for the win.
The Bulls simply could not contain Cincy's passing attack, and by the end of the game South Florida had been torched for 383 yards and three touchdowns. Stopping the pass has been an issue for this unit throughout the year and at the present moment the Bulls are surrendering 237.0 ypg via the pass.
What has helped this unit has been its ability to force big plays. So far South Florida has forced 19 turnovers and comes into this matchup with 23 sacks.
DeDe Lattimore collected one of the three turnovers the defense forced against Cincy, and he also finished with 10 tackles, giving him a team-best 50 on the year.
The Scarlet Knights come into this matchup stuck in a two-game slide and that could be because the offense is inconsistent. Rutgers has relied heavily on the pass, while the rushing attack continues to fall short. On the year, the Scarlet Knights are averaging just 99.1 ypg via the run and because of that the team has leaned heavily on Gary Nova.
Nova has thrown for nine touchdowns on the season, but he has also tossed seven interceptions and has completed just 51.1 percent of his passes. Two of Nova's touchdowns came in the team's recent loss to West Virginia, as the quarterback threw for 235 yards, but was also intercepted twice. Mohamed Sanu hauled in one of those touchdown passes and is now leading the team with seven TD receptions, to go along with 70 catches and 731 yards.
Surprisingly the Scarlet Knights even found some running room and finished with 151 yards and two touchdowns. Both scores came from Jawan Jamison, who finished with 96 yards and now has 472 yards on the year.
Clearly the offense did everything it could to get Rutgers back into the win column, but the defense could not hold up its end of the deal, surrendering 428 yards and 41 points in the loss to WVU.
Usually the Scarlet Knights are solid defensively, but they were dismantled by the Mountaineers on the ground, surrendering 210 yards and four touchdowns on 5.7 yards per carry. If there was a weakness for this unit it would be against the run because on the season Rutgers is allowing 133.1 ypg and has surrendered 10 rushing TDs.
What has helped has been the team's ability to make big plays. Rutgers has collected 26 turnovers on the season, including 15 interceptions. Duron Harmon leads the team in that category with four picks, but David Rowe is right behind him with three.
Both teams are in the midst of losing streaks, and are in need of a victory. It might not be pretty or high scoring, but look for the Scarlet Knights to defend their house, while keeping South Florida winless in league play.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rutgers 20, South Florida 14
11/02 10:32:02 ET