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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 17, 3 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sun Life Stadium (74,916) -- Miami Gardens, Florida. Television: Sun Sport, FS Florida. Home Record: USF 2-3, Miami 3-2. Away Record: USF 1-3, Miami 2-2. Neutral Record: USF 0-0, Miami 0-1. Conference Record: USF 1-4, Miami 4-3. Series Record: Miami-Florida leads, 3-1.
GAME NOTES: The South Florida Bulls aim for their second road win of the season as they travel across the state to take on the Miami-Florida Hurricanes in a late season non-conference bout at Sun Life Stadium.
The Bulls snapped a six-game losing slide with a 13-6 victory over Connecticut before heading into last week's bye. USF must win its final three games to become bowl eligible before its season ends. Skip Holtz's team is just 1-4 in Big East play.
Miami is having a difficult time rising back to college football's pinnacle. It enters this game with a 5-5 record after suffering a 41-40 setback to Virginia in Charlottesville last weekend. The Hurricanes' last conference title came in 2003 when it was still part of the Big East. Although they were bowl eligible last season with a 6-6 overall record, the Hurricanes withdrew themselves from bowl game consideration due to an investigation of the program. Miami will become bowl eligible for the second time under Al Golden if it manages to win just one of its final two games.
This non-conference matchup between Sunshine State programs will be the fifth in history between the schools. Miami leads the all-time series 3-1 after its 6-3 victory over the Bulls in 2011 at USF. Although it was a low-scoring affair, the 2011 meeting had a thrilling ending as Jake Wieclaw drilled the game-winning 36-yard field goal as time expired.
Although the team has a mediocre scoring offense of 25 ppg, South Florida has had decent success moving the ball at 403.2 ypg. That was not the case last time out however, as they were held to 283 yards of total offense in their win over UConn.
B.J. Daniels rushed five yards into the end zone for the contest's only touchdown. Daniels finished 19-of-29 for 199 yards with zero passing touchdowns and one interception. The Bulls' quarterback has had an up-and-down season after showing promise last year as a junior. Unfortunately, Daniels will miss the remainder of the season with a broken left leg, which opens up the door for Matt Floyd's first career start.
Floyd is a redshirt freshman with very little game experience. He came in for the injured Daniels last week and led USF on a pair of drives that ended with field goals.
The transition to the collegiate level will be made easier for the young quarterback by wideout Andre Davis. The sophomore receiver is leading the team's pass catching unit with 478 yards and six touchdowns on 38 receptions.
Daniels is not the only feature player in the USF offense out for the season. Lindsey Lamar will also be sidelined with him. Demetris Murray (476 yards, five TDs) will assume the majority of the ball carrying duties.
The Bulls had their best defensive performance of the season before the bye as they kept the Huskies out of the end zone. USF had surrendered 27 or more points to its prior five opponents. A big issue with the defensive unit is its lack of big play ability. USF recorded its first two interceptions of the season in its win over UConn.
Kayvon Webster (62), DeDe Lattimore (60), and Sam Barrington (58) are South Florida's three leading tacklers. Lattimore also has 3.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss to his credit.
Miami is ranked in the middle of the pack in the ACC in both scoring offense (28.5 ppg) and total offense (408.8). The Hurricanes gained 420 yards of total offense in their loss to the Cavaliers last weekend.
Stephen Morris had a pair of unbelievable back-to-back performances in late September versus Georgia Tech and NC State. In those two games, the junior completed 57-of-101 attempts for 1,002 yards with seven touchdowns to two interceptions. Morris has averaged just 185.6 passing yards per contest in the five games since. Despite the drop in production, Morris has managed to throw five TDs with zero picks in the team's last two outings.
Morris does not have to air it out quite as much anymore with Duke Johnson's late season breakout. The freshman running back set a new career-high with 150 yards on 16 carries versus UVA just one week after turning 11 rushes into 100 yards and a score against Virginia Tech.
While the team will be without the suspended Rashawn Scott, Phillip Dorsett will see even more targets. Dorsett leads the team with 648 yards on 42 receptions. Last week with Scott out, Dorsett caught six passes for 103 yards. Allen Hurns saw more action versus the Cavaliers and took advantage by reeling in four passes for 37 yards and two scores. Dorsett and Hurns are tied for the team lead with four receiving TDs each.
The reason for the lack of success for Golden's squad is its lethargic defensive unit. The program that once fielded superstars such as Ray Lewis, Warren Sapp, and Dan Morgan is now surrendering an ACC-worst 489.6 ypg and 31.2 ppg. Despite the high yardage totals of opponents, Miami has actually increased its total number of forced turnovers (19) to four more than last season.
Shayon Green has recorded a team-high 60 total stops. Denzel Perryman, Eddie Johnson, Gionni Paul, and Kacy Rodgers all have 50 tackles or more.
The quarterback change will make or break South Florida. Floyd may be able to give the Bulls new life and lead a rally to a bowl game, but the ball-hawking Miami defense should be able to lure him into making a costly mistake or two. The Hurricanes will use their homefield advantage to fend off the Bulls to earn bowl eligibility.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Miami-Florida 37, South Florida 28
11/14 10:37:56 ET
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