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South Florida vs Rutgers

Huge Big East Football Matchup

11/12/09

Both South Florida and Rutgers have had their ups and downs so far this season, but both have bounced back strong. South Florida has had to deal with their Senior QB Matt Grothe going down for the season with an injury, but luckily for the Bulls Freshman QB B.J. Daniels has been able to pick up where Grothe left off, and has had a very good season. South Florida started this season 5-0, but then dropped back to back games Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

The Bearcats and the Panthers are the top two teams in the Big East, so there is no shame in losing to either one of those teams, but the good news for the South Florida faithful is that this team showed toughness coming back the next week and beating a very good West Virginia team 30-19. Coach Jim Leavitt has his team in a very good position to close out their season with a bang, but with tough games against Miami and Connecticut coming up it would be huge for this South Florida team to get past Rutgers this Thursday and build up some momentum for their last few games, but that will not be an easy task.

This Rutgers football team was embarrassed in their season opener against Cincinnati 47-15, but since then Coach Greg Schiano has turned things around. Since that game Rutgers is 6-1 with their 2nd loss coming to Pittsburgh. After the beat down they suffered at the hands of the Bearcats people were questioning whether Coach Schiano had the team to be competitive in an improving Big East conference. I believe he has answered that question for the most part that he has a good football team, but they are still lacking a signature win on the year. If they are able to go down to South Florida and take down the Bulls they will have that win for their resume.


PRIMETIME MATCHUP

This South Florida defensive unit is very good. They have one of the best defensive lines in the country with Jason Paul-Pierre and George Selvie, and Senior linebacker Kion Wilson leads the team with 61 tackles. The word that best describes this defense is speed. They are very fast and make things very difficult for the opposing offense. In their last win against West Virginia they were able to do what few defenses have been able to do, and stop Noel Devine. Devine was held to just 42 yards on 17 carries against this South Florida defense. Rutgers is going to have to figure out a way to establish the run early on to open up the passing game for QB Tom Savage.

RB Joe Martinek is going to play a big role in this game and the outcome. USF is #1 in the Big East in pass defense, so unless they establish the run with Martinek things are going to be very difficult for Savage to get the ball in to the hands of their playmakers like WR Tim Brown. Brown has 37 receptions for 811 yards and 5 TD's on the year and is averaging 21.9 yards per reception. When he gets the ball he can make things happen, so Savage has got to get the ball in his hands early and often. If they can get things going on the ground with Martinek and through the air with Brown they will be able to keep this USF defense on their heels.


THE FINAL VERDICT


There is plenty of evidence to suggest that these two teams are very evenly matched, starting with their results against the two common opponents they have played, Cinci and Pitt. South Florida was outscored37-15 while Rutgers was outscored 35-16. Both gave up well over 400 yards in those games while gaining less than 300. Furthermore, both of these teams have played their share of cupcakes at some point this year. Put it all together and take a look at the yards per points numbers of both of these squads and they are basically identical with each team roughly a 12 offensively and 18 defensively. Good solid numbers.

Both teams have solid turnover margins with Rutgers leading the entire country in that category and South Florida not far behind at #24. It's rare that we do a write up without weighing in on one side or the other, but in this case, we think the line is actually dead on when factoring in the home field advantage for Rutgers. So no play on the side.

All 4 games in this series have gone over the Total. We think perhaps that ends tonight. Both teams have put up some decent numbers defensively so we're going to make a slight recommendation on the game to go under 44.5.
 

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