The Bulls come into this game with a 4-2 record, but they’ve lost their last two games to Pittsburgh and Connecticut. Both were on the road.
South Florida Offense
Bearcats fans are very familiar with B. J. Daniels. In last year’s game, he threw for two scores and ran for two more in USF’s 38-30 win at Nippert Stadium, but despite his outstanding play, the Bearcats were still in the game until the closing moments. Down 31-16 in the fourth quarter, the Bearcats mounted a comeback and were trailing by just eight points with 5:45 left in the contest. However, an injury to Zach Collaros forced him to leave the game late in the fourth quarter, and UC’s offense stalled without its leader.
Through six games this season, Daniels has completed 61.5% of his throws with 8 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, but he’s also scored four times on the ground. His athleticism also makes it tough for opponents to create negative plays. USF has given up only seven sacks all season.
Darrell Scott at 6-foot-1 and 240 pounds leads the USF ground attack with 482 yards and a 6.2 yard per carry average. When the former Colorado running back was looking to transfer in 2010, he officially visited Cincinnati, but the Bearcats never extended an offer, and he landed with the Bulls.
Daniels’ favorite target is wide receiver Sterling Griffin (6’/189). The redshirt sophomore easily leads the Bulls in receptions with 32 catches for 420 yards, but he has found the end zone only once.
South Florida Defense
The Bulls have had eleven defenders drafted since 2007 including first round NFL selections like Jason Pierre-Paul (DL) and Mike Jenkins (CB), a second round pick in Nate Allen (S) and third rounders like Jerome Murphy (CB), Terrell McClain (DT) and Tyrone McKenzie (OLB), but this year’s unit doesn’t really have any stars.
Linebackers Mike Lanaris and DeDe Lattimore lead the Bulls with 47 and 40 tackles respectively, but thirteen different defenders have contributed to their 22 sacks in only six games (tied for 6th in the country), and this crew has an even more impressive 55 tackles for loss (2nd in the country). These two areas combine to give USF’s opponents 345 negative yards for the year (57.5 negative yards a game). Although this statistic isn’t commonly kept, only Rutgers’ defense has generated more negative yardage this year.
The Bulls’ defenders have also done a more than respectable job of getting their offense the football as shown by their 16 take-aways (tied for 13th in the country).
South Florida Special Teams
The University of South Florida has two experienced kickers in redshirt juniors Justin Brockhaus-Kann (P) and Maikon Bonani (PK) since both also held their respective jobs in 2010.
Brockhaus-Kann averaged only 37.6 yards a punt last season, but this year numbers are up slightly as he is averaging 38.9 yards a kick, which ranks him 76th in the country.
Bonani, who also kicked as a freshman, has gotten off to a slow start after having only four misses last year (17 for 21). The three year starter has already missed more field goal attempts this year (9 of 14) than in all of 2010, and he has connected on only one attempt from further than 38 yards out. However, Bonani has adequate leg strength and has shown a range of up to 49 yards.