Florida State hosts South Florida on Saturday for the first time since the 2009 game where the Bulls upset the Seminoles. Since then the two programs have gone in opposite directions. The Seminoles are coming off one of the best three year spans in the history of the program going 40-3 since the start of 2012. South Florida on the other hand has gone 10-27 during that span. South Florida coach Willie Taggart is currently on the hot seat and a win this weekend would really go a long way in helping him keep his job.
South Florida played Florida A&M in the first week of the season and dominated the Rattlers on both offense and defense. Running back Marlon Mack and quarterback Quinton Flowers were the two stars on the offense. Mack carried the ball 23 times for 131 yards and a touchdown while Flowers went 12-16 for 141 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. He also ran 7 times for 63 yards and 1 touchdown.
The Bulls defense was particularly dominant against FAMU allowing just 2.53 yards per play. Linebacker Auggie Sanchez and defensive tackle Bruce Hector led the USF defensive effort. Sanchez, in particular, was all over the field recording 10 tackles and 2 tackles for loss.
Wayne: USF is almost the polar opposite from Florida State's first opponent Texas State. The Bulls defense is far superior to what the Seminoles faced against the Bobcats, but their offense is actually worse. Stopping Quinton Flowers will be the key for the Florida State defense. Mobile quarterbacks have caused the Florida State defense trouble in the past and, while Flowers is not a great passer, he is a fantastic athlete and will cause problems for a Florida State defense that wants to be aggressive.
It will be interesting to see if Florida State is able to run the football with the same efficiency as they did against Texas State, particularly to the right side. It will be a tougher challege for the offense than the Texas State game, but the Florida State offensive line is talented enough to set the line of scrimmage against the Bulls.
Florida State has superior talent and better coaching than the Bulls, and after a slow start by the Seminoles that will be made very clear. South Florida will make the game interesting for a quarter before Florida State pulls away for a 41-14 win.
Jason: In many respects, this game is the flip side to the Texas State game. USF’s offense was not very good last season, though they showed signs of significant improvement in Week 1, but their defense has size and athleticism and will give a better picture of where the FSU offense actually stands two weeks into the season. I’m curious to see if FSU is able to dominate a much better front in the running game, and Golson and the wide receivers will have less space to work with against a secondary with legit Florida athletes. Flowers also presents a lot of problems with his speed on the edge, so we’ll get to see whether FSU is indeed improved at the edge positions on defense or if the defense will continue to struggle keeping contain against mobile quarterbacks. I do think FSU is too talented for the Bulls, but I again expect a few hiccups here and there. I’ve got Florida State 38, USF 17.