USF vs. Miami - Keys to the Game

The Miami Hurricanes (3-0) head north to square off against Willie Taggart's winless South Florida Bulls on Saturday at 12:00 PM on ESPNU inside Raymond James Stadium. USFNation's Corey Bender breaks down the keys of the game for the Bulls to come out on top to pull off the this week's upset.

Here are my keys to the game for this Saturday when the South Florida hosts the Miami Hurricanes.

1. Steven Bench has to establish himself as the clear-cut starter for Willie Taggart. Bench showed flashes in the initial part of the game against Florida Atlantic, completing a 25-yard touchdown strike to fullback, Ryan Eppes. As the game went on, Bench's numbers diminished, finishing the game 8-24 for 128 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The Hurricanes rank fourth nationally in pass efficiency defense (83.63), which is second-best in the ACC. Unlike Bobby Eveld, Bench possesses the ability to escape the pocket when pass protection breaks down upfront.

2. Through three games, the Bulls have given up 399 yards on the ground on an average of 133 ypg. Miami's sophomore stud running back, Duke Johnson, is one of the better backs in the country and could be the best running back the Bulls will face this season. On the season, Johnson is averaging 101 ypg, while adding three touchdowns on the season as well. Junior linebacker Reshard Cliett returns this week, joining stud senior linebacker DeDe Lattimore and emerging freshman Nigel Harris, who let the Bulls in tackles against Florida Atlantic with 12 tackles and a forced fumble.

3. Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. USF's defense has only given up 67 of the 102 points scored against them. Each of the opponents USF has squared off against has returned an interception more than 55 yards for a touchdown. Along with those eye-popping stats, both Michigan State and Florida Atlantic scored two defensive scores and the Bulls have had five touchdowns scored against them by opposing defenses. To put the icing on the cake, South Florida has given the ball to opposing defenses three times inside their own 10-yard line, each time resulting in six points and seven of eight Bull turnovers have resulted in touchdowns. Ouch.

4. Marcus Shaw has to establish himself bright and early on Saturday afternoon. Through three games, Shaw has ran for 398 yards, which ranks second in the AAC and sits at 8th in the country in rushing per game (132.7). Shaw has two 100-yard games on the season and fell short six yards for a third game against Michigan State. So far, Shaw has three runs of 40 or more yards and six plays of 20+ yards, which leads the team. Miami's defense has only given up three offensive touchdowns through the first three games. Getting Shaw in the open field to use his explosiveness is crucial for the Bulls on Saturday afternoon.

5. Asides from Heisman Trophy hopeful, Teddy Bridgewater, Miami's senior quarterback Stephen Morris will be as talented as any signal caller Chuck Bresnahan's defense will square off against in 2013. In his career, Morris has amassed for over 5,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in his time spent in Coral Gables. So far in 2013, Morris has completed 75% of his passes for 404 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. The Bulls have been stellar in that department through the first three games. South Florida comes into Saturday ranked 2nd in the AAC and 9th in the NCAA in passing defense allowing just 145.3 ypg and comes in 4th in the AAC and 23rd in the NCAA in total defense allowing 305.7 ypg.

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