A Look Ahead to USF vs Cincinnati

Beating Cincinnati at home this weekend will take the Bulls one step closer to their first bowl and possibly the Big East Championship. Here is the preview for this weeks game.

Cincinnati (4-5) @ South Florida (5-3)

The Bearcats got manhandled at home by West Virginia 38-0. Cincinnati managed 269 yards of total offense against one of the nation's toughest defenses in the Mountaineers. They didn't help their cause by committing four turnovers. The Bearcats defense gave up 297 rushing yards to West Virginia as they controlled and dominated every phase of the game.

Offensively Cincinnati is led by quarterback Dustin Grutza. He has thrown for 1,389 yards (134/246) with eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He has also rushed the ball for 236 yards in nine games. He is averaging 154 yards passing per contest. Bradley Glatthaar is the Bearcats leading rusher with 580 yards (122 carries) and seven touchdowns. Meanwhile, three others have over two hundred rushing yards, Greg Moore (296 yards), Butler Benton (282 yards) and Grutza. Four receivers are catching passes. Derrick Ross leads the way with 27 receptions for 290 yards and a score. Earnest Jackson has 26 receptions for 395 yards and three touchdown receptions while Brent Celek has 25 receptions for 264 yards and two scores and Antwuan Giddens has 19 receptions for 145 yards and a touchdowns.

Defensively they are led by freshman linebacker Corey Smith. He leads the team with 64 tackles and seven tackles for a loss. Free safety Nakamra Hanuki has 63 tackles Defensive lineman Adam Roberts leads Cincinnati with four sacks.

Field goal kicker Kevin Lovell is 2-7 this season.

The Bearcats have beaten Syracuse, UConn, West Carolina and Eastern Michigan this year. The 22-16 win over the Orangemen was their only road win this season.

South Florida
For the second consecutive week, USF went to the Northeast and came home with a victory. Last week they beat Rutgers. This time they shut out Syracuse 27-0. Running back Andre Hall rushed for 222 yards and three touchdowns as the Bulls remain in the hunt for a BCS bowl bid and a game behind West Virginia. South Florida out gained Syracuse 427-183 and held the Orangemen to 12 first downs.

The Bulls have played smash mouth football in their last two wins against Rutgers and Syracuse, where they have rushed the ball 123 times for 580 yards. That's a whopping 4.72 yards per carry. They are of course led by the Big East Conference's leading rushing, Andre Hall. He has now rushed for 1,020 yards (5.6 yards per carry) and 12 scores. Hall is also USF's leading receiver and he should be strongly considered for conference Player of the Year honors. USF Head Coach Jim Leavitt and his staff have not had to ask much from quarterback Pat Julmiste of late because of the Bulls very effective run game. In their last two wins he has only thrown for 224 yards (18/33) with no touchdowns and one interception.

Defensively, the Bulls put up their best performance of the season against Syracuse. They held the Orangemen to 182 total yards and forced three interceptions. Syracuse did not cross midfield until the third quarter and did not penetrate the Bulls 39 yard line until two minutes remaining in the game. They held the Orangemen to one yard or less on seven drives, had 13 tackles for a loss and four sacks.

The Matchup
The Bulls are playing at home for the first time since September 24th. Their formula for victory against Cincinnati will be simple, run the football, play good defense and create tunrivers. Hall is now the leading rusher in the Big East and fifth in the NCAA with 123.5 rushing yards per game. The Bearcats are next to last in rushing defense by giving up 166 yards per game, last in total defense (388.8) and last in scoring defense (30 points per game). The Bulls are 17th in the nation in total defense (2nd in the Big East) and 14th in the NCAA in turnover margin (+9) and scoring defense (17.9 per game). These numbers are at or near the top of the Big East as well.

For Cincinnati, they must find a way to stop Hall and force Bulls quarterback Pat Julmiste into mistakes to give themselves a chance. The Bulls led the Big East in turnover margin (+9) while Cincinnati is last (-5). Turnovers will be critical in this game because USF has taken advantage of them this season while Cincinnati has killed themselves with them.

Big East Standings

West Virginia (5-0)(8-1)
South Florida (3-1)(5-3)
Pittsburgh (4-2)(5-5)
Louisville (3-2)(7-2)
Rutgers (3-3)(6-4)
Cincinnati (2-3)(4-5)
UConn (1-4)(4-5)
Syracuse (0-6)(1-8)

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