"I'd say Carlton will see action regardless; he's making that much stride," offensive coordinator Rod Smith said. "Both of them know that probably - probably - both will play."
Pat Julmiste, a second-year starter, had his best regular season, going 116-for-227 (51.1%) for 1,398 yards, with six touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 342 yards and four touchdowns.
Carlton Hill had only thrown one pass in his career before he saw extended action in relief of Julmiste in the second half of South Florida's loss to West Virginia on Dec. 3. Hill completed 10-of-21 passes for 98 yards and threw two interceptions against the Mountaineers. He also rushed for 50 yards and scored South Florida's only touchdown on an 11-yard run in the 28-13 home defeat at Raymond James Stadium.
"Pat and Carlton are both taking all the reps with the (first team)," Smith said. "It's kind of like what we did for West Virginia. Pat's still the starter, but it's always open competition -- Carlton's right there. We're still evaluating. Pat knows that obviously, as Carlton progresses, the more snaps he gets."
Both quarterbacks will be facing a tough NC State defense that ranked 14th in the nation in total defense after yielding only 299 yards per game. Thankfully for Julmiste and Hill, dependable RB Andre Hall, the Big East's leading rusher, will start in the backfield.
Notes and Quotes:
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Whether it's Pat Julmiste or Carlton Hill at QB, the South Florida offense revolves around one player: Senior RB Andre Hall, who led the Big East in rushing after topping the 1,000-yard barrier for the second straight season. Look for plenty of runs from Hall against an attacking N.C. State defense.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: South Florida quietly put together one of the best defenses in the nation this year. The Bulls ranked 17th in the nation in total defense after giving up 304.9 yards per game. Not bad, but only good enough for third in the Big East behind West Virginia and Connecticut.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: South Florida QB Pat Julmiste vs. DB Garland Heath -- Julmiste threw more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (6) this season and will have to watch out for Heath, who led N.C. State with four interceptions from his roverback position.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm out here like it's always been this way. It doesn't seem much different. I feel like we should be out here." -- South Florida coach Jim Leavitt on whether it feels strange to still be practicing in late December. South Florida has never been to a bowl game before.
Strategy and Personnel:
NEXT WEEK'S GAME: South Florida vs. North Carolina State, Meineke Car Care Bowl, Charlotte, N.C., Dec. 31 -- South Florida's first bowl game in program history comes against a scrappy ACC team that features one of the nation's best defenses. South Florida lost its last two regular season games and needs a postseason victory to finish a successful first season in the Big East on a positive note.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB Pat Julmiste -- The junior had a roller coaster season. He played well in big wins over Louisville and Rutgers, but struggled in a Nov. 26 loss at Connecticut, where he threw three interceptions. Now he's facing pressure from freshman QB Carlton Hill. Can he respond with a big game like the one that allowed South Florida to upset Louisville in September?
QB Carlton Hill -- The freshman will see action against N.C. State after playing well against West Virginia in the Bulls' regular season finale. Like Julmiste, Hill's a good athlete who's happy to run with the ball if the pass protection breaks down. He scrambled for an 11-yard touchdown against the Mountaineers.
RB Andre Hall -- The senior ran for a Big East best 1,256 yards and a team-high 13 touchdowns. Hall is a hard-nosed runner who can also make people miss in the open field.
DE Terrence Royal -- The senior led South Florida linemen this season with 41 tackles, six sacks, and three forced fumbles. Over the last two years, he's had 81 tackles and 10 sacks.
LB Ben Moffitt -- The junior led the Bulls' underrated defense with 89 tackles and his work in the middle of the field was a big reason why South Florida ranked at the top of the Big East with 29 takeaways.
ROSTER REPORT: South Florida had four recruits make commitments recently. DL James Jackson, a prized recruit from Santa Monica (Calif.) College, picked the Bulls over Florida State, while Dixie Hollins (Fla.) High OL James Boger, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Gibbs High DB Jerrel Young, and Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln High RB Keeley Dorsey committed to play at South Florida next fall.
Jackson said he had scholarship offers to play defensive line at USF or fullback at FSU. ... Paul Uhatafe, a 6-foot-2, 295-pound freshman, moved from offensive line to nose guard, according to coach Jim Leavitt. ... Meineke Car Care Bowl officials said that as of Dec. 13, N.C. State has sold more than 17,000 tickets and that they expect the Wolfpack to exceed 20,000. In contrast, South Florida ticket sales have been slow. The Bulls had sold about 4,200 tickets as of Dec. 12.