USFNation Game Preview: Kansas

USF faces Kansas for a rare Friday night showdown between two ranked teams. The crowd should be electric when the Bulls & the Jayhawks meet at Raymond James Stadium. Read on for

Amazing how much can change in two years.

 

Two years ago when Kansas celebrated a hard-fought 13-7 victory over the Bulls in Lawrence, they were a slightly middle-of-the-pack Big XII and South Florida was a relative newcomer to the game and certainly thought to be nothing much than a respectably competitive Big East team.

 

Two years later Kansas is coming off of the program's best season since I was born, winning the Orange Bowl over Va. Tech, while USF is coming off a fairly successful 9-4 season and is considered by many to be the favorites to win the Big East this season. Both programs held the prestigious No. 2 ranking at one point last season as well.

 

So naturally it makes sense that these two programs meet Friday night and both are ranked in the top 20. Obviously this is going to be a tough game for the Bulls and the type of game that could determine what kind of home-field advantage the Bulls will have this season.

 

So let's hit some numbers.

 

539 – yards gained by Kansas last week in a 29-0 victory over Louisiana Tech.

 

323 – yards given up by the USF defense this season

 

196 – passing yards by Matt Grothe in the 2006 Kansas game, the third start of his career.

 

412 – passing yards by Kansas QB Todd Reesing last week against Louisiana Tech.

 

2 – current USF opponents that are ranked in the top 25 (West Virginia is No. 25)

 

5 – current Kansas opponents that are ranked in the top 25.

 

I did that last set of numbers to point out how important it is for USF to make a good impression this week because they might not have many opportunities for redemption.

 

When USF Has the Ball: Well with the recent emergence of Mo Plancher the Bulls have four running backs perfectly capable of carrying the load (if Mike Ford is healthy) and probably could challenge the Jayhawks with their running game. But the once experienced offensive line is dropping off with injuries right and left so maybe going physical against the Jayhawks isn't the best route. This is going to be a close game and historically in close games Grothe gets about 75% of the plays on offense (either passing or running). USF is pretty much undefeated when he gets around 45-50% of the plays so I'm hoping that the 20 carries against UCF was more of an aberration and less of a trend. In the end an effective game from the running backs will open up the playaction, the rollouts and the bootlegs.

 

When Kansas Has the Ball: All due respect to Pat White, but Todd Reesing will probably be the best quarterback the Bulls face this season. He's like the anti-Greco. And know that while the Jayhawks have gaudy passing numbers they have run the ball around 40% of the time and they will try to keep the Bulls' pass rush honest. Unlike last week against UCF, Kansas will not be easily defended by containment. The secondary has to generate turnovers; the pass rush has to get to Reesing and the linebackers must fly all over the place to make plays.

 

 

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