USFNation Game Preview: USF vs Pitt

The Bulls are back home for their first BIG EAST match-up of the season against the Pitt Panthers. USF looks go 6-0, but will have to contain Pitt RB LeSean McCoy to stay unbeaten. Read on for the lowdown when USF & Pitsburgh meet at Raymond James for a rare Thursday night showdown between BIG EAST foes. Only on

The 16-day break seems so close...but so far away.

With a victory over Pittsburgh, USF could go into an extended break at 6-0, an extended break after playing six games faster than any other team in the nation. If anyone wants to know how important Thursday night's game with Pittsburgh is then let me tell you -- this game is the key to what USF will do this season.

Going into the break at 6-0 would allow the Bulls to rest and get healthy while the rest of the college football world beats itself up jocking for position. USF with their nice, neat No. 10 ranking will watch Oklahoma and Texas beat each other LSU and Florida beat each everyone try to beat Georgia and the Pac-10 fall victim to a very pissed off USC team.

So tonight's game huge and make no mistake about it, Pittsburgh is a live underdog. They might not be as good as people thought they would be, but they aren't as bad either. They are a decent squad with a solid running game and an entire defensive line that hails from the state of Florida and will be looking to perform in front of family members.

So let's look at some numbers:

3.1 -- LeSean McCoy's average per carry in Pittsburgh's loss to Bowling Green

5.3 -- LeSean McCoy's average per carry in Pittsburgh's victory over Syracuse.

149 -- LeSean McCoy's rushing yards total in said victory over Syracuse. His season high.

When Pittsburgh Has the Ball: 4.0 is the key number. Keep McCoy below four yards per carry, the Panthers will have a very difficult time winning. Pittsburgh runs to set up for more running. The passing game isn't bad, but its not explosive as shown by a pedastrian 10.1 yards per catch team total.

More numbers:

5 -- USF players with more than 100 yards of rushing this season.

66.0 -- Matt Grothe's completion percentage, by far the highest of his career.

21 -- different USF players have recorded a positive yardage stat this season.

When USF Has the Ball: So far this season the Bulls have had at least 7 plays got for 35 yards or more. Pittsburgh has one. So USF's job is to keep the tempo fast, keep the game moving quickly and tire out that Pittsburgh defense. I wouldn't be shocked to see the Bulls come out the gate trying to pass frequently against the Panthers and put them on their heels.

Overall I'm expected a nice Bulls victory and hopefully a big Thursday night crowd!

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