USFNation Game Preview: USF/Western Kentucky

With the first game is in the books, the Bulls are traveling out of state to go against Western Kentucky for the first road game this season. Here's a look at the Bulls matchup against the Western Kentucky Hill Toppers.


1 Down, 11 to Go.


Some will be tougher than last week. Not sure if this game is that.


The Game: USF Bulls vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

The Time: 7:30 p.m.

The Location: Houchens Industries – L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, KY

TV: Brighthouse Sports Network and/or ESPN Gameplan

Radio: WFLA 970 AM

Tickets: Probably Available but the place only seats 22K


Now for the game.


The preseason continues as the Bulls faithful make their final preparations for an evening in Tallahassee. On paper Wofford would probably beat Western Kentucky by a couple of scores as the Hilltoppers continue their transition from FCS to the FBS world.


Last Week: USF started its 2009 road to perdition with a Wofford victory that appears to be different in different people's eyes. As a fan you may or may not have enjoyed it. This writer thought it was routine if anything. The Bulls did what they had to do to get the result they had to get but the defensive line struggled in the first half and the team didn't show much and didn't do much vertically.


On offense the Bulls appeared to be focus on making smarter throws and playing a high percentage passing game. That worked to near perfection as Matt Grothe completed 21-of-25 passes and only had one mistake, which was an interception in the end zone. The running game was hampered with the suspension of Mike Ford, but Mo Plancher and true freshman Lamar Lindsey did a very admirable job in his place.


Defensively the Bulls struggled with Wofford's tricky hybrid option for much of the first half, but with George Selvie leading the way, the unit recovered in the second half. They will need to have a full performance in one of these three games before heading to Tallahassee to take on the explosive Seminoles offense.


Last week Western Kentucky got introduced to the way that Tennessee will run business under Lane Kiffin. The result was an embarrassing 63-7 loss that saw Tennessee gain over 600 yards on offense and yield less than 100. The Hilltoppers were especially susceptible to the run as they gave up 380 yards on the ground to the Volunteers.


What to Expect: The Bulls should turn it up on both sides of the ball. Western Kentucky is a fairly weak opponent…ok really weak opponent and the best way to eliminate weak opponents on the road is to put points up quickly. Get 14 or more points in the first quarter, limit WKU to less than five first downs in the first half. Really beat this team down and eliminate any ideas of an upset.

The Bulls have a lot of improving to do over the next two weeks because they have to walk into Tallahassee a confident, prepared bunch to take on a Florida State squad with little margin of error.


You should also expect the return of the big play and a little more in the vertical passing game. I understand the methodology of last week and wanting Grothe to get comfortable with high-percentage passing, but now he and the receivers need to challenge this outmanned WKU defense. The goal is to improve each week and be as good as possible by Sept. 26th.


Defensively they will have more opportunities to pressure the passer and create more turnovers. The Hilltoppers line is still underdeveloped for the FBS level and George Selvie could have one of his classic Selvie days with multiple sacks. With this being a road game against a weak opponent, expect nothing less than a dominating performance. Don't buy Coach Leavitt's shtick; WKU is not a good team. Maybe they aren't UCF bad, but they are pretty close.


Depth Chart Notes: Jake Sims started last week after Mark Popek was listed as the starter but came down with flu symptoms.


  • Mo Plancher and Lamar Lindsey are the top two backs on the depth chart again.
  • Theo Wilson was moved up to first on the depth chart in the Bulls' three-wide formation
  • Dontavia Bogan is still listed ahead of Jesse Hester
  • Craig Marshall is listed as the left end starter but will play the interior on occasion.
  • Cory Grissom started above Aaron Harris last week and is listed as the starting DT this week.
  • Either Jon Leijste or Jerome Murphy will start for Jerrell Young.


Series Notes: This series is tied at 2 games apiece with USF winning the last two. The last time the Bulls and Hilltoppers faced Marquel Blackwell threw for 360 yards and two touchdowns as USF won 30-24.


Florida Recruits: No surprise but WKU is fairly stocked with Florida recruits with the most notable being Quinterrance Cooper, their starting wide receiver from St. Augustine and Jamarcus Allen, a starting DT from Boone High in Orlando. USF'ers should remember Jamarcus' name as he may or may not have been a one-time USF commit depending on who you ask.




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