Preview: West Virginia - South Florida

The Mountaineers travel to South Florida looking to grab a victory in the conference season opener for both teams.






BlueGoldNews.com Game Scorecard
Series: Tied 1-1
Fri 9/28 8:00 PM
Tampa, Fla.

Raymond James Stadium
Record: 4-0
USA/Coaches: 5th
Last Game
ECU W 48-7

Click for Morgantown, West Virginia Forecast
Record: 3-0
USA/Coaches: 18th
Last Game
UNC W 37-10
Rosters/ Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2007 Schedule
First Meeting: 2005
Last Meeting: 2006
Rosters/Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2007 Schedule

Injuries:

WVU: Nate Sowers (Hamstring) Out, Archie Sims (Hamstring) Out, Alric Arnett (Leg) Out

USF: Nick Capogna (Knee) Doubtful, Danny TOlley (Groin) Doubtful

Game Outlook:

WVU offense vs. USF defense

The South Florida defense is arguably the best defensive unit that the Mountaineers will face in the regular season. The Bulls are led by a one of the top linebacking corps in the nation that includes Ben Moffitt (6-2, 240), Brouce Mompremier (6-1, 227) and Tyron McKenzie (6-2, 235). Moffit, the leader of the Bull defense, has recorded 23 tackles in the first three games. The 2007 Bronko Nagurski Award candidate also has 3.5 tackles for a loss, one quarterback hurry and one pass breakup.

McKenzie, a junior, must lead the nation in BCS conferences played in, having played in the Big Ten (Michigan State, 2003), the Big 12 (Iowa State, 2006) and now the BIG EAST. The speedy backer from Florida is second on the team with 26 tackles.

Mompremier, the least experienced of the group, leads the team with 28 stops, and also has one interception. Coming out of high school, Mompremier was rated the 24th best linebacking prospect in the country by Scout.com.

The defensive line is lead by All-American candidate George Selvie (6-4, 242). Selvie leads the nation in sacks with 2.83 per game (8.5 through three games) after a breakout season in 2006 which saw him named to several All-Freshman teams. He was so dominant in last season's game versus the Mountaineers that he was named National Defensive and the BIG EAST Player of the Week. In addition to his impressive sack totals, the sophomore has racked up 20 tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss and five quarterback hurries.

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Game Info
WVU 4-0, 0-0
USF 3-0, 0-0
Fri 9/28 8:00 PM
Raymond James Stadium
Series: Even 1-1
TV: ESPN2
Rank: WVU 5th - USF 18th
Line: WVU -7
Joining Selvie on the defensive line will be Richard Clebert (6-1, 312), Jarriett Buie (6-4, 249) and Aaron Harris (6-4, 264). The trio has combined for 24 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 15 quarterback hurries.

If the linebackers and defensive line aren't impressive enough, the Bulls' defensive secondary completes an outstanding 11. This unit is lead by a pair of All-American candidates in Trae Williams (5-10, 193) and Mike Jenkins (5-11, 194). Williams, who is on the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List and was a 2006 BIG EAST first team selection, has recorded 16 tackles and five pass breakups this season.

Jenkins, a Florida native, has racked up 12 stops along with one interception and five pass breakups.

Rounding out the unit will be Nate Allen (6-2, 200) and Carlton Williams (6-4, 214). Allen leads the team with two interceptions and leads the secondary with 20 tackles, while Williams has 16 stops, one pass breakup and one sack.

When asked about the Bulls' secondary, Coach Rodriguez commented, "(Nate Allen and Trae Williams) are two of the better (defensive backs) in our entire league. They are explosive and do a great job in the pass and run game. They have tremendous futures in front of them."

By The Numbers :
WVU is ranked tenth in total offense (525.00 yds/game), second in rushing offense (357.00 yds/game) and 102nd in passing offense (168.00 yds/game)

USF is ranked seventh in total defense (237.67 yds/game), 13th in rushing defense (79.00 yds/game) and 14th in passing defense (158.67 yds/game).

Advantage: WVU

WVU defense vs. USF offense

On offense the Bulls are lead by one of the most underrated players in the country in Matt Grothe (6-0, 213). The sophomore has lead the Bulls to a 12-4 record over his 16 career starts, with one of those wins coming against the Mountaineers last season. The Florida native has been impressive in the first three games of the season, completing 58 of 69 passes (60.4%) for 652 yards and four touchdowns. Grothe is also a weapon in the running game, where he is third on the team in rushing with 88 yards and one touchdown.

Teaming with Grothe in the backfield will be the team's leading rusher, Mike Ford (6-2, 225). Ford, who originally signed with Alabama in 2005, was one of the top rated running backs coming out of Florida during his senior season in high school. The mega-talented back then spent the past two seasons at Hargrave Military Academy before enrolling at USF in January of this year. This season Ford has gained 170 yards on 33 carries (5.2 per carry) and has reached paydirt four times.

Leading the way for the receiving corps has been Taurus Johnson (6-1, 204) with 13 receptions for 150 yards. The junior was USF's Offensive Playmaker of the Year in 2006.

Joining Johnson as Grothe's top targets are Amari Jackson (6-5, 202) and Jessie Hester (6-0, 174). Jackson, one of the most athletic players in the Big East, has hauled in 10 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns while the speedy Hester has caught 10 passes for 107 yards and one touchdown.

Paving the way for the Bulls will be a massive but somewhat inexperienced line. Anchoring the middle of the line will be center Jake Griffin (6-4, 307), left guard Ryan Schmidt (6-5, 327) and right guard Zach Hermann (6-3, 313). Marc Dile (6-4, 310) and Walt Walker (6-5, 333) start at the tackle positions. Over the first three games of the season, this unit as allowed six sacks, ranking 62nd in the nation.

By The Numbers :
WVU is ranked 15th in total defense (273.25 yds/game), 19th in rushing defense (87.00 yds/game) and 33rd in passing defense (186.25 yds/game).

USF is ranked 70th in total offense (373.33 yds/game), 58th in rushing offense (154.67 yds/game) and 65th in passing offense (218.67 yds/game).

Advantage: WVU

WVU special teams vs. USF special teams

While the Bulls are undefeated, little credit can be given to the Bull special teams that have yet to get on track.

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Returning kicks for the Bulls will be Jerome Murphy (6-1, 167) and Taurus Johnson. Murphy has four returns for an average of 33.2 yards while Johnson has three returns for an average of 18.3 yards.

Handling the punt returns will be Marcus Edwards (5-11, 164) and Amari Jackson. Both are talented returners that have yet to break the big return in a game. The duo averages 7.5 yards per return.

Delbert Alvardo (6-0, 196) has had his troubles during the first three games, but did connect on the field goal against Auburn to force the game into overtime. The sophomore has hit five out of nine field goal attempts with a long of 40 yards.

Handling the punting will be Justin Teachey (5-11, 176). Teachey, a junior, has averaged 35.4 yards on seven attempts, with four punts resulting in fair catches.

By The Numbers:
WVU is ranked 101st in net punting (31.50 yds/punt), 76th in kick returns (20.80 yds/return) and 42nd in punt returns (11.67 yds/return).

USF is ranked 75th in net punting (34.07 yds/punt), 84th in kick returns (19.90 yds/return) and 76th in punt returns (7.54 yds/return)

Advantage: WVU

Picks to Click:

On Offense: Owen Schmitt

On Defense: Mortty Ivy

Prediction:

If anyone on the regular season docket has the means to slow down the Mountaineer offensive attack it is the South Florida Bulls. Of the eleven defensive starters, no less than five will be playing football on Sundays in the near future.

Last season, after the Bulls topped the Mountaineers in Morgantown, Coach Rodriguez' raided the Bull coaching staff, snagging offensive coordinator Rod Smith, and offensive line coach Greg Frey. Will Rodriguez be looking to South Florida again after this season for more coaches, or will the Gold and Blue figure out how to move the ball against the speedy Bull defense? My answer: In Rod I Trust!

WVU - 27 USF - 17


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