2011: 5-4 (1-4)
Last week's game: USF went up to Syracuse and defeated the Orange 37-17. The Bulls ran for 236 yards, which included 117 from QB B.J. Daniels, and their 490 total yards upped their season average to 469 per game. Though Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib had a decent game, the Orange could not run at all, going for only 3.3 yards per carry on 33 carries.
Last year's match up: The game that ended the Randy Shannon era at UM. The Canes came out uninspired and played that way for the entire game, and USF walk-on QB Bobby Eveld led the Bulls to game tying drive with two minutes left in the game. A Jacory Harris interception sent the game into overtime, where the Canes settled for a field goal and then watched USF run the ball in for a touchdown. Shannon was fired that night.
Offense: USF is going to run the ball. They're going to run it a lot, and the Hurricanes should be concerned. QB B.J. Daniels is going to run a lot of option, and though the Canes were shockingly good last week against FSU QB E.J. Manuel, Daniels is a better runner, and USF is a better rushing team. Yes, visions of Kansas State QB Collin Klein should be flickering in your brain. USF's leading rusher, RB Darrell Scott, made the trip with the team to Syracuse last week but did not play, but he is expected to see the field this afternoon. His back up, Demetris Murray, ran for 86 yards on 17 carries last week in his absence.
Defense: The Bulls defense is solid but unspectacular. In particular, their numbers against the pass are deflated by playing in the Big East, and they have had some bad games, giving up 44 points to Pittsburgh and 37 to Cincinnati. Their linebackers make most of the plays, with sophomore Devekeyan Lattimore, who leads the team in both tackles and sacks, and junior Sam Barrington the names to watch there. In the secondary, junior Kayvon Webster— an ex-Miami commit— leads the pack, and will likely be tasked with covering Tommy Streeter.
Match up in Miami's favor: USF doesn't want to pass the ball, and B.J. Daniels really is not a good passer. The Canes defense played as well as it had all season in last week's lost to FSU, and if they play that good again today USF should have real problems scoring. The Canes have faced a lot of running quarterbacks this year, and it seemed like last week things started to click in terms of how to defend options and reads. The defensive line also was getting major push last week, and I'd expect guys like Olivier Vernon and Darius Smith to be in the backfield quite often today.
Match up in USF's favor: It's hard to find a place where the Bulls have a definite edge over the Canes. If Miami comes out motivated and is able to quiet the crowd, they should not have too much trouble winning this game. It seems like the Canes always play close games, and this one most certainly could come down to the wire, but the Canes have the ability to put some distance between themselves and the Bulls early and make B.J. Daniels throw USF back into the game.