Thursday Night Throwdown- USF at WVU

Posted Oct 13, 2010

Two interesting rivalry battles highlight the Thursday night action this week.


South Florida at West Virginia

Time: 7:45
Line: West Virginia -12.

Importance of the Game to South Florida: South Florida ruined what was shaping up as the most important Big East game of the year with their performance last week against Syracuse at home. The Orange upset of the Bulls put USF at 0-1 in Big East play, and makes this a virtual must win game if they want to win the BCS bid that had eluded them for so long this season. The Bulls always seem to use the West Virginia game as their measuring stick for where their program is right now. Here is another measuring stick game.

Importance of the Game to West Virginia: The Mountaineers have not played a Big East game yet, but most people consider them the favorites in the conference. West Virginia has plenty of talent and has some exciting players. If they want to get a BCS bowl bid for the first time since 2007, they need to get off to a good start and get this victory at home. In front of a national television audience, they also have a chance to show that they are a team that is big time and deserves more respect on the national level.

Quote from Skip Holtz, South Florida head coach: "This is going to be one of the better football teams we're going to play, especially playing on the road on a Thursday night. They're throwing the ball better than they ever have. They are adding a dimension to their offense they have not had over the last four or five years."

Quote from Bill Stewart, West Virginia head coach: "This is a USF team that I am sure will come up here loaded. We have not done well with them in the past. All-time, we are 2-3, and if I am not mistaken, they have won three of the last four games. In 2006, we scored 19 (points). In 2007, we scored 17 points. Both of those games were losses. Then, in 2008, they came here for Patrick White's "White Out" and we won 13-7. Last year, we went down there ranked and scored 19 points and lost. We have been lucky to win one game."

South Florida Offense vs. West Virginia Defense: The Bulls offense relies heavily on BJ Daniels. He is completing 52.6 percent of his passes, and has just four touchdowns against seven interceptions. Still, Daniels is the key. When he is making plays, this offense can be very tough to stop. Evan Landi has eleven receptions, with 18.5 yards per catch. Dontavia Bogan has thirteen catches for 17.8 yards per catch and two touchdown catches. Demetri Murray has 6.2 yards per rush. Moises Plancher has 4.4 yards per rush and four touchdowns. Daniels is averaging 3.6 yards per rush and has two touchdowns. The offensive line has allowed eleven sacks so far this year. The Mountaineers defense gives up 2.7 yards per rush. Opponents are completing 57.8 percent of their passes for 10.8 yards per catch with five interceptions this year. They also have come up with thirteen sacks so far this year. Terrence Garvin leads the team with 32 tackles, while Bruce Irvin leads the team with four sacks. Keith Tandy has three of the teams five interceptions on the season. Daniels really struggled last week against Syracuse. He will need to produce a lot of offense to get this team going.

West Virginia Offense. Vs. South Florida Defense Geno Smith is the key offensive player the Mountaineers have. He's still figuring it out, but he is getting better and better. He is completing 66 percent of his passes with twelve touchdowns and two interceptions. His top two receivers are Tavon Austin and Jock Sanders. They have caught 53 passes and have four touchdown catches between them. Stedman Bailey and Brad Starks have three touchdown catches each. Noel Devine is one of the most exciting player on the Mountaineers offense. He is fast, and if he gets loose, look out. Devine is averaging 5.3 yards per carry and has four rushing touchdowns already this year. The offensive line has allowed six sacks so far this year. The Bulls are allowing 3.9 yards per rush, while opponents are completing 55.5 percent of their passes with seven interceptions. They are getting just 10.2 yards per catch. The Bulls have come up with fourteen sacks on the season. Jon Lejiste has three of those sacks, while Craig Marshall has four. Sam Barrington leads the team with 30 tackles. Mike Lanaris has two interceptions on the season. Craigh Marshall also has six tackles for a loss. The Bulls defense is pretty good, but they have not faced anyone as quick as Devine. They will have their hands full with him- and probably with Smith as well.

Prediction: The Bulls are pretty good, but not good enough to win a road game like this. The Mountaineers have too many offensive weapons for the Bulls to be able to control in the long run. Daniels will get his yards, especially early in the game, but after not scoring a touchdown at home against Syracuse last week, it is hard to believe they are going to put up the points necessary to be able to beat West Virginia on the road this week. West Virginia 24, South Florida 7.

Kansas State at Kansas 7:30 FSN This rivalry game should be interesting, especially if the Jayhawks have gotten their head on straight thanks to the week off after a 55-7 loss to Baylor. Kansas, when they have gotten up this year, have been good. They beat a good Georgia Tech team at home already this year after losing to North Dakota State. Jordan Webb has been just OK as quarterback. He threw two interceptions against Baylor though. But the bigger problem was that they allowed the Bears to get 678 total yards against them. That is purely unacceptable. Kansas State was run out of the stadium last week by Nebraska on Thursday night. Daniel Thomas was bottled up, but he has been a monster so far. The last two weeks, he has combined for 139 yards rushing. That is just two more yards than he had against Missouri State, which was his low of the first three games. They had a tough time slowing down Taylor Martinez, as they have against any runner this year. Can Kansas exploit that? At home, the Jayhawks have been much better than they have been on the road. Most people probably expect a Wildcats blowout. Don't buy it. Kansas State wins, but it will be much closer than most are expecting. Kansas State 31, Kansas 27.

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