2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 7 - USF at Connecticut
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Oct. 15 at Connecticut 16 … South Florida 10
CFN Analysis: The UConn defense saved the offense as Twyon Martin's big strip and Byron Jones' fumble recovery for a score made all the difference. Johnny McEntee only threw for 103 yards and, and while Lyle McCombs ran for 130 yards on 32 carries, the ground game didn't really work. The difference was that USF made the mistakes UConn didn't. The Huskies turned it over twice, but they still won the turnover battle and only committed three penalties. No, the offense wasn't great, but it did enough to milk the clock to get just enough third down conversions to control the game. It might not have been pretty, but it was a nice bounceback win after the West Virginia debacle and with a trip to Pitt up next.
South Florida destroyed the UConn offense at times with the great pass rush, and the Bull ground game worked well with B.J. Daniels, Darrell Scott, and Demetris Murray forming a three-headed monster on the ground, but three Daniels turnovers four turnovers as a team, along with nine penalties, were just enough to equal a tough loss in a winnable game. After sitting around for two weeks after the loss at Pitt, this was not the performance Skip Holtz wanted. The home game against Cincinnati is a must win with the way the Bulls are playing on the road and with Rutgers and Syracuse up next on the road. To win, the Bulls have to start winning the turnover margin again and the Daniels has to stop screwing up.
(AP) EAST HARTFORD, Conn. -- Lyle McCombs ran for 130 yards and Dave Teggart kicked three field goals as Connecticut beat South Florida 16-10 on Saturday without scoring an offensive touchdown.
Cornerback Byron Jones ran a third-quarter fumble back 10 yards for what turned out to be the winning score after defensive tackle Twyon Martin stripped South Florida running back Darrel Scott deep in UConn territory.
B.J. Daniels threw for 164 yards and ran for 64 and a touchdown. But the South Florida quarterback also threw two interceptions and had a key fumble.
The Bulls (4-2, 0-2 Big East) failed to convert on a fourth down with just under 2 1/2 minutes left, and the Huskies (3-4, 1-1) ran out the clock.
A 32-yard run from Daniels had given the Bulls the ball in UConn territory. But a fourth-down pass to Sterling Griffin was stopped four yards short of the first-down marker.
Teggart, who beat South Florida with last-minute field goals in their two previous meetings, hit from 18, 46, and 28 yards.
Connecticut won despite having just 253 yards of offense, and much of that came from McCombs, who carried the ball 30 times and recorded his fourth 100-yard game.
The Bulls defensive line spent much of the afternoon in UConn's backfield, tying a school record with seven sacks. The Huskies had given up just 17 in their previous six games.
Daniels scored on the Bulls' first drive of the second half with a 22 yard scramble through the UConn defense, cutting left to leave linebacker Yawin Smallwood behind on his way to the end zone to give USF a 10-6 lead.
But Smallwood later made a key play, tipping a pass that Sio Moore intercepted to stop a fourth-quarter drive.
Offensive mistakes and good defense kept both teams out of the end zone in the first half.
USF defensive end Ryne Giddins had nine of his 11 tackles in the first half, to go along with two sacks, a forced fumble.
But the Bulls managed just 75 yards of offense and two turnovers before intermission.
The teams traded field goals in the first quarter. Maikon Bonani hit a 23-yarder to open the scoring, and Teggart capped a 16-play drive on the next possession with an 18-yarder.
Teggart hit a short kickoff into a strong wind and Marcus Shaw returned the kick 79 yards to the UConn 8-yard line. But Daniels errant pitchout on a second-down option play was picked up by Conn's Dwayne Gratz.
UConn gave the ball back a few plays later when McCombs fumbled. But the Bulls failed to score, when a 46-yard field-goal attempt into the wind fell short. He also missed a 44-yarder in the third quarter that went wide left.
Teggart's second field goal came just before halftime, a 46-yarder that capped a 15-play drive and made it 6-3. His third field-goal, a 28-yarder, cut the lead to 10-9, less than a minute before Martin and Jones teamed up for UConn's defensive score. The Husky offense has now gone two games without a touchdown.
South Florida coach Skip Holtz had not been back to Connecticut since coaching the Huskies from 1994-1998. UConn was still a Division I-AA program then, and Holtz led the school to the Division I-AA playoffs in 1998, the school's first postseason appearance.
South Florida fell to 1-4 at Rentschler Field.
The Huskies improved to 7-1 in Big East home openers.
South Florida (4-1) at Connecticut (2-4) Oct. 15, 3:30, SNY
Here's The Deal … It's back to work for South Florida, which has had more than two weeks to process the 44-17 loss to Pittsburgh that exiled it from the Top 25. The Bulls have a lot of questions that need to be answered, such as its potential as a contender for the Big East throne. The champion in this league rarely goes undefeated, lending hope that Skip Holtz's club can regroup quickly enough to make a run at its first title. This trip north could set the tone for the balance of the year at USF. Head coach Paul Pasqualoni is flopping in his debut as the head man at Connecticut.
The Huskies are in serious danger of making that rare plummet from BCS bowl appearance in one year to bowl-less the next. They've not only slipped to two games below .500, but have already lost games to Vanderbilt, Iowa State and Western Michigan. Connecticut put up a 30-minute fight at West Virginia a week ago before getting run out of Morgantown in the second half.
Why South Florida Might Win: Having spent the last two weeks watching film of the Pittsburgh debacle, the defense will enter this week's game with something to prove. The unit is a lot better than it showed two weeks ago, possessing the size, speed and depth to keep a mediocre Connecticut offense quiet. The Huskies rank 101st nationally on offense, only perking up versus Fordham and Western Michigan. They'll struggle to manage the Bulls front seven, which gets off the snap quickly, and liberally rotates in quality defenders. By the second half, Connecticut will have worn down from trying to contain DE Ryne Giddins, linebackers Sam Barrington and DeDe Lattimore and the rest of the South Florida defense.
Why Connecticut Might Win: Although the past two weeks have started to tell a different story, the Huskies still harbor enough quality defenders to fuel an upset. They ranked sixth nationally in run defense, and are 13th in tackles for loss, which will place some heat on the Bulls backfield tandem of QB B.J. Daniels and RB Darrell Scott. South Florida has not fared well in its two games against grown-up defenses, fattening up its cumulative numbers versus Ball State, Florida A&M and UTEP. Someone in the visitor's jersey must get a helmet on LB Sio Moore and linemen Kendall Reyes, Twyon Martin and Trevardo Williams or else the Bulls are liable to get dragged into a low-scoring brawl that could go either way in the final quarter.
What To Watch Out For: More than any other player on the Bulls, Daniels needs to deliver a bounce back performance this week. As he goes, so goes the offense, a troubling reality. Against Notre Dame and Pitt, the junior has combined to throw just a single touchdown pass. The Connecticut secondary, which will be without top CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson has been conducive to success for opposing quarterbacks this fall, yielding nine combined touchdown passes to Alex Carder and Geno Smith in the last two games. No. 7 has to take advantage of his surroundings, feeding more than just go-to receiver Sterling Griffin through the air.
What Will Happen: An off week actually came at the right time for South Florida, which used its time wisely to refocus on the second half of the year. The Bulls will jump on floundering Connecticut in a hurry, using its speed to gain an edge on both sides of the ball. Although they lack the offensive spark to deliver a knockout punch, they can grind down the Huskies with the running of both Daniels and Scott. Connecticut's comeback bid will wilt in the face of the USF pressure and penchant for winning the turnover battle.
CFN Prediction: South Florida 28 … Connecticut 17
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