The Knights are coming off their worst defeat of the campaign, a 41-21 beating at Pittsburgh on October 23. The setback ended a short two-game win streak for Rutgers, which had lost its other two games by a total of just seven points.
The Bulls meanwhile, put together a solid effort in their last outing, which resulted in a 38-30 victory at Cincinnati on October 22. USF had lost its first two Big East games, so that was obviously an important outcome for the team.
In terms of the all-time series, Rutgers holds a 4-1 lead over USF, as the Knights have won the last four meetings. Last year, the Knights blanked USF, 31-0, in a a Thursday night encounter.
True freshman QB Chas Dodd had his worst performance since moving into a starting role, completing 8-of-19 pass attempts for just 61 yards and an INT in a lopsided loss to Pitt. Furthermore, he was sacked six times and eventually replaced by Tom Savage, who threw for 46 yards and a TD. Dodd has still enjoyed more success than Savage, who began the season as the starter, throwing for 817 yards with five TDS against three INTs. The Knights don't have many weapons to work with on offense, but Mohamed Sanu is plenty potent. A versatile threat, Sanu leads the team in rushing (286 yards) and receiving (341 yards), while also totaling seven TDs. He however, wasn't much of a factor last game, catching just four passes for 46 yards in the loss to Pitt.
Rutgers has a solid defense, but the unit was exploited in a big way by Pitt, which rolled up 513 total yards. The Knights were shredded for 206 yards on the ground, while allowing 307 yards on 22-of-28 pass attempts. It was clearly a dismal performance by Rutgers, which is keeping opponents to an average of just 324 total ypg, including only 188.9 passing ypg. Joe Lefeged had 10 stops and the team's lone sack against Pitt, and he now ranks second to Antonio Lowery (69 stops) in tackles with 51 for the season.
After totaling just 15 points in their first two Big East games, the Bulls erupted for 38 in a triumph of Cincinnati last outing. QB B.J. Daniels finally turned in a performance that was noteworthy, as he completed 13-of-16 pass attempts for 286 yards and two TDs. He also paced the team with 35 yards and another two scores on the ground. It was a much needed performance from Daniels, who had thrown just four TDs in the team's first six games. Dontavia Bogan had 85 receiving yards and three catches in the win over Cincinnati and he has been the team's top target with 27 receptions and 414 yards for the season.
USF's defense was beat up by Cincinnati, but the group has been pretty solid otherwise, holding five of its seven opponents to 20 points or fewer. Still, the team's last performance has to be a bit concerning considering the Bulls gave up a whopping 590 total yards to Cincinnati. The pass defense was seriously exploited for 512 yards and USF is now permitting an average of 215.1 ypg through the air for the season. On a positive note, USF did log four sacks in the win, bringing its season total to 21 in that department. Sabbath Joseph had two of the team's sacks in the win over Cincinnati, while Craig Marshall had 1.5 TFLs. Marshall currently leads the team with four sacks and seven TFLs, and Joseph ranks second with three sacks.
The Bulls found their offense last game and that should help them get past a Rutgers club that lacks the offensive weapons to keep up.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Florida 24, Rutgers 17