TAMPA, Fla. (Sports Network) -- The Connecticut Huskies have a chance to earn a spot in a BCS Bowl game this weekend, as they take on the South Florida Bulls in Big East action at Raymond James Stadium.
The Huskies appeared destined for a sub par campaign following a 3-4 start that included consecutive losses to begin Big East play. After losing 26-0 to Louisville however, UConn rallied and ripped through the toughest part of its schedule. A current four-game win streak, which includes a 38-17 triumph of Cincinnati last weekend, now has Randy Edsall's squad in position to take the Big East title. At 4-2 within the conference, UConn is tied with both Pittsburgh and West Virginia for first place. Since the Huskies defeated both Pitt and WVU, all they need to do is win this weekend to earn the league's automatic bid into the Bowl Championship Series.
Standing in their way however, is a USF club that could actually slip into a five-way tie for first place with a win and losses by both Pitt and WVU. The Bulls have played well of late, winning four of five outings, and that includes a 23-20 overtime triumph of rival Miami-Florida this past weekend.
With respect to the head-to-head series, USF holds a 4-3 edge over UConn, but the Huskies took a 29-27 decision last season.
Jordan Todman ran for 175 yards and three TDs on 31 carries to lead UConn past Cincinnati last weekend. It was another big effort from Todman, who has carried the team at times with 1,481 yards and 14 TDs on the ground. He has helped the team overcome the loss of starting QB Cody Endres, who was dismissed in late October. Zach Frazer stepped in as the new starter and he has done a nice job managing the offense, passing for 1,090 yards with just three INTs in 193 attempts. Last weekend, Frazer passed for 121 yards with a TD and INT in the win over Cincinnati.
The Huskies gave up 399 total yards to Cincinnati last weekend, but compensated by forcing five turnovers, including four INTs. This has been the case all season long, as UConn has recorded 26 takeaways to help overcome the 355.5 total ypg the defense is allowing. UConn hasn't had a ton of success against either the run (148.1 ypg) or pass (207.5 ypg), but the unit does have 27 sacks to its credit. Jessee Joseph has a team-best 8.5 sacks to his name, including one last weekend, while Lawrence Wilson tops the roster with 110 tackles. Wilson has also posted 10 TFLs and 3.5 sacks, to go along with a pair of forced fumbles.
Bobby Eveld's one-yard TD run with two minutes left in regulation forced overtime and Demetris Murray's one-yard score in the extra session gave USF a 23-20 win over Miami last weekend. Murray scored twice on the ground and finished with 42 yards on 13 carries, while Moise Plancher led the way with 101 yards on 24 totes. Plancher and Murray have combined for 1,153 yards on the ground this season, helping USF to average 150.5 rushing ypg. As for Eveld, he entered the game after halftime due to an injury to starter B.J. Daniels. He completed 8-of-15 pass attempts for 120 yards in addition to his crucial score on the ground. Daniels, who has 13 total TDs on the year, is listed as questionable with a quadricep injury, so Eveld could be in line for the start this weekend.
Defensively, the Bulls have been steady this season and are holding opponents to 19.5 ppg and 327.6 total ypg. USF hasn't forced too many turnovers (16), but last weekend the defense came up with three takeaways in the win over Miami. The turnovers helped make up for some of the 353 total yards surrendered by the defense. The unit though, did give up 165 yards and two TDs on the ground and that was a little surprising. The run defense for USF has been solid for the most part this year, limiting foes to 132.9 ypg and seven TDs. Jacquian Williams paces the defense with 61 stops, and he posted seven tackles and his first INT of the season in last weekend's win.
This is arguably the biggest game in program history for UConn, but a win will not come easy. The Bulls will certainly be ready, as they still have plenty to play for this weekend. It should come down to the wire, with USF pulling out the victory in the end.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Florida 27, Connecticut 24