The #20 South Florida Bulls (2-0) look to continue their strong start to the season as they host the Florida A&M Rattlers (1-1) tonight at Raymond James Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:00 PM and you can find the game locally on Bright House Sports Network, on the radio at 970 WFLA, or online at ESPN3.com.
While the game will be as competitive as the Battle of the Bands at halftime, Skip Holtz will use the opportunity to mix in some backups with the starters throughout the first half before the backups can take over when the outcome of the game has been decided. Coach Holtz has stressed the importance of finding the necessary depth to win this season, and there won't be many situations like today where the staff can see how certain players react when they are thrown in with the first team.
Personally, I'm interested to see how freshman FB/TE Tye Turner will do. USF has been in need of a fullback in the redzone, and Tye looked good in the limited time he was given last week against Ball State. If Turner can step up and be the replacement to Richard Kelly, the Bulls might be able to turn those short field goals into touchdowns.
On defense, check to see how Ernie Tabuteau and Ricardo Dixon perform at cornerback. With Luke Sager and Elkino Watson stepping up at defensive tackle and Claude Davis becoming the 4th defensive end needed, the only depth concern I can find on defense is at corner. Florida A&M will run a lot of multiple WR sets, so expect to see these two and JaQuez Jenkins if healthy a lot in the first half.
I will second what the Five Keys the guys at Voodoo Five put up yesterday in making sure that Florida A&M doesn't come away with the upset. If the Bulls can play their game without committing a ton of mistakes, USF can pick what they want the final score to be. The Rattlers gave up over 450 yards last week to Hampton, and the constant pressure FAMU brings will leave big holes for the Bulls to exploit. The Rattlers have a few weapons on offense, but they are inconsistent throwing the ball and the Rattlers barely rely on the running game. This could mean a big night for the back seven when it comes to turnovers.
As far as predictions, the Bulls will set the tone early and put this one away quickly. Backups will play more than the starters this week.
Bulls 52, Rattlers 10