NCAA

USF Looks To End Losing Streak With Win Over Louisville

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(Source: AP)

(Source: AP)

Miami Dolphins

LOUISVILLE (CBSSports) — The South Florida Bulls will take on the Louisville Cardinals at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Here’s a preview of the game from CBSSports.

Watchability: High. When the schedule came out many expected Saturday’s game to be one of the most anticipated of the Big East season, matching the top two teams in the conference preseason poll. It hasn’t quite transpired that way, as South Florida has lost four straight. Still, the Bulls have worlds of talent on offense and could put a scare into Louisville if the Cardinals come into the game overconfident.

Shining stars: Louisville: WR DeVante Parker. The sophomore wide receiver had a breakout performance in last week’s win over Pittsburgh with 4 receptions for 153 yards and a touchdown. Entering the game, Parker had 11 receptions for 166 yards on the season. The rangy 6-3, 205-pound receiver torched the Panthers’ on a 75-yard touchdown off play action to open the second half. Parker also nearly scored a second touchdown on a 35-yard over-the-shoulder grab in between two defenders. If Parker can stretch the USF secondary it could prevent the Bulls from using an extra safety in the box to try to stuff the run. USF: QB B.J. Daniels. The Bulls senior quarterback missed last year’s loss to the Cardinals with an injured shoulder. Without Daniels, USF squandered a 14-point lead in the 34-24 defeat. In 2010 against Louisville, Daniels only threw for 87 yards but the Bulls still edged the Cardinals in overtime. In the two years since, Daniels has transformed from a game manager to a playmaker.

Who could steal the show: Louisville: RB Senorise Perry. The junior running back is coming off a four-touchdown, 101-yard performance against Pitt. If the Cardinals’ veteran line opens sizable gaps for Perry, he will continue to pile up yards in chunks. Perry went virtually untouched on all four touchdowns. The Bulls are last in the Big East against the run, allowing more than 173 yards per game. USF: WR Andre Davis. The sophomore receiver looked ready to replace Sterling Griffin as the Bulls’ top deep threat after the junior wideout went out with a season-ending knee injury in Week 2. Davis responded with 20 catches for 275 yards in a two-game stretch. Opposing defenses have adjusted by rolling their coverage towards Davis with a safety over-the-top. As a result, his numbers have dwindled. In the Bulls’ last two games, Davis has been held to three catches for 24 yards. The Bulls will need a strong effort from Davis if they hope to pull the upset.

You going? Ranking the road trip: With Louisville coach Charlie Strong’s Florida roots, the Cardinals have 33 players on its roster from the Sunshine State. The close ties between the Cardinals and Bulls players could provide some fiery moments in Saturday’s matchup

Magic number for Louisville: 280. The Cardinals have allowed 280 passing yards or more in three of six games this season. In two others, inclement conditions prevented both teams from depending on the pass. The Cardinals need to provide opposing receivers with less separation downfield.

Magic number for USF: 224. The Bulls have surrendered more than 224 rushing yards per game over their last five contests. Skip Holtz’s defense has been exposed to a steady dose of the run. During the stretch, opposing teams have carried it more than 44 times per game against USF. Expect more of the same from Louisville with its potent 1-2 duo of Perry and Jeremy Wright.

The game comes down to: Pressuring the quarterback. The Cardinals should take a page from Rutgers when formulating a gameplan against Daniels. Though the Scarlet Knights didn’t register a high sack total in the Week 3 win, they were constantly in Daniels’ face forcing errant throws. The Bulls should employ the same strategy against Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater. The sophomore quarterback has completed more than 70 percent of his attempts this season. Cardinals’ opponents have yet to find a way to rattle Bridgewater.

Prediction: Louisville 38, South Florida 28

For more up-to-the minute news and analysis on the Big East, follow bloggers Evan Hilbert and Matt Rybaltowski @CBSBigEast.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Sports Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS SPORTS and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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