The Bulls will play their first game this week as a top 10 ten in the country. They will travel south to play the Owls of Florida Atlantic. The last time these teams played was in 2002, when USF dominated FAU 51-10 at Raymond James. The main thing for the Bulls to overcome will be all of the press and hype that is now surrounding their program. They have the better team, but anything can happen on any given week in College football. The Bulls will now have a target on their back and teams like FAU are going to try and make a statement for their program against USF. The Bulls will need to be ready, and I am sure they will with coach Jim Leavitt in charge.
Bulls Offense v. FAU Defense
The Bulls offense will be led by sophomore quarterback Matt Groethe. He has not had great games in the last two Bull wins, but he has played well enough for the Bulls to win. Groethe is a dual threat that the Owls will need to watch out for all game. He is the teams second leading rusher and doesn't run because he has to, but because he is good at it. Groethe has been pretty accurate so far this season and knows how to lead his team down the field and not make dumb decisions.
Groethe has only thrown 2 interceptions on the year, both in the WVU game, so he will need to keep that up against the ball hawking FAU team. While the FAU defense has been terrible, they have created a lot of turnovers. Tavious Polo has 7 interceptions in the first five games, including one last week against Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson, who had not thrown one in eight games. Groethe will need to be careful against the secondary and make sure he does not turn the ball over in bad parts of the field. The FAU defense has also forced 6 fumbles on the year and have come up with some big stops at key moments.
The FAU defense is soft against the run and the Bulls should exploit that with running back Mike Ford. Ford is averaging 5.6 yards per carry and has the explosion to take any ball to the house at any moment. The Owls are giving up 152 yards a game on the ground, while the Bulls are averaging 150 yards on the ground. This could be a great match up for the Bulls and they should exploit it all game long to control the game.
USF Defense v. FAU Offense
This should be a big advantage for the Bulls in the game. The Bulls defense has been dominant all year long. They have the number 10 total defense in the nation, including thr number 11 pass defense, which will need to come up big this week. The Bulls have got after the passer and are led up front by Sophomore defensive lineman George Sealvie. He has 9.5 sacks in 4 games this year and is wreaking havoc on the quarterback when he is not pulling him down. Ben Moffitt is coming off of a terrific week against WVU in which he picked off 3 balls, returning one for a touchdown.
The Owl offense is led by quarterback Rusty Smith. Smith is a good quarterback with a 137.6 rating on the season. He has thrown 162 balls and only 2 of them have been intercepted. His biggest weapons in the pass game are Jason Harmon and Cortez Gent. Harmon has more receptions, but Gent has the touchdowns and more explosion. The secondary for the Bulls will have their hands full with these two and Smith at the helm. Pressure up front will be needed to make sure that Smith does not have time back there or he very well may pick them apart.
The Owl running attack has not been great this season and the Bulls should be able to stop them from getting big games. The Bulls are coming off of a great effort of one of the best running teams in the country and have shown that they can get sideline to sideline and stop the best in the nation at their own game. The Owls will still need to run it so that the Bulls don't pin their ears back and go after Smith, but they should not expect to get too many yards rushing.
The Bulls are coming off an emotional and dominating win of the number 5 ranked team in the country last week. They need to make sure they are focused on the Owls and not look past this opponent. I am confident they won't with Leavitt as the coach. Leavitt has down played all of the hype surrounding the program and has succeeded at keeping his team focused for years now. The Bulls defense has been dominating all year and I don't expect it to change this week. The offense will need to be careful of the FAU secondary, but with Mike Ford in the backfield they won't have to pass a lot. Look for the Bulls to win this one handily.
Final Score: Bulls 38 FAU 17