Wednesday night USF faces a team that they aren’t exactly fond of. The Bulls haven’t beaten Rutgers since 2005 and last year they got absolutely shellacked 31-0. USF does have the game at home this year and this Rutgers team really struggles on offense. With the way the Bulls’ offense played against Cincinnati and the way the Scarlet Knights have trouble scoring, the Bulls could finally end this ugly losing streak against their conference rivals.
The Scarlet Knights’ defense has been pretty solid all season, but that could be due to a lack of strong competition because Pittsburg had no problem moving the ball against them last week. Rutgers only allows 19 points per game. However last week Pittsburg put up 41 points on that defense and gained over 200 yards on the ground. The USF running game hasn’t been the same as it was early in the season, but a lot of that has been due to the lack of a passing game. B.J. really looked comfortable last week and if that can continue then things should open back up for that Bulls’ balanced running attack. B.J. needs to build on the performance against the Bearcats to allow Demetris Murray and Mo Plancher to once again get going. USF must have that run-pass balance to have a lot of success against what appears to be a solid defense most weeks.
South Florida’s biggest advantage in this game could be their defense against a very weak Rutgers’ offense. The Bulls are 20th in the nation in points allowed, giving up under 19 points per game. The Scarlet Knights rank outside the top 100 in rushing (yes outside the top 100), 82nd in the country in passing, and 97th in points scored!! Their offensive numbers are disgusting. It goes without saying that the Rutgers’ defense has won the games for them that they have won. Despite how terribly the Bulls have struggled against this school in the past, that South Florida defense should be able to hold Rutgers to almost nothing and give themselves a great chance to win. You might remember the Bull’s defense having all kinds of trouble stopping Cincinnati a week and a half ago, but that offense is QUITE different than the one the Bulls will face Wednesday.
It seems like no matter how big of a favorite USF is, they can never manage to beat Rutgers. Is this the year to end their Rutgers losing streak? I think so. B.J. Daniels finally showed me something against Cinci and it shouldn’t take too much offense from the Bulls to win this game. I expect the defense to hold down the fort and for South Florida to beat the Scarlet Knights for the first time since ’05. Prediction- USF-20 Rutgers-10