Miami vs. South Florida Preview

By: Shasky Clarke

(15) Miami (FL) (3-0) at South Florida (0-3)

The undefeated Miami Hurricanes play their third in-state opponent, facing South Florida in Tampa. It should be yet another tune-up game as Miami prepares to commence the conference part of their schedule next week.

The 0-3 USF Bulls have hit a new low after losing 28-10 at home to Florida Atlantic in front of a crowd of less than 21,000 fans. Actually, they probably hit their lowest low in week one, when they lost 53-21 at home against Football Championship Subdivision foe McNeese State.

The Bulls lack any certainty and effectiveness at the quarterback position. Their season has been marred by a slew of turnovers and mistakes. They run a conservative offense that is currently ranked 120th in the country.

While their offense couldn’t be much worse, the USF defense has some decent veterans and a terrific talent in defensive end Aaron Lynch, a Notre Dame transfer. But even after playing McNeese State and Florida Atlantic, the Bulls defense has amassed a grand total of two sacks, good for 115th in the country.

USF Offensive Player to Watch

Running Back Marcus Shaw 5’9” 178, Senior

Shaw is a fast and assertive rusher capable of breaking off big runs. Shaw has been the team’s best player and lone productive offensive player. One of the nation’s leading rushers, on 57 carries, he has rushed for 398 yards, good for seven yards per rush.

USF Defensive Player to Watch

Defensive End Aaron Lynch 6’6” 244, Sophomore

Lynch is an intense, high motor player with length, strength and explosiveness to match. As a freshman at Notre Dame, Lynch racked up an impressive 5.5 sacks and seven tackles for loss. Although he hasn’t been too productive in 2013, his match-up against Miami right tackle Seantrel Henderson will be under the microscope.

Miami Offense vs. USF Defense

South Florida owns a decent defense, in large part due to a relatively talented front seven and a number of seniors across the unit. Lynch, senior end Tevin Mims and junior defensive tackle Elkino Watson all bring pretty good athleticism to the table. Led by senior middle linebacker DeDe Lattimore, the team is relatively undersized at linebacker. Lattimore is a big time playmaker and has been the unit’s most productive player. Two senior safeties bring some stability to the secondary, where Mark Joyce is  aggressive coming up to support the run.

Quarterback Stephen Morris is expected to return and play but, regardless, the Miami offense should have success going downfield against a secondary with suspect cornerbacks and some lack of range at safety. Further, Miami’s big offensive line shouldn’t have a huge problem creating running lanes against the Bulls’ relatively undersized front seven.

USF Offense vs. Miami Defense

Miami’s defense should have a light and easy time feasting on South Florida’s lack of talent both upfront and at quarterback. Miami’s scoring defense is ranked 7th, yielding just 9.7 points per game. It gives up under 4.2 yards per play (ranked 14th).

Meanwhile, the Bulls are 125th, dead last in the country, in pass yards per attempt. Expect USF to attempt to establish a run game, a strategy unlikely to succeed against a bigger, stouter Miami defensive line. South Florida will struggle to put up points.