University of South Florida’s senior quarterback B.J. Daniels is extremely elusive. When not properly contained, Daniels can use his legs on a QB-draw, and can be very difficult to tackle in the pocket or when flushed out. He is masterful at getting the ball to his receivers in open space, and attacks defenses with quick strikes. The Bulls’ receiving corps is deep and talented, and the Bulls’ wideouts do their most damage after the catch.
Rutgers plays an aggressive, attacking style defense that swarms the ball and moves quickly off the edge or up-the-gut to make the tackle. The Scarlet Knights will even show pre-snap that they are going to blitz, and are proficient at continually bringing pressure.
Tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, these two Big East juggernauts will square off in a game that has enormous conference ramifications. The Bulls’ high-flying aerial assault will be matched against the Scarlet Knights’ vaunted defense. The Bulls suffered a crippling, season-ending injury to top-receiver Sterling Griffin Saturday against the Nevada Wolfpack, but in the wake of this injury, Andre Davis stepped up.
Davis set a USF single-game receiving record with 191 yards on 12 catches, and had two touchdowns, including his 56-yard touchdown reception with 38 seconds left, which won the game. The Bulls’ amazing come-from-behind victory gives them momentum heading into tonight’s contest, as reportedly South Florida started their postgame video breakdown via laptop during the flight back in preparation for their highly anticipated matchup with Rutgers.
But Rutgers’ victory in their home opener Saturday against Howard further verified their identity for the weekday national showcase; the Scarlet Knights will be sticking to their ethos: running the football.
By pounding the ball inside and stretching the run outside the tackles, the Knights let the run game set up their play-action. Quarterback Gary Nova is still finding his comfort level, and pounding the football inside and outside the tackles allows Nova to put the ball on his receivers and tight ends when the linebackers bite and safeties come down in the box.
Rutgers’ change-of-pace back Savon Huggins will not be playing due to a lower-body injury suffered against Howard. While this injury hurts Rutgers’ depth in the ground game, Jawan Jamison has been so outstanding in his first two games that it makes sense for coach Kyle Flood to ride Jamison with an abundance of touches (and let the defense take care of the rest).
Rutgers’ pro-style attack, consisting of Jamison power running through the gaps on stretch, zone, and power-plays, should be overwhelming for a South Florida defense that struggled mightily to slow down Nevada (albeit the Wolfpack offense was out of the Pistol formation).
So far the Scarlet Knights’ most pleasant surprise this season has been their offensive line. The newly assembled group was considered a big question mark, and with so many inexperienced new faces manning their starting line, questions loomed about whether the blocking would be there up front.