The Bearcats will be facing their second Big East foe of the season tomorrow. South Florida is like a dog backed into a corner at this point with 2 conference losses already this season. They haven’t played particularly well in those losses either committing costly turnovers and overall hurting themselves on offense. The Bulls are extremely desperate for a win right now and Cincinnati will have to be prepared for an opponent that will be especially focused coming into this week. Here are five keys to the game:
- Make Daniels Uncomfortable: The Bearcats don’t necessarily have to sack him but will only have to get players around his legs. If Daniels starts to get happy feet, it could work into UC’s favor because of such an opportunistic defense. However, the quarterback is just as adept at running the ball and could take off for 5 to 10 yards if the play breaks down so Cincinnati’s defenders will need to stay disciplined to pressure but not overpursue on a play.
- Stop the Running Game: The Bulls are a run first team and have a very good offensive line to give their bruising runningback tandem lots of lanes to plow through. Oh and, like I mentioned, B.J. Daniels is not too shabby at running the ball, either. The Bearcats have the best defensive line in the Big East but will need to dial up some blitzes to overwhelm USF’s offensive front and create a wall against the run.
- Get Off to a Fast Start: Cincinnati, for all the hype of a high powered offense, has taken the first two quarters of games to get the team going. This is another tough defense for the Bearcats to face but they will be in good shape if the offense can put up at least 2 touchdowns in the first half. The Bulls don’t have the explosiveness to play catchup and if they are playing from behind might cause B.J. Daniels to force some mistakes.
- Isaiah Pead Needs to Channel His Inner Archie Griffin: South Florida has a very good defensive front but gave up over 200 yards on the ground to Pitt’s Ray Graham. Isaiah Pead is as good as if not better than Graham. He doesn’t need to put up similar yardage but if he can consistently get 5 to 6 yards per carry to go along with a few of his patented 40 yard breakouts, Cincinnati is going to have a good day on offense.
- Discipline in the Secondary: The cornerbacks and safeties got burned a lot last season by biting on the play action and not keeping track of their assignments even when a play broke down. This will help the Bearcats both sack B.J. Daniels by not giving him options downfield and possibly force a few turnovers if he makes bad decisions to a covered receiver.
To the rest of the Big East – Only two other games, and they are both on tonight at 8 PM.
Rutgers vs. Louisville: This game features two strong defenses and two freshman quarterbacks. It should be an interesting, low scoring game that fans who like defensive battles can enjoy. People who like high scoring offenses should probably switch it over to the other Big East game. Rutgers 23, Louisville 17
West Virginia vs. Syracuse: Both are coming off byes but that just gives more game film for Dana Holgorsen to look at. The Mountaineers look unstoppable right now and the Orange are way worse than their record. The game will be pretty tight to begin with but WVU starts to widen the gap in the 2nd half. West Virgina 42, Syracuse 20
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