BULLS : GOAL LINE STAND : CONNECTICUT
By Leo Haggerty
It’s Homecoming at USF. The undefeated South Florida Bulls (6-0, 2-0) host the Connecticut Huskies (1-5, 0-3) at Raymond James Stadium. Kickoff will be at 7 PM, and I must always add when playing football in Tampa, weather permitting.
The Green & Gold look to keep their record unblemished and stay atop the American Athletic Conference East Division. UConn, at the bottom of the AAC East, is seeking its first conference victory of the 2018 campaign.
Below are my four keys to victory for the Bulls. Simple and straight forward but, as we’ve seen all too other this season, USF has trouble meeting expectations.
PLAY WITH A SENSE OF URGENCY
South Florida needs to start the contest like they are behind by a touchdown. The Bulls need to play possessed from the opening kickoff to the final gun. Take no prisoners and don’t let UConn even think they have a shot at an upset. Put the Huskies away early because, as we have witnessed in the past six tilts, the Green & Gold have a tendency to be way too complacent especially in the opening half.
DON’T LOOK PAST THE HUSKIES
It’s no secret that the next game on the Bulls schedule is a trip to Houston to take on the Cougars. After last season’s stunning loss at the RayJay, USF will be out for revenge and rightfully so.
Here’s the problem. The game isn’t until next week. Focus completely on the challenge at hand and don’t let this become a trap game.
I’ll give you a perfect example of what a trap game looks like. LSU had a home date with Georgia in Death Valley last Saturday. The Tigers demolished the Bulldogs. That’s the good news.
The bad news is the Purple & Gold overlooked the Florida Gators the week before. UF ambushed the Bengal Tigers in Gainesville.
Keep any thoughts of the revenge contest with Houston out of your mind until Sunday. That’s when Cougar prep starts. If the Bulls don’t, the Huskies can jump up and bite you.
KEEP THE LEAD
The Bulls need to get out early and run away and hide. This will force UConn to play catch up and take risks.
That increases the chances of USF making some splash plays on both offense and defense. On offense, go deep early and loosen up the Huskies defense so the running game can be proficient.
On defense, cause turnovers that create short field opportunities. Even better, a “Pick 6” and/or a “Scoop 6” won’t hurt the cause.
DON’T READ THE PAPER
Yes, the Bulls are a 30-plus point favorite. No denying that at all.
Just remember that the guys from Connecticut are on scholarship as well. They have the ability, if the Huskies bring their A game, to play USF to a standstill if the Green & Gold bring their C game. Follow my thinking here.
Play with the same intensity you would have if the guys on the other sideline were from UCF. That’s the best motivation South Florida can have.
So, it’s prediction time. I believe HC Charlie Strong and his staff will have the Bulls frothing at the mouth when this game starts and they play with great emotion for 60 minutes. Now there’s a novel thought.
I know that’s something we haven’t seen so far this season but I believe South Florida turns the corner this week. Bulls, 55-24, in a rout.