Bulls face nation's No. 6 run defense in UConn
Approaching the halfway point of USF's 2011 season, the Bulls have the Big East's top rushing offense, averaging 223 yards per game, but they'll face a stout challenge to that Saturday at Connecticut, where the Huskies have the nation's No. 6 run defense.
The Huskies (2-4, 0-1) are holding opponents to 74.7 yards per game -- and, as impressively, 2.5 yards per carry -- and will be test USF's 1-2 running back punch of Darrell Scott and Demetris Murray this weekend.
"When you sit down and look at the film, the overriding thing would be they're physical. It's a physical group," Holtz said on the Big East's weekly coaches teleconference. "They know how to stop the run. They're good against the run. ... They have one of the best defensive linemen, 99, (Kendall Reyes). Everyone they've played, he really stands out. ... They're going to stop the run. They're a physical group up front and they're doing some things scheme-wise to give you problems running the ball. That's where we've probably had the most of our success."
The run defense in the past two games is a bit misleading, as opponents have had great success throwing the ball while the Huskies have gone without top cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson, who will also miss Saturday's game with a knee injury. So Western Michigan was indeed held to minus-11 rushing yards on 22 attempts, but was able to throw for 479 yards; West Virginia had just 72 yards on 29 carries, but was able to throw for 469. In the previous three games, UConn was allowing an average of 115 yards per game; USF is allowing 127 this season.
Reyes leads the Big East with 10 tackles for loss and is tied for second with four sacks.