Bulls preparing for Hilltoppers RB Rainey
TAMPA -- Western Kentucky, which faces USF at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday night, is giving up 50 points per game in a daunting 0-3 start against Nebraska, Kentucky and Indiana, but the Hilltoppers have at least one player the Bulls will be well aware of: running back Bobby Rainey, who has topped 100 yards in each of the three games.
"He's a stocky, powerful running back. I think their offensive line does a great job of coming off the ball," coach Skip Holtz said Sunday night. "He's a threat. They have a great power running game and they try to control the ball on you."
Rainey, who ranks fifth in the nation in rushing, has totaled 444 yards and five touchdowns in three games, but USF's players are familiar with him from first-hand experience. Rainey rushed eight times for 56 yards against the Bulls last season, adding another 110 yards on kickoff returns. And while the Bulls pulled away to a 35-13 road win against the Hilltoppers, the lead was just 14-6 halfway through the third quarter.
Defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said he expects Rainey to get his usual workload, but the Bulls' focus is on making sure nobody else beats them from WKU's offense.
"He's going to get his 100, because they give him enough touches to get 100. And he usually has one break a game, so that gets him to 150," Snyder said. "He usually has one 40-, 50-, 60-yard run, and then he's a steady Freddy. They're going to keep feeding him until he gets his 100. We have to make sure we don't let other people beat us, and that he doesn't get the long one on us. If he's 25 for 100, I'm good. If he gets 100 on eight or 10, that's not good. But 100 on 25 carries, they've done it against everybody."
INJURY UPDATE: Most of USF's players held out with injury during the off week were back at practice -- tackle Jake Sims, defensive end Craig Marshall and defensive tackle Terrell McClain, leaving receiver Dontavia Bogan as the main injury question this week. Bogan, who injured his right ankle in last week's loss to Florida, still had a boot on his foot as he watched Sunday's practice. Holtz didn't want to rule him out for Saturday's game, saying he'd know more on Tuesday or Wednesday.