Gameday is here: Can Bulls bounce back?
Good morning, after a very successful opening night to a busy weekend for USF athletics. Crucial victories for men's soccer and volleyball last night, with men's basketball getting an "ugly" 14-point win against SMU in its opener.
Kickoff for USF-Rutgers is less than four hours off -- can the Bulls beat Rutgers for the first time since 2005? Two close losses by a combined five points to the Scarlet Knights should make for a motivated Bulls squad, which has had 16 days with the bitter taste of a not-so-close loss at Cincinnati. Amazing that nobody's brought up last year's Rutgers game, but USF's players brought something else from that game -- the way Rutgers went all out, with fake field goals, fake punts, taking big chances in a big win.
With three losses in four games, it's a game USF must have to stop the momentum of their midseason slump, to refocus a team on the last three games -- which are much harder than last year's final three. As we've written this week, the challenge this year isn't slowing a dominant running back, but stopping perhaps the Big East's hottest quarterback, as Mike Teel has nine touchdowns in his last two games, finally clicking again with a pair of 1,000-yard receivers from last season in Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood. They'll do that with a secondary that's not completely healthy -- is Jerome Murphy up to the task he faces today?
Lots of questions will be answered today -- we'll blog live from the game, so check back often ... Weather.com shows at least a 30 percent chance of rain during the 3-4 hours the game will be played, so this might be a wet afternoon, which probably helps USF ...