Ocho, baby: Notes and a new commitment
USF has lost three of its last four Homecoming games, so don't expect the Bulls to take Saturday's game lightly, even if Syracuse is the only Big East opponent USF is undefeated against.
The Bulls have beaten the Orange by a combined score of 95-20 in the past three seasons, but USF coach Jim Leavitt is more concerned with Syracuse's last two games, playing close late in losses to Big East rivals. The Orange led Pittsburgh 24-16 in the fourth quarter before falling 34-24, and was 5 yards from a go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth against West Virginia before falling 17-6.
"They could be 2-0 (in the Big East), and we all know that," Leavitt said. "They had West Virginia on the 5-yard line, my goodness. They score there, they've got a good chance to win that game. In the Big East, everybody's good. There's so much parity in the Big East, it's unbelievable. You've got to be on, play every snap, play for 60 minutes."
Having said that, USF is 5-1 and Syracuse is 1-5; the Bulls and Orange are first and last in the Big East, respectively, in total offense, total defense and rush defense. The Orange is allowing 208 rushing yards per game; the Bulls piled up 346 in last year's 41-10 win at Syracuse, including 134 by Mike Ford.
CAPTAINS: Leavitt said his captains Saturday will be linebackers Tyrone McKenzie and Brouce Mompremier, who is hoping to return from a neck injury, along with receiver Marcus Edwards and center Jake Griffin.
RECRUITING: USF picked up a junior college commitment from Edgard Theliar, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound receiver from Bradenton who is at Butler Community College in Kansas this season.
Theliar (rhymes with Tyler), who chose USF over offers from Oregon, Hawaii and Florida International, had 15 touchdowns as a freshman at College of the Desert, a junior college in California.
"I know how to get open and use my hands," said Theliar, who has 18 catches for 331 yards and three touchdowns in six games this season. "It's a top-25 program that loves to go four- and five-wide, with a Heisman kind of quarterback coming back next season."
Not impressed yet? Check out this five-minute highlight video from College of the Desert, which touts him as "OCHO!" because he wears No. 8 ... Theliar is well familiar with the Bulls, having played with or against receiver A.J. Love, running back Mike Ford and the junior college walk-on triumvirate of Dexter Baldwin, Mistral Raymond and Jessie Bundrage.