RB Murray showing Holtz more toughness
If we hadn't already written a feature on emerging running back Demetris Murray six weeks ago, he'd be the guy to write about this week, coming off an impressive 115-yard effort in USF's win Saturday against Western Kentucky.
USF coach Skip Holtz said Monday that Murray played essentially the entire game with an ankle injury, but never asked out, reaffirming a toughness that he had shown his coach back in spring ball.
"I can remember a conversation we had in the spring when he laid on the ground," Holtz said. "He said 'My ankle hurts,' and I said, 'Well, I'm just trying to find a tailback that's tough enough to push through a little bit of pain to be an every-down back. And he hopped up and said 'I'm your guy.' Ever since then, the guy has pushed through everything. He turned his ankle and has quite a bit of swelling on the opening play of the game last week, but he wasn't coming out for anything. I think he's waited his turn for two years ... he has said 'This is what I've waited for.'"
Here's something else a running back doesn't mind waiting for: a chance to face a Florida Atlantic team that has the worst run defense in Division I-A football, allowing 275.7 rushing yards per game. We've written about USF's run-heavy gameplan against WKU -- 44 carries, 11 pass attempts -- but that's exactly what FAU has faced all season.
In an opening win against UAB, the Blazers had 47 carries vs. 19 passes, rushing for 345 yards, with David Isabelle going for 214 yards and three touchdowns. In a loss to Michigan State, the Spartans rushed for 225, getting 183 yards and a score from Edwin Baker. And against Mike Canales and North Texas last week, the Mean Green had 54 carries (!), grinding out 257 yards with 122 from James Hamilton. With Murray leading the way, USF comes in as the nation's No. 22 run offense, averaging 216.7 yards per game, and you'd think the Bulls would be in position for at least that much Saturday against FAU's defense.
One more stat on USF's run/pass balance -- the Bulls have attempted only 70 passes this season, and only seven schools have attempted fewer passes in 2010. That's the three military schools, Army, Navy and Air Force, plus Rutgers, Illinois, Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech. ...