USF-UConn: Which defense will step up?
Tons of matchups that could wind up determining Saturday's USF-Connecticut game, but the biggest seems to be which team can exploit their opponent's questionable defense.
USF, for instance, just gave up a season-high 240 rushing yards in a 31-10 home loss to Miami, and the Bulls have injuries concerns up the middle, with several defensive tackles battling injuries and starting middle linebacker Kion Wilson potentially out with an ankle injury.
The Huskies' running tandem of backs Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon have combined for 1,996 yards and 25 touchdowns, and even better in the last three games. They combined for 196 yards and four scores against Syracuse, 244 yards and two touchdowns against Notre Dame and 189 yards and four scores in a close loss to Cincinnati.
Rushing defense has been a telltale statistic for USF in the past nine games -- the Bulls are 5-0 when they hold their opponent to less than 160 yards, and 0-4 when they allow 160 or more.
Connecticut, however, has its own defensive struggles to bring to the game -- in conference play, the Huskies have the Big East's worst scoring defense (30.5 points), worst total defense (475.8 yards) and worst passing defense (278.7), along with totaling the fewest sacks (10) in the conference.
Connecticut's defense may help USF's passing game, but the game's weather -- current projections have temperatures in the mid to high-30s, with a 70 percent chance of rain or even snow. Beyond that, USF has confidence the offense might be able to get back on track at Connecticut.
“I feel like we can throw the ball. We go into every game and feel like if we execute and do the right things in situations, we can throw the football,” offensive coordinator Mike Canales said. “This game, you don’t know how the weather will be or how cold it will be … those things can play a factor.”