USF vs. No. 15 Miami, noon, ESPNU, 98.7-FM, 1010-AM, 1040-AM
The Bulls, 1-4 all-time against the 'Canes, have 12 players who hail from Miami and its vicinity. One statistic — turnover margin — explains the trajectories of these teams' seasons. Miami (3-0) ranks first in the nation (plus-8); USF (0-3) is tied for 114th (minus-4) of 123 I-A teams ranked and has surrendered five TDs to opposing defenses. Miami, fourth nationally in pass-efficiency defense and red-zone defense, has allowed only three touchdowns in as many games. Two of those opponents, of course, were Florida Atlantic and Savannah State. USF has allowed only 67 points this season. The Bulls' next interception will eclipse the team total (two) for all of 2012.
Watch out for…: The return of Bulls senior LB Reshard Cliett, who missed the FAU game with a shoulder injury. Defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan said Cliett and freshman Nigel Harris — who had 12 tackles against FAU in Cliett's place — could line up concurrently in some situations. Bulls QB Steven Bench makes his first start since his Cairo (Ga.) High team fell to Peach County 16-7 in the AAA playoffs in December 2011. Miami sophomore RB Duke Johnson (505 all-purpose yards) has at least one touchdown in seven consecutive games.
Joey Knight, Times staff writer