USF at Rutgers, 7:30, ESPN2, 98.7-FM, 1010-AM
The Bulls (2-9, 2-5 American Athletic Conference), who haven't kicked off in temperatures below 59 degrees all season, will face the cold. Snow, and temperatures dipping to about 30, is forecast for Piscataway, N.J., where USF hasn't won since 2005. While coach Willie Taggart has defiantly downplayed the weather, QB Mike White has been practicing with a glove on his throwing hand. Emotion could factor as heavily into the outcome as elements. Rutgers (5-6, 2-5), which will recognize its seniors before kickoff, needs a victory to lock up a bowl berth. The Scarlet Knights, who depart the American for the Big Ten after this season, prefer a power run game like USF with max protection in the passing attack. But they will use some zone-read looks. USF's run game, which has reached 100 yards only once in the past five contests, faces the nation's seventh-ranked run defense (102.3 yards a game).
Line: Rutgers by 4
Watch out for … USF's secondary, which could use four freshmen at times. Without suspended seniors Mark Joyce and JaQuez Jenkins (who have since been dismissed) at UCF, the unit intercepted QB Blake Bortles twice (tying his season high for one game) and held him to 219 passing yards. Rutgers senior QB Chas Dodd makes his second start since replacing ineffective junior Gary Nova. Dodd threw for 286 yards and two interceptions in a 28-17 loss last week at Connecticut, the Knights' third defeat in a row. Scarlet Knights FS Jeremy Deering, a Leto High alumnus and arguably Rutgers' most versatile player, is among the seniors who will be honored.
Joey Knight, Times staff writer