Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Colleges

Five keys for South Florida Bulls against Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Five keys for USF

1. Play 60 minutes: It was an issue throughout last season but never more than at Rutgers, when USF blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead. Last week's win at Nevada — nearly the opposite with two touchdowns in the final 2:37 — was a promising reversal. Look for more substitutions early on both sides of the ball to keep legs fresh.

2. Special teams mistakes: Last season's collapse started with Jeremy Deering's 98-yard kickoff return for Rutgers. In 2010, the Scarlet Knights returned a punt 60 yards for a score. And in 2009, USF muffed a punt return and Rutgers blocked a punt.

3. Line of scrimmage: USF ran for 221 yards to Rutgers' minus-7 last season. This set up plenty of third and longs, which led to Rutgers going 3-for-16 and trailing 17-3 with eight minutes left.

4. Rutgers' height: USF must stop big targets: 6-foot-6 receiver Brandon Coleman (three touchdown catches this season), 6-6 tight end D.C. Jefferson, 6-4 receiver Tim Wright and 6-3 receiver Mark Harrison. The only defensive back among USF's top eight taller than 6 feet is safety JaQuez Jenkins (6-2).

5. Turnovers: The Bulls had eight touchdowns and one interception in their five wins last season, six touchdowns and seven interceptions in their seven losses. Saturday against Nevada, USF forced three, including two fumbles in the red zone.

Greg Auman, Times staff writer

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