TAMPA — Just as USF has struggled with its defense this season, Saturday's opponent, Miami, has given up 30 points or more in seven of its 10 games, including three Hurricanes victories.
Last season, that happened only twice in Al Golden's first as coach of the Hurricanes, but after Saturday's 41-40 loss at Virginia, he said getting just a few players to perform at a higher level can make a difference for his 5-5 team.
"It's hard, because you're sitting in a room with 110 guys, and 107 of them are doing everything right," Golden said in a teleconference Sunday. "It's two or three guys that screw up, and now you're in there yelling at the whole team. We have to make sure we don't drain everybody else's energy because a couple of guys aren't doing what they need to do. It's certainly not systemic."
Last year, Miami beat USF 6-3 on a last-second field goal. A similar outcome seems unlikely Saturday when the Bulls travel to Miami. The Hurricanes rank 88th nationally in scoring defense, allowing 31.2 points per game, while USF is 59th at 26.1.
USF's defense came through in its last game, a 13-6 win against Connecticut that ended a six-game losing streak. On three other occasions, USF has allowed a team to drive 75 yards for the go-ahead score in the closing minutes — Miami saw the same ending Saturday in a 41-40 loss to Virginia, as the Cavaliers marched 87 yards in the final 2:38, getting the go-ahead touchdowns with six seconds left.