TAMPA — USF coach Willie Taggart on Monday issued his most encouraging report on the status of top rusher Marcus Shaw since the sophomore went down with a hamstring injury against Cincinnati three weeks ago.
"He has a great chance," Taggart said when asked if Shaw will play Thursday night at Houston. "Marcus ran really well (at Sunday's practice). If there's not any setback, there's a great chance for him to play."
Shaw (86 carries, 552 yards) was seen running, cutting and accelerating during Monday's individual drills, which are regularly open to the media.
His return could jump-start a parched offense that has gone 12 consecutive quarters without a touchdown. By contrast, Houston (6-1, 3-0) is the only Division I program to score in every quarter it has played (28) this year.
"I don't want to take anything away from (Mike) Pierre or (Darius) Tice," Bulls LT Darrell Williams said of Shaw's backups. "But throughout the first four games you saw the production that Shaw was giving us."
Dual Threats?: Taggart wasn't bluffing when he said immediately after Saturday's loss to Louisville that he might employ some players both ways to spark his anemic offense.
On Monday, he reiterated the notion. "Yeah, there are some guys on (defense) that can do it," he said. "I'd prefer not to say which guys, but there are some guys on there that I know can do it."
UM-FSU: Eyes on Winston
CORAL GABLES — Miami goes into Saturday's game at FSU with full attention on Seminoles QB Jameis Winston. The redshirt freshman has a 70 percent completion rate, averages 311 passing yards per game and has multiple touchdown passes in every game this season.
"He's beyond his years," Miami coach Al Golden said. "He's talented. He's mature with the football. Strong arm, can move his feet, can create from a bad situation. Regardless of his age or year in school, he's excellent. He's playing really well and they're executing at a high level."
Miami LB Jimmy Gaines said it's exciting to face Winston: "He can make all the throws and you can really see he's a competitor. It's going to be a great challenge for us as a defense just to go against him."
The Seminoles have passed for only 11 touchdowns in their past 13 games against the Hurricanes. Miami's defense this year has given up only six passing touchdowns, tied for third-fewest in the nation.
But nothing has seemed to faze Winston so far.
"How he's gotten there is the thing I think he's got to remember, and I think he's doing a great job of that," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "Who was I before everyone knew me? I'm the same guy. And I think he does that. He's one of the guys, but at the same time, they have tremendous respect for him."
Wilder returns: Seminoles RB James Wilder Jr. practiced Monday after missing last week's win over N.C. State with a concussion. Also, WR Kelvin Benjamin is not expected to miss any time after hurting his hand against the Wolfpack.
UCF: Kicker honored
ORLANDO — UCF kicker Shawn Moffitt was named American Athletic Conference special teams player of the week after hitting two field goals in a win over UConn.
Moffitt is 9-for-9 on field goals, one of 10 kickers in the nation to remain perfect with a minimum of five tries.
Moffitt hit his first career 50-yard field goal in the first half. It was UCF's first 50-yarder since Nick Cattoi did it at Southern Miss on Sept. 12, 2009.
The junior also hit a 35-yard field goal. He ranks third in UCF history with a 75 percent conversion rate. He is 28-for-28 in extra points this season and is second on the team behind RB Storm Johnson with 55 points.