Brouce Mompremier, hospitalized after a collision with a teammate in Saturday's 17-9 win at Florida International, has cleared CT scans and MRI exams on his neck at a Miami hospital but will miss at least two games as a result of his injury, according to a USF release.
Mompremier, a senior in his second season as the starting weakside linebacker, is expected to return home today and have additional testing from USF trainers and doctors to learn more about the specifics and severity of his injury. He'll miss games at N.C. State and at home against Pittsburgh, but USF said no other timetable has been set for his return.
Sophomore Sabbath Joseph is likely to become the starter. Joseph was listed as the starting strongside linebacker in the first week of preseason but has played in a reserve role. He has eight tackles in four games this season; Mompremier had 10.5.
POLLS: Despite the lackluster win, USF moved up two spots to No. 14 in the USA Today coaches poll, passing Auburn and Oregon. The Bulls, 12th in last week's Associated Press media poll, dropped to No. 13 as then-No. 14 BYU and No. 16 Penn State won convincingly.
The Bulls have struggled to close their last three wins, seeing 14-point fourth-quarter leads disappear against Central Florida and Kansas and allowing FIU to score nine in the final three minutes Saturday to pull within a tying touchdown.
TAKEN AWAY: Biggest difference between last year's defense and this year's? In USF's first four games last season, the Bulls forced 17 turnovers, crucial in upsets of ranked Auburn and West Virginia teams. In their 4-0 start this season, the Bulls have forced just three — only three schools in Division I-A have forced fewer.
THIS AND THAT: USF and Connecticut, both 4-0, have as many wins as the other six Big East teams (8-11) combined. … USF leads the Big East in total offense (450.5 yards per game) and total defense (238.5) but has given up eight sacks, matching the league high. … Five of eight USF penalties Saturday were false starts, including two in a row that led to a safety in the closing minutes. … Matt Grothe leads Big East quarterbacks in touchdown passes (seven) and yards per game (229). … FIU senior Katelynn Stevens, who grew up in Tampa, told the Miami Herald she hopes football has the same effect that it has had at USF: "FIU is a commuter school like USF but football will keep those students on campus. It's already made a big difference. People don't ask me, 'What does FIU stand for?' so often anymore."