TAMPA — Running backs Mike Ford and Jamar Taylor, missing from USF's offense in its loss at Cincinnati, were back at practice Monday, a promising step toward a healthy return in Saturday's home game against Rutgers.
"It's hard to say — I'm running around practice, so I'm not really watching (them)," coach Jim Leavitt said.
Rutgers has beaten the Bulls two years in a row, and RB Ray Rice — now with the Baltimore Ravens —piled up 383 yards in those two games. Rice is gone, but Leavitt said Rutgers is still dangerous on the ground, with sophomore Kordell Young rushing for 143 yards in Saturday's win against Syracuse.
"They're the same team," Leavitt said. "They have good running backs. They can run and throw and they're playing very well right now."
With no school today for Veterans Day and a noon kickoff Saturday, the Bulls will practice at noon today.
FSU: Where's love?
TALLAHASSEE — Florida State leads the ACC in total defense and several other categories, but junior LB Dekoda Watson said the Seminoles still aren't receiving their just due.
FSU recorded six sacks and dominated the final three quarters Saturday in a 41-27 victory over Clemson, but Watson said he still hears criticism about the 31 points and 288 rushing yards the Seminoles allowed two games ago against Georgia Tech.
"We do so much good, and people don't commend us for the good that we've done," the normally mild-mannered Watson said after Monday's practice. "We mess up one game, and everybody thinks it's over. That's typical. Everybody likes to recognize the bad. But as long as we believe in each other, everybody else doesn't even matter."
Watson had a team-high nine tackles against Clemson.
SEMINOLES HONORED: Sophomore G Rodney Hudson, senior DL Neefy Moffett and senior PK Graham Gano were among ACC players of the week. Others honored: Boston College S Paul Anderson and LB Mark Herzlich, Virginia Tech RB Darren Evans and Wake Forest RB Brandon Pendergrass.
MARYLAND TIME SET: ESPN will televise FSU's Nov. 22 game at Maryland at 7:45 p.m. It could have ACC Championship Game implications.
UM: Tough run test
CORAL GABLES — The Hurricanes, who last season rushed 29 times for minus-2 yards in a loss to Virginia Tech, expect another challenge from a strong Hokies run defense Thursday.
The six teams that have lost to Virginia Tech have combined for three rushing touchdowns, while the three teams to beat the Hokies have scored six touchdowns on the ground. Only Georgia Tech's Josh Nesbitt, in Week 3 has run for more than 100 yards against Virginia Tech.
Maryland went into last week's game against the Hokies averaging nearly 167 rushing yards per contest. But the Terps finished with minus-12 yards on 18 attempts, without one rushing first down or a carry of longer than 7 yards.
In the Hurricanes' six wins, they've gotten 4.6 yards per carry. In three losses, the per-carry average plummets to 2.9.
"This late in the season, if you can't run the football, you won't be able to make it," Miami coach Randy Shannon said.
UCF: Poor offense
ORLANDO — Knights coach George O'Leary said the offense struggled in many ways during Saturday's loss to Southern Miss, but he wasn't disappointed in the play-calling by coordinator Tim Salem.
"I'm not discouraged with it. … We just haven't really gotten anything done offensively this year, really," O'Leary said. "When we have opportunities to make plays, we have to make them and we haven't."
Times correspondent Ira Schoffel contributed to this report, which used information from the Orlando Sentinel and the Associated Press.