TAMPA — USF has lost three of its past four Homecoming games, so don't expect it to take Saturday's game lightly, even if Syracuse is the only Big East opponent USF is undefeated against.
The Bulls have beaten the Orange by a combined score of 95-20 in the past three seasons. But coach Jim Leavitt is more concerned with Syracuse's past two games, in which it kept it close before losing. The Orange led Pittsburgh 24-16 in the fourth quarter before falling 34-24 and was 5 yards from a go-ahead touchdown late against West Virginia before falling 17-6.
"They could be 2-0 (in the Big East), and we all know that," Leavitt said. "They had West Virginia on the 5-yard line, my goodness. In the Big East, everybody's good. There's so much parity in the Big East, it's unbelievable. You've got to be on, play every snap, play for 60 minutes."
Having said that, USF is 5-1 and Syracuse is 1-5. The Bulls and Orange are first and last in the Big East, respectively, in total offense, total defense and rushing defense. The Orange is allowing 208 rushing yards per game. The Bulls piled up 346 in last season's 41-10 win at Syracuse, including 134 by Mike Ford.
CAPTAINS: Leavitt said his captains Saturday will include LB Brouce Mompremier, who is hoping to return from a neck injury sustained Sept. 20 against Florida International.
RECRUITING: USF picked up a commitment from Edgard Theliar, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound receiver from Bradenton who is at Butler (Kan.) Community College this season.
Theliar, who chose USF over offers from Oregon, Hawaii and Florida International, had 15 touchdowns as a freshman at College of the Desert, a junior college in California.
"I know how to get open and use my hands," said Theliar, who has 18 catches for 331 yards and three touchdowns in six games this season. "It's a Top 25 program that loves to go four- and five-wide with a Heisman kind of quarterback coming back next season."
Florida: Off week gives injuries time to heal
GAINESVILLE — With No. 5 Florida off this weekend, coach Urban Meyer looks forward to the break before playing Kentucky.
"I think it comes at the right time," Meyer said. "You just don't want to lose any momentum and get some guys healthy."
Several players were banged up during Saturday's 51-21 win over LSU.
WR Louis Murphy is "going to be okay," Meyer said. The St. Petersburg native sustained what looked to be a neck injury during the recovery of an onside kick.
RB Chris Rainey has a separated shoulder. The redshirt freshman had surgery last season for a similar injury. He will not participate in contact drills this week but is expected to play against the Wildcats.
RB Emmanuel Moody (high ankle sprain) remains the biggest question mark. He has missed two games and is questionable for Kentucky.
NEXT TOPIC: Offensive line coach Steve Addazio declined to comment on the e-mail sent by former Syracuse players to the school's president and athletic director calling for him to replace current coach Greg Robinson. Addazio was an assistant for Syracuse from 1995-98.
"I have no comment on that. Thanks," Addazio said in his first comments since the e-mail surfaced two weeks ago.
Times correspondent Phil Kegler contributed to this report.