The Hurricanes, coming off of a 40 to 41 on the road at Miami enter the game at 5-5 (4-3). Miami has struggled on defense this season, but returning home and playing in front of the home crowd on senior night will energize the Hurricanes, making life hard for the Bulls.
At punter is senior Dalton Botts (6'3" 205 lbs.). He has punted the ball 47 times this season, averaging 40.5 yards per kick (long of 56 yards) and has landed 20 inside the opponents 20-yard line. His back-up is redshirt senior Jake Wieclaw (6'2" 193 lbs.). The field goal kicker is Jake Wieclaw, who is 14 out of 19 attempts this season, hitting a long of just 38 yards on the year. He also handles the kick-off duties, kicking off 54 times, landing six for touchbacks (redshirt freshman Matt Goudis, 6' 170 lbs., is his back-up).
At punt return is sophomore Phillip Dorsett (5'10" 185 lbs.) who has returned 12 punts for 60 yards. Dorsett and freshman running back Duke Johnson (5'9" 192 lbs.) are the primary kick returners. Johnson has 22 returns for 770 yards and two touchdowns. Dorsett has 11 for 251 yards, making a dynamic tandem in the return game.
The Bulls will have their hands full with Dorsett and Johnson in the return game. Marvin Kloss, who has done a tremendous job all year sailing kicks deep, will have to be at his best and not allow those two to set up the Hurricanes with great field position.
The young Miami defense has struggled most of the year with the lack of experience and injuries. The Canes are allowing opponents to score 31 points per game. They are allowing 258 yards through the air, but the real shocking number for their defense is the number of yards per game they continue to give up, 231 on average per game. For the Bulls who are starting the first game without Daniels behind center, will be relying heavily on the run game to carry the workload. Miami, while giving up the tons of rushing yards, allows opponents to hold onto the ball for an average of 34 minutes a game. USF will need to take advantage of this trend, pound the rock, and try to shorten the game and keep the Miami offense off the field.
At the defensive end position is star sophomore Anthony Chickillo (6'4" 262 lbs.) who has 38 tackles, six tackles for loss, including four sacks. Behind him on the depth chart is Jalen Grimble (6'2" 295 lbs.) who has six tackles and freshman Jelani Hamilton (6'5" 271 lbs.) who also has six tackles including one tackle for loss. At the other end position is junior Shayon Green (6'3" 260 lbs.) who leads the team with 60 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. Behind him is freshman Tyriq McCord (6'3" 236 lbs.) who has 13 tackles and three sacks and redshirt freshman Ricardo Williams (6'5" 240 lbs.) behind him. At the defensive tackle position is freshman Earl Moore (6'1" 300 lbs.) who has just five tackles on the season. Behind him on the depth chart is redshirt junior Curtis Porter (6'1" 305 lbs.) who has five tackles (1.5 tackles for loss) and freshman Dequan Ivery (6'1" 303 lbs.) who has recorded three tackles. At the other tackle position is sophomore Olsen Pierce (6'4" 300 lbs.) who has 19 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and one sack. Behind him on the depth chart is redshirt junior Luther Robinson (6'3" 288 lbs.) who has 12 tackles and redshirt freshman Corey King (6'1" 295 lbs.) who has eight tackles.
Overall, the defensive line for the Canes has not produced as much as Coach Al Golden would like. While stud lineman Anthony Chickillo and Shayon Green are racking up the numbers, the tackles are not doing much to stop the run up front. The USF offensive line, which has done a solid job all year in creating holes for the running game, will have to continue to lead the way and get the running game going to take pressure off of Matt Floyd.
At outside linebacker is redshirt freshman Eddie Johnson (6'1" 238 lbs.) who has 54 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, one sack, and one interception. Behind him on the depth chart is sophomore Thursten Armbrister (6'3" 225 lbs.) who has 28 tackles and one tackle for loss. At middle linebacker is junior Jimmy Gaines (6'3" 230 lbs.). who has 45 tackles, three tackles for loss, and one interception. Rotating in behind him is freshman Raphael Kirby (6' 218 lbs.) who has 11 tackles as a reserve. At the other outside linebacker position is sophomore Denzel Perryman (6' 229 lbs.) who has 50 tackles, six tackles for loss, and one interception. Behind him is sophomore Gionni Paul (6'1" 236 lbs.) who has 53 tackles (2.5 tackles for loss) and sophomore Tyrone Corrileus (6'2" 210 lbs.) who has 28 tackles.
The Miami linebackers are a very active unit that use their great speed to fly all over the field. With a porous defensive line in front of them, they are forced to make a lot more tackles and play inside the box. The offensive line will have to watch for the linebackers flying around and try to get blocks and spring the USF ball carriers into the second level.
At cornerback is sophomore Ladarius Gunter (6'2" 198 lbs.) who has 26 tackles, one tackle for loss, one interception, and six pass break-ups. Behind him is freshman Tracy Howard (5'11" 185 lbs.) who has 13 tackles and sophomore Thomas Finnie (5'10" 183 lbs.) who has 22 tackles and one interception. At the other corner position is senior Brandon McGee (6' 189 lbs.). who has 43 tackles, four tackles for loss, one sack, two interception, and five pass break-ups (big time force in the secondary). His back-up is Antonio Crawford (5'11" 188 lbs.) who has four tackles in limited playing time. At safety is freshman Deon Bush (6'1" 190 lbs.) who has 31 tackles, one tackle for loss and three pass break-ups. Behind him is junior Kacy Rodgers (6'2" 210 lbs.) who has 50 tackles and one tackle for loss and both spend time rotating in. At the other safety position is redshirt junior AJ Highsmith (6' 202 lbs.) who has 29 tackles and one interception on the year. Behind him is redshirt senior Vaughn Telemague (6'2" 204 lbs.) who has 18 tackles and freshman Rayshawn Jenkins (6'1" 203 lbs.) who has 16 tackle (also a former USF commit last year that had a change of heart)
The Miami secondary is very fast and athletic, providing a huge challenge for the USF passing attack. With Floyd just getting his feet wet, it will be interesting to see how much the Bulls put on Floyd's plate and how many times they let him throw down the field.
The Miami offense has been playing well all year. They are averaging 28.5 points per game. They average 140 yards a game on the ground and 268 through the air, posing a huge challenge for the Bulls secondary. It will be key for USF to get pressure on Stephen Morris and try to get their offense out of sync.
At left tackle is redshirt sophomore Malcolm Bunche (6'7 325 lbs.) with redshirt freshman Hunter Wells (6'4" 300 lbs.) behind him on the depth chart. At left guard is redshirt sophomore Jon Feliciano (6'5 314 lbs.). His back-up is redshirt senior Jeremy Lewis (6'4" 316 lbs.). At center is redshirt sophomore Shane McDermott (6'5" 295 lbs.) with redshirt junior Jared Wheeler (6'5" 314 lbs.) behind him. At right guard is junior Brandon Linder (6'6" 308 lbs.) with freshman Danny Isidora (6'4" 340 lbs.). At right tackle is former 5-star prospect Seantrel Henderson, who weighs in at 6'8", 340 lbs. Behind him on the depth chart is freshman Ereck Flowers (6'6" 314 lbs.). Overall, the Miami offensive line has tremendous size. The Bulls pass rush will be challenged to get around them and get pressure.
Wide receivers and tight ends
At wide receiver is sophomore Rashawn Scott (6'2" 190 lbs.) who has 35 grabs for 512 yards and three touchdowns (was suspended for the Virginia game last week). Behind him is freshman Herb Waters (6'2" 185 lbs.) who has five receptions for 32 yards. At the other wide receiver position is junior Allen Hurns (6'3" 192 lbs.) who has 27 receptions for 307 yards and four touchdowns. Behind him is senior Davon Johnson (6' 188 lbs.) who has 21 receptions for 348 yards. At the slot receiver position is sophomore Phillip Dorsett (5'10" 185 lbs.) who leads the team with 42 receptions for 648 yards and four touchdowns. Dorsett is averaging 15.4 yards per catch, making him a big time vertical threat to contend with for the USF secondary. Also at the slot position is redshirt senior Kendal Thompkins (5'10" 182 lbs.) who has two receptions and freshman Robert Lockhart Jr. (6'1" 188 lbs.). At tight is sophomore Clive Walford (6'4" 250 lbs.) who has 18 receptions for 217 yards and two touchdowns. Walford continues to develop into a great pass catching touchdown, continuing the tradition at Miami of big go-to receiving tight ends. Behind him is redshirt junior Dryon Dye (6'5" 255 lbs.) who has three grabs for 19 yards and junior Asante Cleveland (6'5" 263 lbs.) who has two receptions for 12 yards.
The Miami receivers and tight ends are all having big years thanks to their strong offensive line and the efficiency of junior quarterback Stephen Morris. If the Bulls don't want the secondary to get torn apart, the defensive line has to get pressure and force bad throws.
At quarterback is junior Stephen Morris (6'2" 214 lbs.). Morris has completed 209 passes out of 364 attempts for 2563 yards including 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions. (45 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown). His backup is sophomore Ryan Williams (6'5" 221 lbs.) is 11 for 15 for 87 yards and a score.
Morris has really matured this season as a player and passer for the Miami offense. With the talent around him, strong offensive line, and great running backs behind him, he is clicking. If USF wants to get anything done on defense, they have to pressure Morris and get him off moving, not allowing him to pick the secondary apart.
At running back is Mike James (5'11 220 lbs.) who has 122 carries for 529 yards and five touchdown, he also has 27 receptions for 247 yards and two touchdowns. Splitting duties with James is the explosive freshman Duke Johnson (5'9" 188 lbs.). The electric freshman has 110 carries for 705 yards and six touchdowns, inclduing 24 receptions for 204 yards and one touchdown. At fullback is junior Maurice Hagens (5'11" 240 lbs.) and behind him is redshirt sophomore Sean Harvey (6'4" 262 lbs.).
The Miami running backs, James and Johnson, are big time factors, both running the ball and out of the backfield catching passes. James is the more powerful runner while Johnson is the speed back that can get down the field in the blink of an eye. The defensive line and linebackers will have their hands full in this game.