Five Keys: USF vs. Florida State

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

How on earth is USF going to win this game? Here are some things that can help their chances.

Obviously a tall order for the Bulls tonight, but if they want to spring the big upset, here's some things they need to focus on:

1. Accuracy in the short passing game. FSU has a good enough defensive line to get pressure with only four, so they don't really need to blitz. That will let the secondary play deep and take away the long passes. USF has to hit the quick hitters and the short passes to keep drives going. It's not B.J. Daniels' strong suit, but it has to be today.

2. No mental mistakes. Don't take penalties. Don't run the wrong route. Don't block the wrong guy in protection. Don't forget the snap count. Don't jump offside. Don't run before you have the ball. Etc. Etc. Etc.

3. Make something happen on defense. It would be easy to scream "MAKE PLAYYYYYS!" like that Detroit radio guya few years ago, but those plays would include: getting a push up front, forcing bad throws from E.J. Manuel, stopping guys behind the line of scrimmage, getting off the field on third down, and forcing turnovers. USF has done very few of these things in the last couple of weeks. They didn't do any of them against Ball State. That won't work tonight.

4. Don't give the ball away. Especially on special teams. I noticed Evan "Fair Catch" Landi out there to field the few punts Ball State had to attempt last week. But that may have been because the wind was so strong, and the Cardinals were punting from inside USF territory. We'll see what happens tonight.

5. Get lucky. OK, you can't focus on that at all, but some good luck couldn't hurt, right?

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