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Friday Five Keys: USF at Cincinnati

Let's try and find a way for USF to win this game, shall we? Looking at these keys, I'm clearly concerned about Cincinnati's offense taking over the game. With the way they've pulled themselves together the last few weeks, it might end up being the strongest offense USF plays all year. Yes, even stronger than Miami.

1. Somehow string together enough offense to keep the Bearcats off the field. I'm really not sure how USF plans to do this because long, conservative, clock-eating drives looked like last week's plan at West Virginia, and they couldn't even execute that. Cincinnati's defense is weaker that West Virginia's, and they're going to help you win the time of possession battle because they move so quickly on offense. Wearing the defense down and scoring touchdowns can help keep this game in play.

2. Make Zach Collaros uncomfortable. I think part of the reason Cincinnati has been bootlegging him and moving the pocket is because the offensive line has struggled in regular protection, although they did make changes a few weeks ago to stem the tide. Collaros took a heavy beating against Fresno State, and the line has given up 19 sacks in six games (8 against the Bulldogs in the season opener). It's critical to keep Collaros off balance because he's putting up video game numbers throwing the ball - 17 touchdowns and only three picks, and completing over 63% of his passes. If he's upright, he's going to hurt you. As Down the Drive pointed out, 11 of Collaros's 17 TDs have come on play action and rollouts, so just getting him out of the pocket isn't enough.

3. Tackle. Just... tackle. Isaiah Pead, Armon Binns, D.J. Woods, Collaros, kick returners, whoever. Get them on the ground and don't give up big plays that you probably won't be able to match.

4. Get points how you can, when you can. I'm not asking for style or flair with how points get on the board, but you're probably going to need quite a few of them. Scrapple it together however you have to. Short fields, turnovers, trick plays, whatever. If the defense or special teams can chip in a touchdown, that's great. I just don't think we can count on the offense scoring 30 points on its own against anyone left on the schedule.

5. For God's sake, don't let yet another Guidugli beat you. Nothing whips me more than when this happens. I mean, how many football-playing Guiduglis are there, like 10? It's like a fucking hydra. If you're keeping score, the current one is Ben Guidugli, their tight end.