As the Bulls load up the buses and travel to Coral Gables, here are five keys to watch during the game.
1. Who is the starting QB for this game and the rest of the season? Throughout the two weeks between the UConn game and now, both redshirt freshman Matt Floyd and junior Bobby Eveld have been taking snaps with the first team offense at practice. While Floyd has been the backup this seaso and appears to be the frontrunner for the job now that Daniels's USF career is over, Eveld is keeping the competition interesting. (Or Skip Holtz might be snowing us for some psychological edge, whatever that is.) While it would be a waste to burn Eveld's redshirt with just three games left in the season, you never know.
2. Life after B.J. Daniels: The era of B.J. Daniels is over for USF and now the program that has relied on #7 for the last four years suddenly has to start fresh with Matt Floyd (or Bobby Eveld). How much workload will Floyd be asked to handle? The Bulls have been mixing in senior Victor Marc as a wildcat quarterback during practices, meaning the team may come out with a different look now that Daniels is out. Floyd is not as mobile as Daniels was, so the team is still looking for a running threat out of the zone read packages that have worked for the Bulls the last two years. How much of the game plan will fall on Floyd's shoulders? Will they let him sling it, or will they rely heavily on the run and ask him to simply manage the game? Guess we find out this Saturday.
3. Retool the run game: The Bulls will have to rely more on the running backs now that Daniels is out and the untested and less mobile Floyd is under center. Demetris Murray has been the workhorse, but he'll need help from Marcus Shaw and maybe even a guest appearance from Bradley Battles or Willie Davis. Whoever gets the playing time, they need to prepare to carry a large workload during the game as the Bulls try to take the pressure off of Floyd.
4. Pressure on Stephen Morris: Morris has been putting up some big numbers this season, and has the weapons around him to hurt the weak Bulls defense. It will be on the USF front seven to get pressure and force him into bad throws. The defense, led by Cory Grissom, Tashon Whitehurst, and others, got pressure on UConn and forced the the Huskies to throw two interceptions (the first two of the season by the Bulls). Miami's offense is a tougher test -- can the Bulls do it again?
5. Can USF build on the UCONN win? While the win over the Huskies wasn't pretty, it did snap the six-game losing streak. The defense finally got two interceptions, and for a few moments, fans were happy. However, after a bye week, the team is on the road and back to work for the last three games of the season, With underclassmen now dotting the lineup on both sides of the ball, can USF build some more momentum following the win over UConn, get another important in-stat win, and keep their bowl hopes alive?