Ahead of the biggest game in program history, USF head coach Charlie Strong and senior center Cam Ruff addressed the media Tuesday afternoon at the Selmon Center.
Here’s what it’s about this week. pic.twitter.com/8nSoHENgJr— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) November 21, 2017
This will mark the 250th game in #USF program history.— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) November 21, 2017
And it’s only a rivalry game to decide the AAC East title and a chance at a conference title and NY6 bowl.
For the first time in series history both teams are actually good, and not “C-USA championship but get blown out 64-12” good. This is the first USF game with both teams ranked since 2009, and just the fifth one overall.
For The People Not In Orlando:
#22/19 USF at #13/12 C.— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) November 21, 2017
TV: ABC; Adam Amin (PxP), Dusty Dvoracek (Analyst), Molly McGrath (Sideline)
Series: USF leads 6-2, and have won the last two games, including capping off C.’s -12 season in 2015
Center Cam Ruff on the game:
Senior center Cam Ruff here for the offense:— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) November 21, 2017
“This game truly speaks for itself. If there has to be a motivational speech for a player, there’s something wrong with them.”
Say, like complaining about one team getting an extra day of rest or the #DISRESPEKT of the Bulls scoring another touchdown late in the game last year? Is that what you mean Cam?
“I wasn’t here..it’s just part of the rivalry”— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) November 21, 2017
Strong on C. complaining about USF running up the score last year
Strong on the keys to the game:
“We’re gonna have to get defensive stops...It’s like a video game how they get the ball up and down the field”— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) November 21, 2017
“We have to be gap sound and not let one big play lead to another”— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) November 21, 2017
Golden Knights rank second in offensive S&P+ and first in points per game at just over 48 per contest. C. is clearly the best team USF has faced, and vice versa. Remember C. got Memphis early in the season, when the Tigers defense was battling injuries and arrests, before finally clicking later in the year.
Sophomore quarterback McKenzie Milton is completing nearly 70% of his pass attempts this year and has thrown 26 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Their defense is led by reigning AAC Defensive Player of the Year Shaquem Griffin, who has continued his stellar play in 2017 with 47 tackles, 7.5 TFL, three sacks and leads the team with six quarterback hits.
Speaking of Griffin...
Full Charlie Strong quote on Shaquem Griffin for the manufactured outrage needs of C. players, fans, and bloggers. pic.twitter.com/8rIJ8hWT3O— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) November 21, 2017
Did the first tweet make it seem like Strong called Griffin handicapped? Yes. Does the full quote make it a little better? Yes. Should you use the word handicapped about Griffin? Absolutely not.
This kid has gone through so much in his life and accomplished much more to be reduced to being “handicapped.” He responded to Ryan Bass’s tweet with “It’s not a handicap.” So let’s not make a fuss over it. Griffin has done more on the field with one hand than any of us could ever do with six hands.
Don’t use the word. Period.
Strong says CB Deatrick Nichols practiced today and is fine for Friday— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) November 21, 2017
Nichols was hurt late in the Tulsa game, but was seen jogging around postgame and practiced today. He’s good to go.
DB Nate Ferguson and RB Trevon Sands are practicing. They are vital on special teams with 17 combined tackles.— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) November 21, 2017
These two are much more up in the air. Ferguson has missed the last two games while Sands missed Thursday night. They play such an important role on a much-maligned special teams unit that an extended absence will be felt at the worst possible time.