The Bulls return to action as they hit the road after Thanksgiving to face Cincinnati in their last road game of the year. USF, 3-7 (1-4) are just trying to keep it together as they head to face the Bearcats who are 7-3 (3-2) on the year.
At kicker is sophomore Tony Miliano (6'2" 198 lbs.). He is 13 out of 18 in field goal attempts this season with a long of 47 yards. Behind him is Patrick Donnell (6'5" 217 lbs.) who is the starting punter. So far this season, Donnell has punted the ball 42 times this season, averaging 42.1 yards per kick, landing 16 balls inside the opponents 20 yards line. Behind him on the depth chart is sophomore John Lloyd (6'2" 238 lbs.) and Miliano was as well.
At kick return is sophomore Ralph Abernathy IV (5'7" 160 lbs.). He has returned 24 for 6127 yards (26.1 yards per turn) and has one touchdown on the year as well. At punt return is junior Anthony McClung (6' 172 lbs.) who has 14 returns for 158 yards. Joining him in returns is senior Danny Milligan (5'9" 172 lbs.) who has eight returns for 96 yards. Overall, the Bearcat special teams are solid with the biggest threat being Abernathy in the kick return game. Marvin Kloss will have to keep the ball away from him during the game and not allow any special teams play to give the Bearcats any extra momentum during the game.
The Cincinnati defense, which runs out of a base 4-3 set, uses a lot of nickel packages in their defensive schemes, adding more speed on the field, taking away the zones to throw to. Overall, the Bearcats are allowing just 17 points per game this season. They allow 139 yards on the ground, 240 yards through the air, putting the pressure on freshman Matt Floyd to make plays with his arm in this game (no real excited about that).
At defensie end is senior Brandon Mills (5'10" 240 lbs.) who has 22 tackles and one sack on the season. Behind him on the depth chart is freshman Josh Posley (6'1" 255 lbs.) and junior Elijah Shuler (6'4" 260 lbs.) who has six tackles, two of them for a loss, including one sack. At the other end position is senior Dan Giordano (6'4" 260 lbs.) who has 38 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss including 2.5 sacks on the year (has 10 quarterback hits as well, get ready Floyd). Behind him on the depth chart is freshman Silverberry Mouhan (6'4" 242 lbs.). At the defensive tackle position is sophomore Cameron Beard (6'5" 275 lbs.) who has 24 tackles and five tackles for loss with senior Adam Dempsey (6'2" 271 lbs.) behind him who has nine tackles (one tackle for loss). At nose tackle is junior Jordan Stepp (6'1" 268 lbs.) who has 26 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss including a sack. Behind him is senior John Williams (6' 283 lbs.) who has 27 tackles, five tackles for loss including 2.5 sacks and junior Mitch Meador (6'4" 281 lbs.) who has five tackles (one sack).
The Bearcat defensive line overall is full of speed rushers, not relying on big time size up the middle. They are quick and athletic, posing trouble for the Bulls as they try to keep young Floyd on his feet in this game. Look for Giordano and company to try to get pressure and force a lot of mistakes by Floyd and the USF offense.
At weakside linebacker is sophomore Maalik Bomar (6'2" 228 lbs.) who has 68 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and one interception on the year. Behind him on the depth chart is fellow sophomore Solomon Tentman (6'2" 228 lbs.) who has 17 tackles. At middle linebacker is senior Greg Blair (6'2" 252 lbs.) who leads the team with 101 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss (1.5 sacks) and two interceptions on the year with freshman Clemente Casseus (6'1" 224 lbs.) behind him with 12 tackles. At strong side linebacker is sophomore Nick Temple (5'10" 214 lbs.) who has 35 tackles (2.5 tackles for loss) with sophomore Corey Mason (6'2" 227 lbs.) behind him (has five tackles as a reserve).
The linebacking unit is led by star Greg Blair who seems to be everywhere on the field. The linebacking corps flies all over the field for the Bearcats and will be looking to take away the gaps in the running game and try to confuse Floyd on offense.
At cornerback is junior Deven Drane (5'11" 185 lbs.) who has 25 tackles and one interception with freshman Renier Orr (5'11" 179 lbs.) behind him who has 17 tackles. At the other cornerback position is senior Cameron Cheatham (5'9" 187 lbs.) who has 40 tackles (3.5 tackles for loss) and three interceptions with freshman Leviticus Payne (5'9" 179 lbs.). In the nickel package, the Bearcats will use senior Chris Williams (5'11" 190 lbs.) who has 16 tackles, in pass protection packages. Also rotating in on the field behind him is sophomore Adrian Whitty (5'10" 182 lbs.) who has 18 tackles and senior Aaron Roberson (5'11" 180 lbs.) who has eight tackles. At free safety is junior Arryn Chenault (6' 207 lbs.) who has 38 tackles and two interceptions with senior Dominique Battle (5'11" 192 lbs.) behind him who has 19 tackles (one tackle for loss) and one interception. At strong safety is senior Drew Frey (6'3" 212 lbs.) who has 34 tackles (two tackles for loss and an interception. His back-up is senior Malcolm Murray (6'1" 200 lbs.) who has 18 tackles.
The Bearcat secondary can tackle, hit in the open field, and has 11 interceptions on the season, showing how dangerous they can be. Floyd will have to be very careful with the ball in this game and will need help from his receivers to get open in their routes and pick yards.
The Bearcats run a spread offense that can stretch the field and use the speed of their playmakers to chew up the yards. The Bulls will have to play smart in this game, swarm to the ball carrier, and make the tackle in open space, not allowing anyone to create in the open field. If the Bulls cannot tackle in space and get pressure with the front line, it will be a long day. Cincinnati is averaging 31 points per game, rushing for 213 yards and passing for 231 on average. They have also only allowed 11 sacks against them all year showing how tough of a challenge this game will be for the Bulls.
At left tackle is sophomore Eric Lefeld (6'6" 287 lbs.) with fellow sophomore Corey Keebler (6'7" 275 lbs.) behind him. At left guard is junior Austen Bujnoch (6'5" 285 lbs.) and behind him is junior Andre Cureton (6'6" 299 lbs.). At center is junior Dan Sprague (6'3" 283 lbs.) and behind him is sophomore Domic Maniello (6'3" 272 lbs.). At right guard is Sam Longo (6'5" 285 lbs.) with freshman Parker Ehinger (6'7" 290 lbs.) behind him. At right tackle is Parker Ehinger and behind him is senior Sean Hooey (6'4" 295 lbs.).
Overall, the Bearcat offensive line has a mixture of youth and experience, but not a lot of overwhelming size on the line. However, they don't allow anyone to get their quarterbacks down and are able to get out and block for the running game. The Bulls defensive line has to not only get pressure, but played disciplined football and not allow the Bearcats to open up the gaps and go for big yards down the field.
At quarterback is senior Brendon Kaye (6'4" 233 lbs.). Kaye, the 5th year senior, took over the job from struggling junior Munchie Leagux, but has not exactly set the world on fire after a strong first start two weeks ago but struggled against Rutgers. Kaye is 34 out of 57 attempts for 543 yards, including three touchdowns and two interceptions since taking over. Leagux (6'5" 199 lbs.) has completed 120 passes out of 230 attempt this season for 1716 yards, including 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions (has carried the ball 55 times for 335 yards and four touchdowns). Behind both of them is freshman Patrick Coyne (6'1" 233 lbs.).
Kaye struggled against Rutgers, leading the team to just three points in the loss. Munchie, a very mobile quarterback, has struggled with his accuracy for most of the year, but is always a big threat. It will be interesting to see how long Kaye is used in the game and whether or not the Bearcats will mix in Munchie to get them more speed on the field. Whoever is taking snaps, the Bulls have to be ready.
At running back is senior George Winn (5'11" 202 lbs.) who has carried the ball 184 times for 1015 yards including nine touchdowns (seven grabs for 54 yards). Splitting carries with him is sophomore Ralph David Abernathy IV (5'7" 168 lbs.) who has 61 carries for 341 yards with four touchdowns (24 receptions for 294 yards and three touchdowns). Also getting carries is freshman Tion Green (6' 211 lbs.) who has 16 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown and sophomore Jameel Poteat (5'10" 198 lbs.) who has 27 carries for 114 yards and one touchdown.
Winn is the go-to back for the Bearcats, carrying the workload all season long. Abernathy, who brings more speed to the field, is their change of pace back that can also do a lot of things in the passing game as well. Winn and Abernathy will be a tough match for the Bulls front seven, however, the speed of the defense should allow them to at least keep up and swarm to the ball.
Wide receivers and tight ends
Starting at wide receiver is senior Kembrell Thompkins (6'1" 190 lbs.) who has 27 grabs for 455 yards and four touchdowns on the year. Behind him is freshman Chris Moore (6'1" 189 lbs.) who has three receptions for 88 yards and a score.. At the second wide receiver position is junior Anthony McClung (6' 172 lbs.) who has 24 grabs for 333 yards and one score with junior Danny Milligan (5'9" 172 lbs.) behind him who has eight receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown as well. At the third wide receiver position is senior Damon Julian (6'2" 210 lbs.) who has 20 receptions for 3329 yards and four touchdowns. Behind him is sophomore Alex Chisum (6'3" 188 lbs.) who has seven receptions for 121 yards. At tight end is senior Travis Kelce (6'6" 260 lbs.) who leads the team with 27 receptions for 472 yards and four touchdowns. Behind him on the depth chart is junior Blake Annen (6'5" 247 lbs.) and senior Demetrius Richardson (6'2" 240 lbs.).
The Bearcats like to spread the ball all over the field and have threats all over. Kelce, their big tight end, is a big time force and will challenge the USF secondary that is thin and has been beaten all year, allowing 260 yards a game in the air. The Bulls have to tackle the speedy Bearcat playmakers or it could be a nightmare afternoon.