This Saturday's win was a great one, and was much needed. The Aggies were coming off a huge road win at Minnesota, and we were obviously on the road without our starting QB. The win not only says a ton about the attitude of this team, but also the quality of our coaches. But, enough about that. This week we face the no. 18 team in the nation in the South Florida Bulls. Needless to say, its a huge task, and a great test for our team. Here's a little more about the game.
First things first: The QB situation, and other injuries
Redshirt Freshman Jay Hall has shown some flashes in his time filling in for starter Nick Lamaison, but he has also shown his inexperience. Saturday was the perfect example of that. One has to ask the question of whether or not Hall is the best option for us while Lamaison is out. It may be worth a shot to at least check out Carson Meger or Tate Smith. It really couldn't hurt. Mike Price did comment at today's luncheon saying "we're not eliminating anybody at the QB position for this game". He knows what he's doing, and I'm sure he'll choose the best option.
Mike Price was also asked today to comment on the status of the injured Nick Lamaison, Travaun Nixon, and others. His only answer was "They're all getting better. Our injuries are getting better...We may have some of them back this week". It probably doesn't make sense to bring Nick back in a week like this, but its a good sign that he hasn't been ruled out yet. Hope to see him back soon.A bit of a scouting report: No. 18 South Florida Bulls
The Bulls are ranked no. 18 in the nation this week, and with good reason. They are currently 12th in the nation in passing yards per game (325.7), 41st in rushing yards per game (180.3), 14th in points for per game (43.3), and 24th in points against per game (14.7). Granted, the Bulls nearly 500 yards passing, nearly 300 yards rushing, and 70 points against a horrendous Florida A&M team skews those stats a bit, but they are still a top 25 team.
The Bulls boast QB BJ Daniels, RBs Darrell Scott and Demetrius Murray, and WR Sterling Griffin. Daniels, a junior, is having his best season thus far completing 67% of his passes for 869 with 6 TDs to only 1 INT. Scott and Murray have carried the ball 35 and 34 times, respectively, and have nearly 400 yards between them through the first three games. Griffin, a sophomore, is by far the most popular target through the air, already hauling in 20 catches for 224 yards, and a TD.
Thus far on the season the Bulls have been extremely balanced, passing the ball 45% of the time, while running it 55% of the time. The only opponent that the Bulls have played that is at all similar to the Miners would be Ball St. Against Ball St., USF passed 35 times, and rushed 33. Look for a game plan similar to that this Saturday. The Bulls also run quite a bit of the no huddle offense, so our defense will have to stay on its toes if it wants to be competitive against a team of this caliber.
What to Expect
Let's be honest here. The Miners don't have much of a shot leaving South Florida with a win. This is a highly skilled top 25 team that ranks among the best in the nation in many of the top statistical categories. The Miners will likely be without starting QB Nick Lamaison which sets us back even farther, and our run defense has been suspect, even though they held NMSU to under 70 yards.
As stated earlier, Ball St. is probably the only opponent we can in any way compare ourselves too, and they walked out of Tampa with a 37-7 loss. I'd expect something in that neighborhood, and if the Miners can stay within 24 points, I'd consider that a great success. The main thing this week is to get some experience, play competitively, and more important than anything, leave without any injuries. Good luck to our Miners.
Projection: No. 18 South Florida 38, UTEP 17.