South Florida vs. Notre Dame Preview

CHARLOTTE NC - DECEMBER 31: B.J. Daniels #7 of the USF Bulls runs for a touchdown against the Clemson Tigers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 31 2010 in Charlotte North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

South Florida vs. Notre Dame - Saturday September 3, 2011 - 3:30 pm - NBC

Notre Dame Stadium - South Bend, IN

Point Spread - Notre Dame -10

Game Notes:  Notre Dame - South Florida

In one of the better matchups of the opening weekend, two teams in their second years under their respective head coaches will look to capitalize on the momentum seized at the end of the 2010 season. South Florida was impressive in dominating Clemson in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, while Notre Dame dominated Miami and followed it up by signing one of the nation's best recruiting classes in February. A win on the road at Notre Dame would also be a shot in the arm to Big East credibility nationwide.

Last Season

South Florida (8-5)

Notre Dame (8-5)

Offense 2010
Team South Florida Notre Dame
Rush Yds. 144.85 126.62
Pass Yds. 164.54 253.08
Pts. Scored 24.08 26.31
Defense 2010
Team South Florida Notre Dame
Rush Yds. 125.62 142.15
Pass Yds. 192.31 215.08
Pts. Allowed 20 20.23

Skip Holtz said at Big East Media Days that if he gets the BJ Daniels from the bowl game, that USF can beat anyone. That might be a bit of hyperbole, but it is true of this game. If South Florida's offense moves the chains because Daniels is making good decisions throwing the ball, is accurate throwing on designed rollouts and bootlegs, then the Bulls offense will move the ball against what should be an outstanding Notre Dame front seven led by linebacker Manti Te'o. The Bulls have a nice pair of running backs in former blue-chip tailback Darrell Scott and Demetris Murray. They'll also depend on BJ Daniels to contribute on the ground. The most important factor for the Bulls will be the play of a revamped offensive line against Notre Dame's 3-4 look that suddenly is both deep and talented. Expect Notre Dame to pressure Daniels heavily and to rotate in several of its promising freshman defensive linemen.

The Notre Dame offense had predictable struggles in its first year transitioning to Brian Kelly's scheme. The difficulty was magnified by injuries that plagued the quarterback position all season long. Still, by year's end the Irish were beginning to click and heading into this game should field a pretty potent offense. Dayne Crist will start at quarterback and will have a talented pair of wide receivers in Theo Riddick and Michael Floyd. Cierre Wood is a dependable back that will help the Irish offense stay balanced. South Florida lost a lot of experience in the secondary to the NFL, but, still returns a fantastic pair of linebackers in DeDe Lattimore and Sam Barrington. Ryne Giddins is a budding star at defensive end that will be counted on to help generate pressure on Crist. Quenton is an excellent cornerback that will likely be matched up with Floyd for most of the game.

If the game is a lower scoring affair, South Florida can win it on the strength of BJ Daniels being a running and passing threat. If it becomes a track meet that the Bulls must match the Irish score for score, it's hard for me to imagine them being able to keep up. 

Prediction: South Florida 21 Notre Dame 20

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