The Syracuse University football program will try and snap a two-game losing streak Friday night (8 p.m. on ESPN2) as the University of South Florida visit the Carrier Dome in a Big East Conference game. The Orange (5-4, 1-3 Big East) are all but out of the league title race -- SU needs to win out, while the University of Louisville and the University of Cincinnati needs to lose out -- but still have a lot to play for, including becoming bowl eligible for the second straight season.
For those who need a scouting report on the Bulls (4-4, 0-4), here's a brief scouting report:
Skip Holtz, the son of legendary head coach Lou Holtz, is currently in his second season at USF. Last season, the Bulls compiled their fifth consecutive eight-win season and defeated Clemson University, 31-26, in the Meineke
Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, NC.
Currently, the Bulls are on pace to miss its first bowl in six years and Holtz is on the hot seat.
The Bulls began the year on a four-game winning streak. In Week 1, USF knocked off the University of Notre Dame, 23-20, and then strung together three more victories. The four-game winning streak allowed the Bulls to sneak into the top 25 rankings, however, the national attention was short lived.
The following week, USF lost at the University of Pittsburgh, 44-17, and then to the University of Connecticut, 16-10. A week later, the Bulls were edged by the University of Cincinnati, 37-34, in the final seconds. Last week, USF were edged by Rutgers, 20-13, in overtime and now the program is currently in the midst of its first four-game skid in its history.
Needless to say, USF is coming into Friday's match up hungry.
Junior quarterback B.J. Daniels leads the Bulls offense, which so far averages the second-most points (38.2) and total yards (466.6) in the Big East. Daniels is a duel threat as he runs it just as well as he can pass it. Entering Friday's match up, Daniels is the Bulls' second-leading rusher (55.0-rushing yards per game) and averages 253.5-passing yards per game.
Wide receiver Sterling Griffin, who is ranked third in the league with 5.71 catches per game, was Daniels' favorite target. But, last week, Griffin was lost for the season with a knee injury. Now, tight end Victor Mark (21 receptions for 235 yards) is USF's top passing target. Meanwhile, Darrell Scott is the club’s top rusher at 76.4 yards per game.
USF's offense has a tendency of turning the ball over (2.1 per game).
Linebacker DeDe Lattimore leads a Bulls defense, which leads the nation in tackles for a loss (9.0 per game) and is second in sacks per game (3.5), that flies to the ball. Lattimore leads the USF defense with 61 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Defensive end Ryne Giddins has a team high 10 tackles for a loss and three forced fumbles.
Overall, the USF defense allows 363 total yards per game (ranked fifth in the league) and 27.4 points per game (the worst in the league).
Somehow, someway, the Bulls have been finding their way into the loss column for four straight games. Is USF this bad? Probably, not. However, in the Big East, its all about grinding out sloppy games and it just doesn't seem that the Bulls do that well.
Against, another winnable game for Syracuse, but that doesn't mean the outcome is going to be in its favor.
SB Nation New York will be blogging live from press row Friday night at the Carrier Dome. Be sure to check back for a complete Syracuse Vs. USF StoryStream that will have pre- and post-game articles. Follow along on Twitter at SBNationNY or JaredSmithCNY.