Slowing Graham will be key against Pittsburgh
The key for the Bulls' defense this week will be to limit Pittsburgh's junior tailback, Ray Graham.
His standout play this season has allowed him to amass 508 yards, scoring six touchdowns on 100 carries through four games. Graham only rushed for 89 yards in Pittsburgh's 15-12 loss last week against Notre Dame, but he did have eight catches for 43 yards and his individual yards accounted for half of Pittsburgh's total offense.
The good news for USF is that Graham has rushed for less than 100 yards in each of the last two games. Nonetheless, coach Skip Holtz said he still poses a threat to the Bulls' defense.
"He's leading the conference in rushing by, I think, by about (84) yards," he said. "He's got about 127 yards a game, I think, is what he's rushing for."
Graham's elusiveness is what concerns Holtz the most.
"You look at him on film and it looks like he's down and they've got him down and he cuts back against the grain," he said. "He is very unpredictable. But he is extremely quick. I think that's probably one of his bigger assets. He is a zone runner, he's got that jump cut … We're going to have to challenge our defense with really running the ball this week."
USF defensive coordinator Mark Snyder addressed Graham's play and knows what could be in store for the defense Thursday, he said.
"Ray Graham scares me," he said. "He's pretty good."
Big plays lead the way
An advantage USF has going into the matchup against Pittsburgh is its big-play offense, which had three plays for more than 50 yards last week against UTEP.
Wide receivers Victor Marc and Lindsey Lamar have impressed offensive coordinator Todd Fitch. Each of them had big plays last week - Marc with a 67-yard touchdown run and Lamar with a 54-yard touchdown catch.
"They bought into (the blocking) last week," Fitch said. "It's good to see it continue on and it's going to be critical because that's how you get chunks of yardage that we're going to need as we enter into Big East play."
Pittsburgh's defense, which has not allowed a single opponent to score in the first quarter so far this season, might not allow USF to get big plays like it has against its last three opponents. But, if the Bulls are able to pull off plays like they have so far this season, it will most likely be the game's deciding factor, Fitch said.
Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly
From Around the Web
More usforacle News Articles
Recent usforacle News Articles
Discuss This Article
MOST POPULAR USFORACLE NEWS
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER
LATEST USFORACLE NEWS
- Bulls edge UConn in conference opener
- Students warned not to sign up for GetStudyRoom.com
- Despite losing record, Bulls sets sights on conference title
- Z Baked provides warm cookies on demand
- Addicted to Apple: a dire diagnosis for millennials
- USF partners with World Health Organization
- Speaker sees astronomy through historical lens
FROM AROUND THE WEB
- Wondering if it's Time to Buy a New Car? Just Check Your...
- Smartphone to Become Wallet -- Are Customers, Businesses...
- Grandparents, Keep Your Meds Up and Away From Young Children
- As Insurers End Coverage for Compounded Drugs, Patients...
- 4 Tips to Start Your Day a Little Earlier
- Join the Force to Fight Lung Cancer in Women
- If You Want to Help Avoid Back Problems, Stop Slouching
- Common-Sense Strategies From a Natural Marketing Guru
- 10 Steps to Help Older Adults Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls
- Stay Cool for Next to Nothing: Power Down the AC on...
COLLEGE PRESS RELEASES
- Peace Corps Director Calls on College Students to Make a Difference After Graduation Through International Service
- USA NETWORK AND VERIZON LAUNCH THE “CHARACTERS UNITE COLLEGE TOUR” COMPETITION FOR STUDENTS TO BRING A USA NETWORK CELEBRITY AND A WORTHY CAUSE TO THEIR CAMPUS
- WHEN GEORGIA SMILED: THE ROBIN MCGRAW REVELATION FOUNDATION TEAMS WITH PIVOT AND STUDENTS OF THE WORLD TO LAUNCH THE #iASPIRE GRANT CONTEST
- Latino Groups Launch National Campaign to Deliver Record Latino Turnout for 2014 Midterm Elections
- The Power of Peer Support: Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In" Hits Campuses