Bulls look to climb out of cellar at UAB

Looking to end a three-game losing streak, the USF football team travels to play a nationally televised Conference USA game against UAB today.

With consecutive losses to Southern Miss, Army and Louisville, the Bulls (2-4, 1-3 C-USA) are in tenth place in the 11-team conference. UAB (5-2, 3-1 C-USA) is third in the standings but is coming off a 59-55 loss to last-place Tulane on Oct. 23.

“We’ve got a chance to regroup against a UAB team that you all know is very good,” coach Jim Leavitt said. “They are very talented.”

Wednesday’s game, which will be broadcasted on ESPN2, marks the second meeting between the Blazers and the Bulls, with UAB taking last year’s game 22-19 on a last-second field goal. That loss ended USF’s bid for a bowl game in 2003.

The 106th-ranked USF offense, which averages 294.5 yards a game, goes up against a UAB defense that has allowed 420 yards a game and is ranked 92nd.

“It’s going to take a great, great effort out of our players,” Leavitt said. “I expect our guys to go out and play extremely hard and lay it on the line.”

This season’s running game for the Bulls has been solid, gaining 151 yards a game. Led by Andre Hall, the running attack averages seven and a half more yards than the passing game, which is ranked 107th in yards and 115th in efficiency.

Any shot at victory for USF hinges on its defense, which must contain a UAB offense that averages 408.3 yards and 35.9 points per game.

With a loss, the Bulls would suffer their first four-game losing streak since their inaugural 1997 season. USF has had only one three-game skid, which came in 1997.

The 5-foot-10, 205-pound Hall has been a good addition for the Bulls in 2004, gaining 91.5 yards per game and averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Against Army, the junior set a USF record when he gained 200 yards on the ground. It was the most ever versus a I-A opponent.

“South Florida has a lot of good athletes,” UAB linebacker Gaylon Black said. “Their record might not be great, but their athletes are very quick, and they have the potential to beat a lot of teams.”