The 4-5 record Cincinnati posts isn’t fazing coach Jim Leavitt, but it seems the Bearcats’ running game is what he is most concerned about.
“They are very talented. They run hard,” Leavitt said. “Their offensive line does a good job for them – really works you.”
Cincinnati’s backfield consists of Bradley Glatthaar, Greg Moore and Butler Benton, who have combined for 1,098 yards and eight touchdowns.
Glatthaar, a sophomore playing for his hometown of Cincinnati, leads the team with 544 yards and seven scores, but it’s the trio Leavitt is keeping his eye on.
“All three of them are very good,” Leavitt said.
Leavitt has called the backs “big” and “strong,” and even though Glatthaar is 5-foot-11 and 225 pounds, the Bearcats are sixth in the Big East in rushing offense, while USF is second only to No. 13 West Virginia.
Too close to call: Left tackle Thed Watson will “probably” be a game-time decision, according to Leavitt. The junior has been partially sidelined since Monday with an injury to his right ankle.
“We worked him so far, and he did okay,” Leavitt said. “We hope he comes around (today).”
Awaiting history: Saturday’s game – the first home game in 55 days – is an important conference game. A win over Cincinnati will also make the Bulls bowl eligible. The Bearcats pummeled the Bulls 45-23 on Nov. 20, 2004, a game in which Leavitt said, “It wasn’t even a game.”
Earlier this week, running back Andre Hall expressed his motive for extracting a little revenge from Cincinnati.
“The way Cincinnati ran the score up on us last year – I just don’t like Cincinnati,” Hall said. “I have never disliked a team, but last year, they put a lot of anger in my heart.
“I’ve been waiting for this game the whole season. I don’t care what the coaches say about it. It’s just the way I feel. I know I’m not supposed to say it, but I don’t like Cincinnati, period.”
Hall is the top running back in the Big East, boasting 990 yards and 15 total touchdowns. The senior became USF’s all-time leading rusher in less than two years and now has 2,347 yards as a Bull.
Hall also holds the records for most rushing touchdowns in a career (23) and most rushing touchdowns in a season (13), and he has 390 yards in his last two games.
Keep an eye on: Defensive end Terrence Royal and safety Johnnie Jones. The two seniors have wreaked havoc on opposing offenses – mainly Syracuse and Rutgers – combining for 14 tackles, half a sack, a fumble and three interceptions in those two games. The entire defense has forced eight turnovers in the past two weeks.
Captains: This week’s captains are Hall, Jones, linebacker Stephen Nicholas and center John Miller.