South Florida, Central Florida: Round 2

Call it a rivalry, don’t call it a rivalry, but no matter what, the Bulls still have to play UCF on Saturday.

Sure, there are players loving this hatred for the school just down Interstate 4. There are others – such as starting quarterback Matt Grothe – who call it just another game. Either way, this year’s game, coming off the 31-14 drubbing USF gave the Golden Knights in 2005, might be more evenly matched up.

This time, the game is in Orlando, and this is not the same UCF squad plagued with a 17-game losing streak. Following the Golden Knights’ loss to USF last season, they went 8-1, but then lost in the Conference USA championship game and their Hawaii Bowl game.

The Golden Knights return senior quarterback Steven Moffett, who threw for 2,925 yards, 22 touchdowns and just nine interceptions last season. In two games, Moffett has three touchdown passes and no interceptions. His main target has been receiver Mike Walker, who has 12 catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns.

UCF has utilized the running game very little, with just 126 total rushing yards. The Bulls, on the other hand, have 409 total rushing yards with Grothe leading the way with 140.

USF’s secondary will have to deal with all of Moffett’s passes, but of the Bulls’ three interceptions, cornerback Trae Williams has two.

USF’s offensive line has allowed no sacks in two games, and UCF’s starting defensive line – Emeka Okammor, Leger Douzable, Keith Shologan and Chris Welsh – has just nine tackles and three and a half sacks.

Opponents, however, have five sacks against UCF, and defensive end George Selvie (who may be switched to center) had the game of his life against FIU: two sacks and five tackles for a loss.

“We don’t overlook what George Selvie does,” coach Jim Leavitt said at Tuesday’s media luncheon. “We all have known what George can do. He’s not overlooked.”

The defensive line is still young and is being shifted around a lot, with Treco Bellamy, Jarriett Buie, Allen Cray and Richard Clebert – who had a crucial fumble recovery in Saturday’s win – all seeing playing time.

Leavitt, once again, has not named a starting running back for this week’s game. Sophomore Ben Williams got the start Saturday, but only saw six carries for 35 yards. Grothe had 16 carries, and Leavitt said after Thursday’s practice that the other running backs – Keeley Dorsey and Walt Smith – will play.

This and that: UCF assistant athletic director David Chambers told the Orlando Sentinel on Thursday he expects a crowd size between 42,000 and 45,000 based on current sales. Last season’s game against UCF brought an announced 45,139 to Raymond James Stadium.