No. 13 USF vs. N.C. State
When: Sat., 7:30 p.m.
Where: Carter Finley Stadium
After coming off an underwhelming win at Florida International, the South Florida Bulls will travel to North Carolina to play a team that upset then-No. 15 East Carolina last week. The No. 13 Bulls, however, have problems beyond North Carolina State that could affect them once conference play begins — injuries.
Throughout the week, USF had six defensive starters miss time at practice. Most of the injuries are not serious but may limit them during Saturday’s game — the final contest before the Bulls begin their Big East schedule.
“It’s just nicks and bruises this time of year,” USF defensive coordinator Wally Burnham said. “They get sore, people might fall on the back of their leg and they get a bruise. They get dinged up a little bit, but they’re going to be fine.”
Senior linebacker Brouce Mompremier — who suffered a neck injury in the third quarter of USF’s 17-9 win over an FIU team that has won once in the last 27 games — will not be the only player missing playing time against N.C. State.
Junior defensive end George Selvie and sophomore defensive tackle Terrell McClain will be held out of the starting lineup Saturday, USF coach Jim Leavitt told the St. Petersburg Times after Wednesday’s practice.
“We’re going to take them both, but we’re getting the other guys ready,” he said. “Is there a chance they might play? You know, maybe. Probably a long shot.”
Without Selvie — who has 22 career sacks — in the starting lineup, the Bulls will be relying more heavily on senior defensive end Jarriett Buie to anchor the line.
Buie has two tackles this season, both of which came against FIU. He said, however, that he was ready to add to his total.
“It was nice to finally get some tackles,” Buie said after the FIU game. “I’m just going to have to keep working hard and get more.”
Without Mompremier, the linebackers will look to senior Tyrone McKenzie to help provide leadership.
Burnham said junior Kion Wilson will start with McKenzie, while junior Chris Robinson and sophomore Sabbath Joseph will be rotated in throughout the game.
“I feel real comfortable with those guys, especially Sabbath. He’s been here for a long time,” McKenzie said. “For the past two years I’ve had him under my wing, and Kion is learning the defense quickly, so I feel comfortable with all those guys.”
The secondary will also see some new players get playing time due to injuries to senior cornerback Tyller Roberts and senior safety Carlton Williams. Burnham said he expects both to be ready Saturday but has prepared sophomore Quentin Washington in case he needs playing time.
Burnham said he expects the replacements to do fine because they all have game experience.
“It helps a lot because it’s not their first time out there,” he said. “They’ve been in hostile environments at Central Florida and at FIU, but nothing like what they’re going to see Saturday.”
The Bulls will have new faces on the defense, and they will be dealing with a new Wolfpack quarterback.
Harrison Beck, a transfer from Nebraska, will start his fifth career game for N.C. State. He has four career touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
“Beck’s not gong to scramble as much, so we won’t have to change our defensive scheme,” Burnham said. “He’s a good quarterback, so we still have to be careful.”