WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS at USF BULLS
Raymond James Stadium (65,857/Natural Grass)
Thursday, December 1 • 8 p.m. • ESPN
ESPN — Rece Davis, Craig James, Jesse Palmer and Jenn Brown
West Virginia Radio National Radio USF Radio
WAJR-AM 1440 (flagship) BIG EAST/IMG Sports Radio Network WFLA-AM 970 (flagship)
John Rooke and Peter Brock
USF and West Virginia have fashioned one of the better rivalries in the BIG EAST since the series began in 2005 … The series stands tied at 3-3, with each team going 2-1 on its home field … Both schools were ranked in the top 25 in the 2007 meeting, when No. 18 USF scored a 21-13 win against the No. 5 Mountaineers in Tampa … Last year’s game was a 20-6 win for No. 25 West Virginia in Morgantown, W.Va., behind two touchdown passes for WVU QB Geno Smith.
WEST VIRGINIA (8-3, 4-2 BIG EAST)
Dana Holgorsen (Iowa Wesleyan ’93)
8-3, first season
West Virginia has won three of its last four games following a 21-20 win against Pittsburgh in the Backyard Brawl … The Mountaineers would win a share of the BIG EAST championship with a win against USF and could get the league’s bid to the BCS if it finishes in a three-way tie for the title and is the highest ranked of the tied teams in Sunday’s final BCS rankings … West Virginia is looking at a potential 10th consecutive finish of second place or better in the BIG EAST standings … The Mountaineers lead the BIG EAST in scoring offense (35.4 ppg), total offense (468.3 ypg) and passing offense (351.4 ypg) … QB Geno Smith is ranked fifth nationally in passing (340.1 yards per game) … Smith has completed 291 of 448 passes for 3,741 yards and 25 touchdowns with five interceptions … Smith needs 283 yards to tie the BIG EAST’s single-season record of 4,024 yards, set by Louisville’s Brian Brohm in 2007, while his percentage of interceptions per pass attempts (1.11) would rank as a single-season BIG EAST record… WR Stedman Bailey is averaging 101.5 receiving yards per game to lead the BIG EAST … Bailey has 60 catches for 1,117 yards and 10 touchdowns … WR Tavon Austin is second nationally in all-purpose yards (189.6 ypg) … DE Bruce Irvin (7.5 sacks) and DT Julian Miller (6.0 sacks) lead the defense.
USF (5-6, 1-5 BIG EAST)
Skip Holtz (Notre Dame ’86)
13-11, second season at USF
85-61, 12th season as collegiate head coach
USF needs a win against West Virginia to gain bowl eligibility for the seventh consecutive season … The Bulls have been bowl-eligible in each year they have been members of the BIG EAST … USF has dropped six of its last seven games following a 34-24 loss to Louisville … Thursday’s game against West Virginia is the last of three straight home games to end the regular season for the Bulls … USF is second in the nation in tackles for loss, averaging 8.5 TFL per game … The Bulls are second nationally in sacks at 3.5 per game … QB B.J. Daniels, who ranks second in the BIG EAST in passing (237.8 yards per game) did not play against Louisville due to a shoulder injury and is considered day-to-day… QB Bobby Eveld threw for 210 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals in his first start of the year … RB Darrell Scott is the leading rusher with 722 yards and five touchdowns on 139 carries … LB DeDe Lattimore leads the defense with 87 tackles, seven sacks and 13 tackles for loss.