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November 13, 2013

Five things to watch: Memphis Tigers

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The USF Bulls are back in action after an off week following their loss to Houston the week before, dropping their overall record to 2-6 (2-2). There isn't a lot to battle for in the standings of the AAC with Memphis coming to town, but for this team, there is still a lot to prove and build upon. Here are the 5 things I'll be watching in this game.

Mike White show continues
Mike White shined in first collegiate start two weeks ago, throwing for 311 yards and 2 touchdowns while completing for over 60% completion percentage on his throws. Head Coach Willie Taggart stated that the offense was simplified for the Houston game, but mentioned it was getting better and we could see even more from White going forward. It is pretty clear the Bulls are rolling with White for the rest of the year and will need him to be just as good as he was against Houston if the Bulls want to beat Memphis in this game and continue to build the foundation for next year.

Rush to help offense
The Bulls need to run the ball in order to help White and the offense get going. Against Houston, they struggled to get a consistent attack going. With Memphis in town, a team that allows 108 yards a game, it will be key for the Bulls to run the ball and take pressure off of White. Marcus Shaw who was back after missing several weeks with a hamstring injury still leads the team with 586 yards on 104 carries for 2 touchdowns, but he was held in check in Houston and has to get it going like he was earlier this year. Darius Tice who has 130 yards on 28 carries and Willie Davis who has 74 yards on 22 carries need to help Shaw and get positive yards when they get their touches.

Pressure Memphis
Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch has thrown 7 interceptions to just 6 touchdowns this season and has been sacked 20 times this season. The USF defense, which has 15 total, has to get pressure on Lynch and make it hard for him to make his reads and move the Memphis offense which hasn't been very efficient this season. Ryne Giddins, Julius Forte, and others will have to rise up and make the most of their remaining games to continue to make impact plays and get the ball back for the offense. Giddins and others have to get pressure and help keep the Bulls in the game.

Like a Kloss
Marvin Kloss has been nearly perfect for USF this season and was recently named a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, which is given to the best kicker in the country. Kloss has hit a program record 13 straight field goals and has been the most consistent weapon for the Bulls this year in getting points on the board. This game probably won't see a lot of points scored for either side so getting them while they are available is going to be key if the Bulls want to win another game. Look for Kloss to make the critical kicks when the offense struggles and stalls out.

Playmakers make plays
The season is slowly coming to an end, there is no bowl game to play for, but there is still a lot of build upon for the future of the program. The key playmakers for the Bulls have to continue to battle despite the win-loss record. DeDe Lattimore, Aaron Lynch, Mark Joyce and others will have to continue to produce, fly to the ball, and make things happen for the team in order for them to win another game and continue to lay the foundation that Head Coach Willie Taggart is trying build in his first year.



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