Hurricanes Lunchtime List: Top 5 Things to Watch vs. USF


Every day (well, every weekday), we’ll bring you a Hurricanes top five list at lunchtime. It’s something to look forward to.

Mondays: Answers to Top 5 Game Preview from Friday
Tuesdays: Top 5 in the ACC
Wednesdays: Unique Top 5 List
Thursdays: Unique Top 5 List
Fridays: Top 5 to Watch for Upcoming Game

5. Will there be a rivalry atmosphere? Some are billing this as a rivalry game, but it isn’t there yet. Rivalries develop naturally, not because we want them to. But the Bulls managed their first win in the series last year, and could be emboldened by the win as they play this year in Tampa. Expect a hard-fought game, but wait until we have reason to call this a rivalry game before doing so.

4. The Miami QB rotation. Stephen Morris has rotated in on certain plays the last two games–particularly last week against FSU. Jacory Harris  said that the rotation didn’t affect his rhythm against the Seminoles despite throwing a pick after Morris came in for him the previous play. Head coach Al Golden told reporters that the rotation will likely continue through the rest of the season.Golden told Joe Rose on Monday that playing Morris was important to the program, which many take as an eye towards the future.

3. Turnovers, penalties, and special teams. These three areas are what did the Hurricanes in against FSU. The Bulls are among the nation’s most penalized teams with 66.44 penalty yards per game, and have struggled with turnovers at times. They have six games with multiple turnovers and three games with three or more. Miami, on the other hand, has done a good job of protecting the football after turning over the ball six times in the first two games. That was, of course, until last week when three turnovers played a big role in the loss to Florida State. From the Kansas State game to the Duke game, Miami had not turned over the ball more than once in a single game. Miami also cannot afford the special teams gaffs that plagued them last weekend–a muffed punt that resulted in a field goal and a punt returned for a touchdown (and a kickoff return for a touchdown that was called back). USF is tops in the nation in punt return defense, but they’re return averages are not among the nation’s elite (near the bottom in kickoff return average). They do have blocked a punt and returned it for a score, though.

2. USF QB B.J. Daniels. Daniels went for 254 yards through the air and 117 yards and a score on the ground in the Bulls’ 37-17 victory over Syracuse last week. Like Harris, Daniels has somewhat turned things around this year, cutting back on his picks and posting the  highest completion percentage of his career thus far (60.4%). He’s already set a career high for passing yardage (2,281) and continues to produce on the ground. Miami struggled with Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas a few weeks ago, and Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein was productive on the ground earlier in the season. Whether they can limit Daniels could play a big role in the outcome of the game.

1. Miami OL vs. USF DL. This was a key matchup last week against Florida State, and it’s again important in the Bulls matchup. For the second week in a row Miami will face a defense ranked in the top ten in sacks (USF is third in the nation with 3.44 sacks per game). The Bulls are second in the country with 8.56 tackles for loss per game. If Miami struggles to keep USF from penetrating, getting pressure on the quarterback, and making plays in the backfield, tomorrow could be a long day. The Bulls have three players with five sacks or more, and have combined for 31 total.