South Florida (2-1) at Ball State (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 22, 4:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Scheumann Stadium (22,500) -- Muncie, Indiana. Television: Big East Network, ESPN3. Home Record: USF 1-1, BSU 1-0. Away Record: USF 1-0, BSU 1-1. Neutral Record: USF 0-0, BSU 0-0. Conference Record: USF 0-1, BSU 1-0. Series Record: South Florida leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Ball State Cardinals attempt to knock off a BCS opponent for the second week in a row as they welcome the South Florida Bulls to Scheumann Stadium for a non-conference bout.
The Bulls are coming off a 23-13 loss to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights which dropped their overall record to 2-1 and their Big East mark to 0-1. USF took down Chattanooga (34-13) and Nevada (32-31) to open the season. Coach Skip Holtz's squad finished with a disappointing 5-7 record in 2011 which snapped his streak of five straight bowl appearances dating back to his days at East Carolina. The Bulls returned 26 players with starting experience from last season.
Ball State took over with just 49 seconds left and put together a game-winning drive that was capped off by Steven Schott's 42-yard field goal as time expired to defeat the previously unbeaten Indiana Hoosiers, 41-39, in a thriller its last time out. The Cardinals previously took down Eastern Michigan (37-26) in their season and MAC opener before falling to Clemson (52-27) on the road in week two.
The series between these programs began last season with the Bulls picking up an easy, 37-7, victory.
The Bulls are a solid team in terms of offensive production so far with 412.7 yards and 26.3 points per contest.
USF is led offensively by B.J. Daniels once again. The senior quarterback is ranked 15th in the nation with 318 total yards of offense per game and already has 830 passing yards and six touchdowns. Daniels, who was guilty of seven interceptions in 2011, has already been picked off four times this season. Daniels is also a big part of the rushing attack with 124 yards and a score on 32 carries.
Demetris Murray is the main option out of the backfield. The senior tailback has picked up 142 yards and three touchdowns on 38 carries. Holtz also uses Lamar Lindsey to keep opposing defenses off balance.
Andre Davis and Terrence Mitchell have emerged as Daniels's preferred targets early on. Davis has reeled in 21 catches for 288 yards and two touchdowns. Davis set the school's single-game receiving record with 12 catches for 191 yards and two scores against Nevada to help the Bulls start the season off with back-to-back victories. Mitchell has shown off his big play ability as both a wideout and punt returner.
Despite the loss to Rutgers, the Bulls performed much better on the defensive side of the ball than they did versus Nevada. USF surrendered 549 yards and 31 points to the Wolf Pack, but limited the Scarlet Knights to 424 yards and 23 points in the losing effort.
USF has yet to force a turnover. Junior LB DeDe Lattimore had been the anchor of the defense so far with team-highs of 27 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 4.5 tackles for loss.
BSU is ranked 14th in the nation with 262.3 rushing yards per game. The strong rushing attack fuels the team to 35 points per game average.
Jahwan Edwards has been sensational with 332 yards and four scores on 52 rushes. Sophomore Horactio Banks should continue to be a big part of the gameplan as well after dashing for 120 yards and two touchdowns against Clemson. Banks was held to only 29 yards on 10 carries by the Hoosiers his last time out.
Keith Wenning is slated to start his 26th consecutive game at quarterback for BSU. Wenning threw three passes for scores and made the first-ever receiving touchdown of his career against Indiana. Wenning is 224 yards away from becoming only the fourth QB in school history to reach 5,000 career passing yards.
Wenning will continue to look the way of Jamill Smith, who showed off reliable hands versus Indiana. Smith finished with a career-best nine receptions and compiled 194 all-purpose yards in the contest. He also threw his first career pass when he connected with Wenning on a trick play.
Defensively, the Cardinals have been picked apart by opposing passers. The shorthanded Hoosiers managed to throw for 423 yards and four touchdowns against BSU despite starting Cameron Coffman for the first time in his career and playing third string quarterback Nate Sudfeld in the contest. The Cardinals' three opponents have combined for 117 points in three games.
Linebacker Travis Freeman uses his great awareness efficiently and leads the squad with 33 total stops. Kenneth Lee has recorded a second-best 22 total tackles.
Despite being at home and having all the momentum in the world, it will take an enormous effort from Ball State to fend off USF. The Cardinals are susceptible against strong passing attacks and Daniels is the type of player who thrives versus weaker competition. Wenning and the Cardinals need to limit turnovers or they will endure a stampede courtesy of the Bulls.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Florida 45, Ball State 35
09/19 10:39:08 ET