By Tony Caridi for WVUsports.com
October 12, 2010 05:19 PM
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - It’s a quick week as the Mountaineers get ready for Thursday’s “Running with the Bulls.” In an effort to make you the smartest person in your fan group, here are 20 quick facts that you can use to impress.
1.) South Florida and West Virginia played last season’s game in Tampa, but the Bulls have a player who caught a pass at Mountaineer Field last season. Yep, tight end Kevin Gidrey played for East Carolina in 2009, but transferred to USF when Skip Holtz made the move to Tampa. Gidrey is immediately eligible because he’s a fifth-year senior enrolled in graduate school.
2.) WVU has scored fewer than 20 points against South Florida in four consecutive games. The average margin of victory in those four contests has been seven points.
3.) South Florida’s defense was extremely talented last season. Five members of that unit are currently playing in the NFL. Despite the talent, USF finished last season with an 8-5 record.
4.) Noel Devine has rushed for 168 yards on 38 carries in three games against South Florida with no touchdowns. That’s an average of four yards per carry, which is two yards below his career rushing average of six yards per carry.
5.) Bulls quarterback B.J. Daniels threw for a career-high three touchdowns against WVU in last season’s game with no interceptions. However, Daniels only completed 50 percent of his passes. He finished the game 13-of-26 for 232 yards.
6.) Jock Sanders consecutive games with a reception streak has now grown to 33-straight games. That’s the second longest in WVU history and sixth longest streak in Big East history. If all goes well, Jock can break the WVU school record held by Khori Ivy in WVU’s bowl game.
7.) USF has field goal problems. Coach Skip Holtz has tried two different kickers who have combined to make just four of nine attempts.
8.) West Virginia currently leads the Big East Conference in total defense, scoring defense, third-down conversions, fourth-down conversions, and fewest opponent first downs.
9.) South Florida leads the conference in two categories: Pass defense and punt return average.
10.) Since the 2000 season WVU is 17-2 in home night games. Under Bill Stewart the Mountaineers are 18-2 on games played on artificial turf.
11.) October has been the least successful month in the history of South Florida football. The Bulls have won 70 percent of their games in the month of September, 68 percent of their games in November, but just 54 percent of their games in October.
12.) A scan of last year’s final defensive stats between WVU and South Florida shows that WVU returns its top seven tacklers from that game. The Bulls return just three of their top seven.
13.) South Florida spent 12 days of preseason training camp across the state in the Vero Beach Sports Village, formerly known as Dodgertown. The move was necessitated because of construction taking place on the USF campus.
14.) Scooter Berry is quietly having a very good season. The senior defensive lineman has recorded 10 tackles in the last two games. That’s an impressive number for a down lineman in Jeff Casteel’s 3-3 stack defense. On the season he’s seventh on the overall WVU tackle list.
15.) South Florida is very thin when it comes to quarterback depth. True freshman walk-on Bobby Eveld is listed as the back-up to B.J. Daniels. Yes, WVU’s top reserve Barry Brunetti is also a true freshman, but he was also a high school All-American and ranked third nationally among dual threat quarterbacks.
16.) Opposing teams have had to work hard to score against South Florida. Six of the last seven scoring drives against the Bulls defense have required 10 or more plays.
17.) Alabama transfer and Inwood native Corey Smith’s leg has helped lift WVU’s kick return coverage from one of the worst in the country last season to one of the best. WVU is currently ranked 14th nationally in the category.
18.) WVU has the most victories and highest winning percentage all-time in Big East play. South Florida is third in all-time winning percentage in conference games.
19.) Both the Mountaineers and South Florida have struggled holding on to the ball. WVU is (-2) in turnover margin. South Florida is (-1). Rutgers is currently tops in the turnover margin department at (+4).
20.) Since joining the Big East in 2005, South Florida is 15-15 in road games. The Mountaineers have won 11 straight at Mountaineer Field.
We look forward to seeing you at the stadium Thursday night.
Follow Tony Caridi on Twitter: @Tony Caridi