Rutgers v South Florida

South Florida gets off to another slow Big East start


We don’t believe in superstition around these here parts, but South Florida’s 2012 fate was perhaps sealed for the worst when we gave the Bulls a realistic chance at winning the Big East title.

Obviously, it’s a long season, but USF didn’t help itself Thursday night by losing to Rutgers 23-13. Dropping early-season conference games has become somewhat of a tradition for the Bulls. When I’ll learn that for good and stop having preseason faith in USF, I can’t say.

Anyway, the battle for the Big East’s second-best team belongs to Rutgers — at least for the time being. The Scarlet Knights forced four turnovers and kept USF from under 100 yards rushing. That put more pressure on Bulls quarterback B.J. Daniels to get the passing game going. While Daniels had 242 yards through the air, at least half came on two or three attempts where he simply chucked it downfield and relied on broken coverage.

But mostly he threw it up for grabs. For better or worse, the tip drill was B.J. Daniels, defined. Two of Daniels’ three interceptions were tips, as was a long completion that put the Bulls deep in the red zone.

Skip Holtz hasn’t turned the corner with USF yet. There are growing doubts if he ever will.

Not that Rutgers was much better. The Scarlet Knights had 11 penalties (that were accepted) for 85 yards. Rutgers can run the ball well even without Savon Huggins and plays solid defense. There are some big, talented receivers on the team and even quarterback Gary Nova looked better tonight than he had in the first two weeks of the season.

But the penalties. Rutgers can’t seem to put it all together somehow.

If Rutgers can clean up even a little bit, they may — may — challenge Louisville for the Big East crown, but as of today the Cardinals still look like the class of this league. It’s not all that close, either.

Dalvin Cook returns to practice for FSU

TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 12: Dalvin Cook #4 of the Florida State Seminoles runs the ball against the South Florida Bulls in the second half at Doak Campbell Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Tallahassee, Florida. Florida State defeated South Florida 34-14 as Cook rushed for 266 yards and three touchdowns. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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With each passing day, it appears Miami won’t be able to avoid one of the most talented and productive running backs in the country.

Thursday, Dalvin Cook returned to practice for the first time this week.  Cook suffered a hamstring injury in the first quarter of Florida State’s win over Wake Forest this past Saturday, and had spent the previous two days of practice riding a bicycle while the rest of his teammates prepped for the in-state and conference rivalry game against The U this Saturday.

The Palm Beach Post wrote that Cook showed “no signs” of the hamstring injury that had some worried about his availability in Week 6.

Head coach Jimbo Fisher, who said Wednesday he doesn’t “ever count Dalvin out” because of his healing ability, will meet with reporters later this evening and could address Cook’s status for the weekend then.  Or, he could play to keep the Hurricanes guessing, even as most assume the All-ACC back will be on the field.

Cook is far and away FSU’s leading rusher, with his 142.5 yards per game good for eight in the country and his six rushing touchdowns tied for 20th.

Gophers down eight starters for game vs. Boilermakers

EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 03: at Ryan Field on October 3, 2015 in Evanston, Illinois. Northwestern defeated Minnesota 27-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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It would be an understatement of significant proportions to say that the Minnesota football team is banged up.

How banged up?  On his radio show Thursday, head coach Jerry Kill, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported, revealed his team will be down a whopping eight starters for Saturday’s game against Purdue.

Kill’s revelation comes one day after he confirmed a total of 20 players donned non-contact jerseys in practice earlier in the day.

The coach didn’t specifically identify which starters would be sidelined, with the Pioneer Press writing “[t]he known injuries to starters include safety Damarius Travis (hamstring), cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee), tight end Lincoln Plsek (back) and tackle Ben Lauer (knee/hand).”

One injured starter who will play, Kill confirmed, is quarterback Mitch Leidner. While not detailing any specific injury, Kill said Wednesday that Leidner “hasn’t been healthy. He’s been beat up.”

Overall, though, the Gophers’ health, or lack thereof, is bordering on historic.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my 32 years in coaching,” Kill said yesterday. “The toughest thing for me right now is all of these kids that work so hard, and when they get hurt, it kills me. … We are running out of people.”

Coming off an 8-5 season last year, the Gophers are struggling. While they stand at 3-2 after five games, the three wins came by a total of nine points over the likes of Colorado State, Kent State and Ohio. Their second loss — the first was by six to TCU in the opener — was a 27-0 shutout at the hands of Northwestern in the Big Ten opener last weekend.