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Meineke Car Care Bowl keys for USF

12/31/2010

Here are three keys for South Florida when the Bulls take on Clemson in Friday's Meineke Car Care Bowl:

Control Da'Quan Bowers: Maybe Bowers will be weighed down from carrying all those trophies he won this season. Not much else has worked. Bowers leads the nation with 15.5 sacks and should command a tremendous amount of attention from the South Florida offensive linemen, tight ends and backs. The Bulls have had enough trouble passing the ball under ideal circumstances and will have almost no chance of success if Bowers is in the face of B.J. Daniels and Bobby Eveld all afternoon. If they can keep him contained, they could find some big plays against the much more vulnerable Clemson secondary.

Stop the Clemson running game: The Tigers' Jamie Harper is a load at 230 pounds, and he ran for more than 140 yards against both Florida State and Wake Forest late in the year with Andre Ellington injured. But the Clemson offense really struggled when the running game wasn't working. The Bulls did a great job slowing down UConn All-American back Jordan Todman in the regular-season finale. They need that same kind of effort in this game to force Kyle Parker and/or Tajh Boyd to beat them.

Create unorthodox opportunities: Odds are that neither offense is going to march up and down the field in this one. The Bulls could use something big out of the return game, where Terrence Mitchell and Lindsey Lamar have been tremendous this season. Or perhaps the defense can come up with a turnover to step up a score. Somehow, some way South Florida needs to find other ways to put points on the board.