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Thursday, September 27, 2012
USF faces huge test against Florida State

By Andrea Adelson

USF has lost two consecutive games, and does not exactly get a pick-me-up this weekend.

As coach Skip Holtz said earlier this week, his Bulls are "looking down the barrel of a shotgun" when it comes to preparing for No. 4 Florida State on Sunday. The Noles come into the game with a supremely talented team that is gaining steam, with playmakers emerging on offense and a defense that has been relentless at times.

USF, meanwhile, has questions just about everywhere. The offensive and defensive lines have underperformed, and there has been no consistency at running back. At least on paper, the Bulls appear to be overmatched.

But they appeared to be overmatched in 2009, too, on the road in Tallahassee. That is, until USF pulled the stunner.

"Looking back on it, I could say it is one of the biggest moments in my career thus far," quarterback B.J. Daniels said. "I’m still looking forward to many things this year, but that moment for me and especially for our team, that was pretty special. That was an opportunity for USF to make a name for themselves especially here in the state of Florida."

USF has been known to get up for its big in-state rivalry games, though Daniels said, "I definitely think our biggest motivation is winning a ball game this weekend, it would mean more to us to make sure we win in all facets -- offense, defense and special teams -- to make sure we don’t have a lot of missed assignments and penalties if we do those thing we’ll be in position to do anything we want no matter who we’re playing."

As for Holtz, this is the way he described the mood of his team this week.

"Determined is the answer. We’re 2-2 and we’re four games into the season and there’s a lot of people on the outside (saying) woe is me, the dam is broke … when it’s the same thing, the ball gets batted up, you intercept it, you win a close game on the road. But right now for this team it’s very determined, it’s upset, it’s a reality check to look in the mirror and watch yourself play in a game where you don’t play at the level your capable of. They’re embarrassed for the way we performed on Saturday and excited for the opportunity to go play a top-10 team."