USF defense highly ranked
TAMPA - The way the University of South Florida defense has shut down its first four opponents, including the manhandling of Florida State last week, it's not surprising the Bulls defense is among the nation's best. USF is No. 1 in third-down defense, holding its opponents to a 19.2 percent conversion rate, and is No. 2 in scoring defense, giving up just 6.8 point per game. In total defense, the Bulls come in at No. 11 (242.8 yards per game). Syracuse's top playmakers - QB Greg Paulus and WR Mike Williams - know what to expect when the teams meet Saturday. "It looked like an NFL team (against FSU). (Those) guys looked great out there," Williams said. "The D-ends rushed the field and the quarterback doesn't have time, the cornerbacks jam down the field. It's going to be a hard challenge for our offense."Paulus said of USF's defense, "They make a lot of plays and their speed and athleticism is tremendous." HESTER CLEARED: Senior WR Jessie Hester, who has been slowed by ankle and hamstring injuries all season, will be available against Syracuse. "He's good to go," Coach Jim Leavitt said. "Now I don't know what he'll be able to do, but we'll see." WHILE THEY'RE HOT: Fans who want to relive USF's 17-7 upset of Florida State - an outcome Leavitt called "a very historical win" - can order a DVD copy of ESPNU's broadcast of the game. For more details go to GoUSFBulls.com.