TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -The similarities between No. 13 Kansas and No. 19 South Florida don't end with the Jayhawks and Bulls both having mobile quarterbacks who run, throw and - most of all - win.
The teams, relative newcomers to the college football spotlight, burst onto the scene a year ago when each climbed as high as No. 2 before falling out of contention for a spot in the BCS Championship Game.
Both began this season ranked in the Top 25 - a first for South Florida - and view their nationally televised matchup Friday night as a chance to showcase what their programs are all about.
``This is a statement game for both of us,'' USF All-American defensive end George Selvie said.
``It's a Friday night game. Everybody in the nation is going to be watching us, two ranked teams going head-to-head. Both of us have got something to prove. The nation doesn't know if we're for real or not.''
The Jayhawks agree.
ig game for us to go play a ranked team like ourselves,'' Kansas cornerback Chris Harris said. ``Everyone says we always play cupcakes, so this is about respect for us, playing a team that is ranked. We are going to try and prove that we should be ranked higher.''
The Jayhawks (2-0) and Bulls (2-0) have come a long way from the first meeting between the teams two years ago. Kansas won 13-7 in Lawrence after neither managed to score in the opening half.
Kansas coach Mark Mangino recalled walking away that night feeling USF, whose program was launched from scratch a little over a decade ago, had a bright future under Jim Leavitt, who worked with Mangino for five years while they were assistants at Kansas State.
``I realized that they had some really talented players,'' Mangino said.
``We thought that the quarterback had the potential to be pretty good, but he was young when he was here. Their defense was as good as any that we had played that year in the Big 12.''
That quarterback is Matt Grothe, who has developed into one of the country's top dual threats. He was USF's leading rusher last season and equally capable of shredding defense throwing the ball.
He reminds some Kansas players of the Jayhawks' Todd Reesing, who has thrown for 668 yards and six touchdowns in two games.
t something that we haven't seen before, but it is something that will prepare us better for our conference games,'' Kansas safety Darrell Stuckey said.
Grothe conceded there are similarities, adding that both defenses should know what to expect Friday night.
``They see the same type of quarterback all year (in practice),'' said the junior, who threw for 346 yards and three TDs in South Florida's 31-24 overtime win at UCF last week.
``They do some similar things that we do. Both sides of the ball,'' Leavitt added. ``They are very good at what they're doing. They've got a tremendous quarterback. They're a good football team all the way through.''
Reesing has a trio of receivers who rank among the nation's leaders, beginning with Kerry Meier, who has 18 receptions in two games. Dezmon Briscoe has 16 catches and four touchdowns, while Daymond Patterson has 11 catches.
One of the keys for South Florida figures to be getting pressure on Reesing, who has thrown one pick in 90 pass attempts this season.
``I don't know if it's so much with him or anybody, you always want to try to get some pressure somewhere at certain times,'' Leavitt said.
``He's seen a lot of defenses, this is not the first time someone has talked about getting pressure to him. I mean he's played a lot of people, there's a lot of good coaches out there. Just cause someone says you're trying to do that doesn't mean you can.''
Selvie is one of the nation's best pass rushers, but Mangino said the Jayhawks cannot become preoccupied with him.
``When you focus on one aspect of a team's defense, if they have enough good players, they will hurt you somewhere else,'' Mangino said.
``You have to keep it in perspective. You want to do some things to keep Selvie from having a major impact on your offense, however there are so many other quality football players out there that you can't just focus on one guy.''
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