South Florida Bulls vs. Cincinnati Bearcats
The Cincinnati Bearcats head south to take on the South Florida Bulls in a pivotal Big East match up Saturday. The Bearcats held off Louisville 25-16 in week seven action while the Bulls dropped a 16-10 decision at Connecticut. The Bearcats are -2.5 point favorites over the Bulls with an over/under point total of 51.
Cincinnati was supposed to dominate a one dimensional Louisville club but for 30 minutes it was the Cardinals defense that was doing most of the talking. The Bearcats trailed 16-7 at the half before going on an 18-0 second half run to pull out the victory. The high powered Cincinnati offense finished with just 330 yards and were only 4 of 14 on third down conversions. The Bearcats faced a solid defense in Louisville but some of their issues were self inflicted with four fumbles that were all recovered by Cincinnati but were still unnecessary. The Bearcats did have a productive day on the ground with nearly 180 yards and five yard per carry average with Isaiah Peed pacing the attack with 151 yards on 20 totes with a touchdown. The passing game was not the explosive stretch the field type affair that we’ve seen from the Bearcats and was much more of a short ball control attack. Zack Collaros was 18 of 26 for 152 yards with a score and a costly interception that ended up in his own end zone. The Cincinnati defense did what they could by limiting Louisville to 272 total yards and 4 of 16 on third down as the Cardinals offense accounted for just nine points.
A week after being embarrassed by Pittsburgh in which the offense and defense were both pushed around, South Florida was taken down by offensively challenged Connecticut. The Bulls finished with 339 yards but were a dismal 3 of 11 on third down conversions with four turnovers and nine penalties for 89 yards. The rushing attack totaled a respectable 175 yards and nearly five yard average with three players posting between 40 and 64 yards. BJ Daniels led the way with 64 yards on ten carries and a touchdown which isn’t a surprise with the big days we’ve seen from him in the past with his elusive running. The problem is what Daniels does with his right arm in the passing game. Against the Huskies he turned in another dismal performance completing 15 of 27 for 164 yards with no touchdowns but a pair of interceptions. South Florida’s best play was on special teams when Marcus Shaw returned a kickoff 79 yards. The defense gave up only 253 yards and recovered a pair of fumbles and allowed just nine points and watched helplessly as a Bulls fumble was returned for a score midway through the fourth quarter for the winning score.
Cincinnati is far more balanced that USF with an offense that is averaging nearly 42 points and a defense that allows less than 17. South Florida averages 35 points and gives up 21 but much of their damage has come against the lesser lights on their schedule. I really don’t care for BJ Daniels who is either good or bad but he makes the Bulls a success or failure. Another defeat and the Bulls are done in the Big East but I am giving them one last try
South Florida Bulls -2.5 Cincinnati Bearcats