The South Florida Bulls will host the BYU Cougars in non-conference action Saturday afternoon from Raymond James Stadium. The Cougars were off last week after falling 28-21 to Toledo in their previous action, and the Bulls tallied an easy 48-22 road win against UConn last weekend. There are no previous meetings between these two schools.
BYU Playing without #1 QB
The BYU Cougars have endured a tough schedule so far this season and their bye last week was a welcomed sight. The Cougars have already faced three ranked teams that occurred against Utah, USC, and Washington. BYU has two big wins. They defeated Tennessee in overtime in week two and they followed with a 30-24 home win against #24 USC in week three. BYU is coming off a 28-21 road loss to Toledo in a game that had the Cougars favored by 1.5 points. They are without their #1 QB Zach Wilson who is sidelined until early December. This opens the door for Jaren Hall who has completed 4 of 7 passes for 58 yards this season. Hall is a freshman.
BYU will need more production on the ground now that Wilson is out. Their leading rusher Ty’Son Williams is out for the season. Williams rushed for 264 yards in his four games. Emmanuel Esukpa, who has notched 141 rushing yards on the season, will be asked to step up.
The Cougars have three receivers with over 200 yards which includes Aleva Hifo. The senior WR has accumulated 198 receiving yards in his last two games, and he has 283 receiving yards on the year. The Cougars offense relied on their passing game and it will be interesting to see how they respond without their #1 QB.
The BYU defense has struggled this season, but they have already faced several top offensive units. Their pass defense stands at 56th in the FBS while their rush defense is down at 119th overall. The Cougars are scoring an average of 22.2 points, placing them 104th overall. They are allowing an average of 31.2 points, pegging them 101st overall.
USF Routs UConn in First Conference Victory
The South Florida Bulls will be looking to win consecutive games for the first time this season. They lost their AAC opener by a 48-21 score to SMU, followed by a dominating 48-22 road win against a poor UConn team last week in a game that had USF favored by 10.5 points. Jordan McCloud got the start at QB in place of the injured Blake Barnett and he was inconsistent, going 11 for 21 with 157 passing yards and three touchdowns against two interceptions. The freshman QB has posted mixed results, racking up 552 passing yards with a 7:4 TD to INT ratio, compared to a 4:2 TD to INT ratio from Barnett who will not suit up again in this game.
The Bulls received outstanding production from their rushing offense against UConn after struggling in a big way in their first four games. They still rank 86th in the FBS in rushing yards per game. Jordan Cronkrite had a breakout game last week, rushing for 148 yards against UConn. The senior RB is averaging 4.3 yards per attempt for a total of 224 rushing yards.
USF’s receiving leader is tight end Mitchell Wilcox. The senior recorded 77 yards in the loss to SMU, and he has 178 receiving yards on the season. The Bulls offense broke out against UConn, however it was not a very big test. They are up against another subpar defense this week.
The USF defense is a weakness. They surrendered 48 points to SMU, although they were able to hold an awful UConn offense to 22 points and 293 total yards. They are effective against the pass but have issues against the run. USF is averaging 26.8 points, ranking them 85th overall. They are allowing an average of 29.8 points, pegging them 93rd in the country.
The BYU Cougars are:
- 2-5 ATS in their last 7 October games.
The USF Bulls are:
- 13-5 ATS in their last 18 games after recording more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
- 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games following a straight-up win of more than 20 points.