Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#403 USF 53.5 vs.
#404 Navy -14.5
Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 3:30pm EDT
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis
Written by Benjamin Hayes

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#403 University of South Florida
#404 United States Naval Academy
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This article covers a past game!

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Navy takes on USF in AAC action from Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis at 3:30pmET on Saturday. USF is 1-1 in the AAC but they have won two straight including an upset win over BYU last Friday, 27-23 a home. The Mids (1-1 AAC) travelled to Oklahoma last week and crushed Tulsa, 45-17.

These teams have not met since 2016 when the Bulls won 52-45 at home.

Run the ball

USF was down. 16-7 at the half against BYU, before Jordan Cronkrite took over, scoring two second half touchdowns. He wound up running for 158 yards to lead the Bulls to a four-point win. After the Cougars took a 23-14 lead, the Bulls' defense became suffocating. BYU quarterback Jaren Hall was held to 148 yards passing but did have 83 yards rushing.

USF quarterback Jordan McCloud completed just 7 of 14 for 72 yards with a TD and a pick, but he ran for a score. The Bulls' running game was strong enough to lead them to 243 yards rushing to overcome two turnovers and just 22:30 of time of possession.

Anytime you play Navy, you have to be able to stop the run. They are allowing 176.2 yards per game on the ground and 206.7 yards in the air. On offense, the Bulls are averaging 158.2 yards per game on the ground but just 181.8 in the air.

On the injury front, McCloud is questionable due to a shoulder injury, but is expected to play. He has 624 yards with eight TDs and five picks this season with 167 rushing yards. Cronkrite leads with 383 rushing yards and two TDs (4.8ypc).

No letdown

So much for Navy letting down last week against Tulsa. It did make sense on paper. The Mids were coming off a very dramatic win over Air Force at home that saw most of the players and fleet storm the field in celebration. But I underestimated the heart of a Navy athlete, who has more to do than just play football and go to school.

Quarterback Malcolm Perry threw just four passes and completed two for nine yards. But they didn't need to pass the ball because he rushed for 218 yards and three TDs. This one was over at the half as the Mids led 28-3 and defensively, held the Golden Hurricane to just 323 total yards, including 69 on the ground.

Perry is actually throwing the ball this season, completing 64.9% of his passes for 489 yards with three TDs and no picks. But this will always be a triple-option offense as long as head coach Ken Niumatalolo is still at the helm. They will throw it more because they've added some run-and-shoot variables to the offense. Perry leads with 604 yards rushing (5.9ypc) with 12 TDs, while FB Nelson Smith adds 291 yards and six TDs. The most dangerous player other than Perry is slotback C.J. Williams, who has 157 yards rushing (5.4ypc) with two TDs, 171 yards receiving on five catches and a completion for 26 yards.

On defense, Navy allows just 86.8 yards per game on the ground and 200.2 passing yards per game. On offense, they are averaging 327.4 rushing yards and 107 passing yards.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

Navy should handle this game with ease. Charlie Strong's team appears to be getting better but this is the same team that lost to SMU by 27 at home and to a horrible Georgia Tech team on the road. They just aren't very explosive and now they face a team that is starting to fire on all cylinders on offense. Navy's defense has also improved due to some coaching changes so if they are going to make waves in the AAC, they are going to need this one in a big way. No letdown this time.

Prediction: Navy -14

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:

Rating:

At the moment, I'm done with going under with this Navy squad. They've now gong over in three straight games and their defense has allowed an average of 25.6 points over the last three games. South Florida has gone over in three straight and their last game against BYU was a push. I don't see them stopping the running game but they will put up at least 20 points on the road. Navy is also 17-8 Over their last 25  home games.

Prediction: Over 51.5

Half-Time Side Pick

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Rating:

This Navy team has driven me crazy this season, but Perry is good right now, you have to go with them against subpar competition. They should easily have a two-touchdown lead at the half against a team that won't be prepared for the option.

Prediction: Navy -7.5 first half (-110)

Half-Time Total Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

I took the overall for the entire game, but I'm going under here. Navy is going to grind the clock down and barring turnovers, I don't see USF putting up more than 7 points at the half.

Prediction: Under 25.5 first half (-110)
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Written By Benjamin Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!