It’s an AAC battle on the gridiron for geographical superiority of the Sunshine State. The South Florida Bulls are on the road as they travel to face the UCF Knights Friday afternoon in the regular-season finale for both teams. South Florida was clobbered 45-14 on the road by Tulane as a 5.5-point underdog Saturday in their most recent contest. UCF flattened UConn 49-17 as a 29.5-point home favorite Saturday in their last game. In the all-time series between the schools, the teams have split 12 previous meetings with UCF taking each of the last four. That includes a 58-46 road win in the most recent matchup on November 27, 2020.
South Florida Bulls Try to Salvage Season FinaleSouth Florida comes in off a pasting on the road by a Tulane team that was winless in conference play heading into the contest. The Bulls are just 2-9 on the year, 1-6 in the AAC, and one has to wonder if Jeff Scott has the answers to the questions surrounding the program. Against Tulane, South Florida took an early 7-0 after scoring on their opening drive but things went sour from there. The Bulls gave up 45 unanswered points, 28 before the first quarter was over, to end up on the wrong side of a blowout. South Florida was outgained 501-287 in total offense, gave up 19 first downs while recording 18 and turned the ball over twice while recording one takeaway. Those numbers far overshadowed the Bulls’ 31:47 to 28:13 edge in time of possession.
On the season, the Bulls are 106th in the nation in passing offense with 189.7 yards per game while they are 65th in rushing offense with 164.4 yards per contest. South Florida is 99th in the FBS in scoring offense with 24.1 points per game while they are 120th in scoring defense by allowing 36.3 points per contest. Timmy McClain is 127 of 233 passing for 1,666 yards with five touchdowns and seven interceptions while ranking fourth on the team with 255 yards plus three scores on the ground. Cade Fortin (25 of 48, 183 yards, two INT, 37 rushing yards, TD) and Katravis Marsh (20 of 41, 231 yards, TD, three INT) have seen action under center as well. Jaren Mangham (139 carries, 578 yards, 15 TD), Kelley Joiner (60 carries, 377 yards, TD) and Brian Battle (55 carries, 310 yards, TD) are 1-2-3 in the run game this season. Darrian Felix (34 carries, 107 yards) has seen his share of work on the ground. Xavier Weaver leads the team with 37 receptions for 640 yards plus two scores while Jimmy Horn Jr. (27 receptions, 353 yards, TD) and Omarion Dollison (24 catches, 202 yards) the only other player with even 200 receiving yards. Spencer Shrader has hit all 34 extra point attempts and nine of 10 field-goal tries with a long of 52 this season.
UCF Knights Look to Remain Unbeaten at HomeUCF won for the fourth time in five games as they took care of business against UConn last week in their previous game. The Knights improved to 7-4 on the season and 4-3 in the AAC though they are a perfect 6-0 at home this year. Against UConn, UCF jumped to a 21-0 lead after the opening quarter and never looked back as they took care of business against the sputtering Huskies. The Knights were up 28-0 before UConn got on the board and didn’t let the Huskies closer than 21 the rest of the way. UCF rolled up a 537-311 edge in total offense, held a 23-17 advantage in first downs and forced three turnovers while committing one. Those numbers more than made up for a 32:30 to 27:30 disadvantage in time of possession in the contest.
The Knights are 76th in the FBS in passing offense as they average 220 yards per game through the air. UCF is 41st in the nation in rushing offense with 190.1 yards per contest. The Knights are 27th of the 130 teams in the FBS to take the field this season in scoring offense as they put up 33.5 points per game. UCF is 68th in scoring defense as they give up 28.3 points a contest. Dillon Gabriel is 70 of 102 passing for 814 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions. He adds 125 yards plus two scores on the ground. Mikey Keene is 145 of 224 for 1,471 yards with 15 touchdowns and six scores on the year. Johnny Richardson leads the ground game with 93 carries for 599 yards and three scores. Isaiah Bowser (124 carries, 548 yards, seven TD) and Mark-Antony Richards (34 carries, 236 yards, five TD) are next in line in the running back pecking order. Ryan O’Keefe leads the team with 72 receptions for 682 yards and six scores on the season. Brandon Johnson (37 grabs, 558 yards, 10 TD) and Jaylon Robinson (16 receptions, 306 yards, two TD) are solid targets in the aerial assault. Daniel Obarski is 49 of 50 on extra points and four of seven on field goal attempts with a long of 40 this season.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
South Florida has struggled all season long and getting stomped by Tulane lowers what was a minuscule level of confidence leading into that contest. The Bulls now have to face a team that has owned them in recent years. UCF is a perfect 6-0 at home on the year and they have had success even with a backup quarterback running the offense. Sure, the Knights aren’t as explosive as in recent years but they still are winning games. UCF has a three-headed ground game and some capable receiving options to do damage as well. Look for the Knights to come up with the victory in this contest as they finish the regular season on a positive note.
Full-Game Total Pick
South Florida comes into this contest having seen the over hit in six of their 11 games on the year. The Bulls had recorded two straight overs before falling short in the loss to Tulane, though even that game missed by just half a point. UCF has seen the over hit in eight of their 11 games on the season. The Knights have two straight overs and have gone past the total in three of their last four games as they piled up the points on a hapless UConn team. South Florida has seen the over go 6-0-1 in their last seven after an ATS loss and 4-0-1 in their last five after scoring less than 20 points in their last game. UCF has seen the over go 7-1 in their last eight after giving up less than 20 points in their last game. Look for this one to go over the mark.