It’s a non-conference matchup on the gridiron when the AAC tangles with the ACC up in the Bluegrass State. The South Florida Bulls are on the road as they make the trip to face the Louisville Cardinals Saturday afternoon. South Florida battled hard on the road but ended up falling 31-28 on the road to #18 Florida last Saturday night. Louisville wound up falling 35-31 at home by Florida State in their most recent game last Friday. In the all-time series between the programs, Louisville owns a 6-5 advantage and has won the last three meetings. That includes a 34-3 road victory in the most recent meeting on October 26, 2013.
South Florida Bulls Try to Pull Road UpsetSouth Florida went right down to the wire against #18 Florida on the road in the swamp but failed to come up with a victory. The Bulls dropped to 1-2 overall on the season and look to even their record with a road upset in this one. Against Florida, South Florida trailed 24-10 at the half before rallying to lead 28-24 in the fourth quarter. The Bulls turned the ball over to set up the go-ahead score with 5:05 to play and then a botched snap on a potential tying field goal doomed their chances at a win. South Florida owned a 402-329 advantage in total offense, held a 23-17 edge in first downs and dominated time of possession by a 36:19 to 23:41 margin yet still lost. They turned the ball over three times while forcing a pair of turnovers. Their giveaways led to 17 Florida points, helped by a pick-six, and sunk their chances.
On the season, the Bulls are 112th in the nation in passing offense with 169 yards per game while they are 45th in rushing offense with 199.3 yards per contest. South Florida is 80th in the FBS in scoring offense with 30.3 points per game while they are 107th in scoring defense by allowing 33.7 points per contest. Gerry Bohanon, the former Baylor QB, runs the offense for South Florida: he is 46 of 86 passing for 507 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions. He is second on the team with 21 carries for 139 yards plus a score. Brian Battie leads the team with 27 carries for 269 yards plus three scores while Jaren Mangham contributes 22 carries for 100 yards and three scores as the second back. Michel Dukes (15 carries, 69 yards, three TD) is a solid third back in the system. Xavier Weaver is the top receiving threat as he has 20 catches for 252 yards: no other player has more than four receptions on the year. Spencer Shrader has hit all 11 extra point attempts but is two of four on field goal attempts with a long of 49 this season.
Louisville Cardinals Hoping to Get Back on TrackLouisville had their chances but let them slip away as they fell to Florida State in their conference opener at home last Friday. The Cardinals fell to 1-2 overall on the season and are 0-1 in ACC play so they try to get back in the win column here. Against Florida State, Louisville led 21-14 at the half then 28-21 and 31-28 in the fourth quarter before giving up the go-ahead score midway through the final stanza. The Cardinals held a 495-455 advantage in total offense, picked up 25 first downs while allowing 21 and held their own in time of possession, losing that battle 30:48 to 29:12 in the contest. Louisville was hurt in the turnover battle, committing three turnovers while forcing a pair. Their last two drives ended with a turnover on downs and an interception, both in Florida State territory.
The Cardinals enter this contest averaging 213.7 yards per contest through the air (97th in the nation) and 205 yards per game (tied for 37th) on the ground this season. Louisville is a dismal 112th in the FBS by averaging 19.3 points per contest while the team is 77th in scoring defense by giving up 26.7 points per game. Malik Cunningham is 51 of 85 passing for 596 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. He leads the team on the ground with 47 carries for 282 yards plus three scores. Braden Smith hit his lone pass attempt for 45 yards. Tiyon Evans (32 carries, 164 yards, two TD) and Jawhar Jordan (24 carries, 112 yards) are the top two backs in Scott Satterfield’s system. Tyler Hudson leads the team with 15 catches for 209 yards on the year. Ahmari Huggins-Bruce (eight catches, 165 yards), Smith (eight receptions, 71 yards) and Marshon Ford (eight catches, 65 yards) are the only players with more than four receptions this season. James Turner has connected on all seven extra point attempts and three of four field goal attempts with a long of 36 yards this season.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
You have to give Jeff Scott credit as he’s made South Florida look relevant despite the relative lack of talent compared to some of the other major programs in the AAC or even the Sunshine State. The Bulls have been decent offensively and made life miserable for a ranked Florida squad on the road, one that beat Utah in the season opener. Louisville has had problems putting points on the board this season and we saw them struggle with turnovers in the loss to Florida State, much as we did when they fell to Syracuse. Now, the Cardinals are at home but until we see some better performances from Satterfield’s group, it’s hard to have faith in them. Louisville likely prevails but two touchdowns plus is a little steep for my blood. Take South Florida in this contest with the points if you’re playing the line.
Full-Game Total Pick
South Florida has seen the over hit in all three of their contests this season and they’ve exceeded the number in five of their last seven contests dating back to last year. The Bulls have seen totals of 71, 62 and 59 points in their first three games against numbers of 58.5, 61.5 and 58 points. Meanwhile, Louisville has stayed under the mark in two of their three contests so far in 2022. The Cardinals have seen totals of 38, 34 and 66 points in their three games against numbers of 55, 62 and 57 points at the books. It’s tough to see this one being an offensive bonanza, even with South Florida’s defensive issues. Lean toward the under in this contest.