University of South Florida Bulls
Predictions, Previews, and Odds

#133 USF -2.5
vs. #134 East Carolina 50

Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 3:45pm EDT
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville
Written by Nick Raffoul
The South Florida Bulls will travel to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greensville, North Carolina on Saturday afternoon for an American Athletic Conference clash against the East Carolina Pirates Fresh off a pair of confidence-building wins, the Bulls were embarrassed last week by Navy, falling to 1-2 in the AAC East. On the other hand, the Pirates have opened the AAC season with three consecutive conference losses to erase an encouraging 3-1 start. East Carolina has been outscored by an average of 18.3 points per game against MAC opponents, but that could very well change this weekend. The Pirates opened the week as 1.5-point underdogs, but the spread has quickly moved to a pick’em. Can East Carolina earn its first conference victory of the season at home against South Florida on Saturday?

Freshman QB McCloud dealing with shoulder injury

Just when it looked like the Bulls were showing some signs of life, South Florida was walloped 35-3 against Navy last week. Navy dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, exerting their will in the run game and picking up five sacks on the evening. The Bulls failed to get anything going offensively, as they totaled just 264 yards and were held to only three points. They also had no answer for Navy’s rushing attack, despite stacking 11 players in the box for most of the game and the Midshipmen gashed the Bulls’ defense for 434 yards on a healthy 7.4 yards per carry en route to a blowout. Freshman quarterback Jordan McCloud, who took over the starting job from injured Blake Barnett, finished 11-for-23 for only 50 yards and an interception, while Jordan Cronkite added a team-high 76 rushing yards in a losing effort. For McCloud, it was arguably the worst game of his young career, but it is hard to fault the freshman, who played hurt while nursing a shoulder injury. According to offensive coordinator Kerwin Bell, McCloud could “barely grip the ball” in the team’s upset victory over BYU and he re-aggravated the injury in that contest. While the significance of McCloud’s shoulder injury was downplayed last week, his performance over the past two games combined (18-for-37 for 112 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions) certainly indicates that something could be wrong. He’s now thrown for 674 yards, eight touchdowns, and six interceptions so far this season while completing 53.6 percent of his passes. On defense, South Florida enters allowing 29.6 points and 393.7 yards of total offense per contest. However, as evidenced last week against Navy, they have struggled against the run, allowing 213 yards per game on the ground through seven contests (116th in FBS).
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Upcoming Scheduled Games

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