Tulane Green Wave (5-1, 2-0 American) vs South Florida Bulls (1-5, 0-2 American)
Time and Date: 4:00 PM ET, October 15
Broadcast Network: ESPNU
Location: Raymond James Stadium - Tampa, FL
ESPN FPI: Tulane, 82.1%
Line: Tulane -12*
Point Total: 54.5*
All-Time Series: Tulane leads the all-time series against USF, 2-1.
Last Meeting: Tulane 45, USF 14 - November 20, 2021
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Jeff Scott was proud of how his group performed in a close loss to Cincinnati on the road. Despite leading for a majority of the game, the Bulls gave up a late touchdown to lose 28-24 to the Bearcats. Unfortunately, moral victories are not good enough when it has been more than a year without an FBS win.
USF were much improved on offense and put up a solid defensive performance against the favorite to win the AAC in Cincinnati. However, that may not be an indication of what you are going to see this weekend against Tulane. USF has been wildly inconsistent through six games. Are we going to see the team that nearly beat Cincinnati and Florida on the road? Or, are we going to see the team that was blown out at home against BYU and ECU?
QB Gerry Bohanon is going to need to be equally effective through the ground and the air if he wants to win this week. The ability is there for the Bulls’ dual-threat QB who had a beautiful throw to the corner of the end zone for one of his two passing touchdowns. However, Bohanon ended up only throwing for 139 yards with 52.2% accuracy on the day. Fortunately, he almost always makes up for his lackluster passing numbers with his feet as he tacked on 117 rushing yards. If USF is going to win, Jeff Scott will need to be aggressive and let his QB make plays through the air.
Unfortunately, Tulane may leave Scott and Bohanon without a win on the scoreboard, let alone a moral victory. While they are still unranked, the Green Wave received votes in the AP Poll for the first time this week after beating ECU 24-9. Head Coach Willie Fritz has his team rolling on both sides of the ball.
Starting QB Michael Pratt is back healthy after being banged up a couple of games ago against Houston. While Tulane has serviceable backups, they can’t replicate the experience Pratt has as a three-year starter. The QB threw for 322 yards and scored three times against ECU this past weekend. This season has been the best yet for the signal caller, as he has found his rhythm under Fritz. This season, Pratt is making better decisions with the ball and is moving to his second and third reads with ease.
While many expected the offense to be good, Tulane’s defense may be the surprise of the season. The Green Wave’s Achilles heel last season was giving up too many points. In over half their games, the defense gave up over 30 points. Now, the group is ranked seventh in the FBS for scoring defense. The biggest change is in the secondary, where the corners and safeties are much improved. Tulane have six interceptions so far and are difficult to throw against. Safety Macon Clark was the AAC Defensive Player of the Week for his team-high nine tackle performance with two TFLs and one INT against ECU.
Jeff Scott has one FBS victory in his three season tenure at USF. Meanwhile, Willie Fritz may have his best Tulane squad since he arrived in Uptown. While the Bulls are much improved and are playing at home, it is hard to pick against a suffocating Green Wave defense. USF finds a way to stick around at home, but will be eventually overpowered by Tulane.
Final Score - Tulane 28, South Florida 14.