Start Time: 3:30 P.M. ET, Saturday, Oct. 10
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
Records: South Florida 1-3, Syracuse 3-1. South Florida leads the overall series 6-2.
Live Stats: here.
Betting Line: South Florida -3. Over/Under: 48.5.
South Florida Outlook: The South Florida Bulls head into this game badly needing a win. The problem for South Florida is that they are not very good on offense. The only major advanced statistic that the offense is in the top 60 in is finishing drives (4.95 points per trip inside the 40). Running the football, the Bulls are right at the national average success rate (43.4%), while they are getting stuffed on 18.2% of all rush attempts. Marlon Mack (73/392/1TD) leads the way with a 5.4 yards per carry average. He is flanked by Darius Tice (28/179/2TD) and Quinton Flowers (44/244/2TD). Overall, South Florida is running for 210.5 yards per game.
The Bulls are one of the worst passing teams in the nation with a 34.9% success rate, S&P+ of 85.0, and IsoPPP of 1.34, all ranking them #99 or worse nationally. Quinton Flowers (51-85/525/6TD) is the signal caller, but has not impressed with his arm. Only four players have 10+ targets on the season, led by D’Ernest Johnson (13/213/4TD). Only Johnson and tight ends Sean Price (6/102/0TD) and Elkanah Dillon (6/156/2TD) have more than 100 yards receiving on the season. Overall, the Bulls pass for 166.2 yards per game.
The Bulls are much better on defense, holding offenses to a 35.9% success rate, good for #35 nationally. The run defense is one of the better in the nation with the #21 ranked S&P+, the #14 ranked success rate (31.7%), and the #5 ranked stuff rate (19.3%). The only major weakness is the tendency to give up an explosive play out of nowhere. Offenses are more successful passing the ball versus South Florida with a 40.7% success rate. The defensive line is one of the most active in the nation with a 7.7% havoc rate, well above the national average.
Players to watch out for on the USF defense include: Auggie Sanchez (28 tkl, 2.5 tfl), Demetrius Hill (11 tkl, 4.5 tfl, 1 sack), and Deadrin Senat (23 tkl, 2.5 tfl).
Syracuse Outlook: The Orange head into this game with the nation’s top defensive field position (23.6 yard line). Syracuse is just above average versus the run, allowing a 37.3% success rate. The impressive part of their run defense is a stuff rate of 32.5%. The Orange are good versus the pass in allowing only 162.5 yards per game in the air. It is a surprise that more teams do not challenge the pass defense as they are successful on 46.6% of all pass attempts. Overall, Syracuse gives up 350.8 yards per game.
Players to look out for on the Syracuse defense include Zaire Franklin (23 tkl, 3 tfl, 1 sack), Antwan Cordy (20 tkl, 7 tfl, 2 sacks), and Corey Winfield (14 tkl, 2 int).
While Syracuse is not particularly amazing at running the football, they are one of the best in short yard situations. Their power success rate is #8 nationally at 85.7%. Overall, they are successful on 41.3% of all run plays. Jordan Fredericks (41/228/2TD) leads the way for a run game that has three 100+ yard rushers, with George Morris (26/151/0TD), and Eric Dungey (23/171/1TD) flanking Fredericks. Overall, the Orange run for 188.3 yards per game.
The Orange are at their best passing with Eric Dungey (21-36/428/5TD) at quarterback. He is expected to play versus South Florida, giving Syracuse an advantage in the passing game. The passing game is not very efficient with a 40.0% success rate on passing plays. Steve Ishmael (9/178/1TD), Ben Lewis (8/66/1TD), and Brisly Estime (6/179/2TD) are the top targets in the passing game with a combined 47.1% of all passes headed their way. The Orange, as a whole, pass for 162.5 yards per game.
Prediction: I keep looking at this line any wondering if I am missing something significant. Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey is expected to play, so that should not be an issue. South Florida did lose to the dumpster fire that is Maryland. I do not see the Bulls pulling out this win versus the Orange. Syracuse 34, South Florida 24.