Start Time: 12:00 P.M. ET, Saturday, Sept. 19
Location: Byrd Stadium, College Park, Maryland
Records: South Florida 1-1, Maryland 1-1. Maryland leads the overall series 1-0.
Live Stats: here.
Betting Line: South Florida +6.5. Over/Under: 51.5
South Florida Outlook: Under head coach Willie Taggart, the Bulls have been a rushing team that likes to occasionally sprinkle in the pass.
South Florida still keeps those philosophies with a spread look and a much faster pace this season. Behind running back Marlon Mack (41/214/1TD), the Bulls are averaging 5.2 yards per carry as a team. Darius Tice (10/101/1TD) and quarterback Quinton Flowers (21/101/1TD) have also broken the 100 yard barrier so far this season. The passing game have been adequate so far with Flowers (24-40/266/4TD) doing just enough to keep defenses honest. Running backs D'Ernest Johnson (8/166/4TD) and Mack have combined for 15 catches on the season.
Before tiring in the second half, the South Florida defense was very good versus Florida State's running game, other than one play. The Bulls are giving up only 3.6 yards per carry and 145 yards per game to their opponents. Even more impressive, the Bulls are only giving up 5.2 yards per pass attempt and just over 160 yards in the air per contest. Nate Godwin (13 tkl, 0.5 tfl), Auggie Sanchez (10 tkl, 2 tfl), and Deadrin Senat (10 tkl, 1.5 tfl) that the leading tacklers and players to watch for a defense that has 22 tackles for loss, seven sacks, and two interceptions.
Maryland Outlook: The Terrapins are coming off of a disappointing second half that saw Bowling Green outscore them 42-14 in route to a 48-27 week two loss.
Maryland jumped up in competition for week two of the season and struggled offensively versus a MAC foe. Maryland was only able to accumulate 341 total yards and 27 points in the loss. Quarterback Perry Hills (11/119/0TD) was the bright spot running the ball, but the Terrapins boast running backs Wes Brown (22/127/1TD) and Brandon Ross (26/160/1TD) for a running game that averages 248.5 yards on the ground. The passing game has not yet caught up with Hills (27-51/306/4TD) leading a passing game that only averages 161.5 yards per game. Amba Etta-Tawo (7/70/0TD) is the only receiver with more than five catches so far this season.
Defense has been a bit of an issue for Maryland in giving up 34.5 points per game, 355.5 pasisng yards per game, and 484.0 total yards per game. Rush defense has been the one bright spot with linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. (21 tkl, 1 tfl) and defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson (11 tkl, 4 tfl, 3 sacks) leading the way for a unit that gives up only 3.3 yards per carry. It is a very telling stat for the the overall defense that three of the top four tacklers, Sean Davis (19 tkl, 1 tfl, 1 sack), AJ Hendy (14 tkl), and Anthony Nixon (12 tkl), are in the defensive backfield.
Prediction: This is a game that the Bulls need to win after playing a good first half but falling to Florida State in week two. MAC program Bowling Green dominated Maryland last week so the Bulls will not be overmatched like last week. South Florida should be able to hold their own versus the Terrapins in the trenches and as long as the offense shows up in some fashion, USF should be able to pull the upset.