Game Time: 3:45 EST
Records: USF 3-4 (1-2 AAC), ECU 3-4 (0-3 AAC)
Line: USF -2.5; O/U 51.5
Venue: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC
The Bulls travel up to Greenville to face the Pirates this Saturday with both teams coming off of defeats. South Florida was absolutely humiliated last Saturday by Navy while the Pirates let the game get away from them in the first half before making it a game late in the second half against UCF.
USF was playing solid football winning 3 of their last 4 before being the game last weekend. There are concerns about the health of their young quarterback Jordan McCloud. As for the Pirates, they seemed to finally not let a blowout define them and made an effort to get back into the game last weekend instead of rolling over.
Is this the week where the Pirates get their first conference win or will the Bulls use last week’s embarrassment to fuel them this week?
Why the Pirates Will Win
The Pirates will have the fan base on their side as its homecoming weekend for them and they will be rocking an all-purple look this Saturday in honor of homecoming. The Pirates will look towards QB Holton Ahlers to play well with his arm and legs like last week against the Knights throwing for over 300 yards.
The team will need to get off to a better start on both sides of the ball as the Pirates have seemed to come out flat in the first half, leading to their coming from behind mentality in the second half. Kendall Futrell and Xavier Smith will lead the front 7 to stop the rushing attack of the Bulls.
Lastly, the Pirates finally showed some fight last weekend that was not seen all year, therefore ECU needs to carry this momentum into this weekend’s contest to be successful.
Why USF Will Win
The Bulls’ game plan will be very dependent on the health of McCloud who is a dual-threat quarterback. He did re-aggravate his shoulder several weeks ago and did not look like the guy Coach Charlie Strong is accustomed to seeing.
Last week, the Naval Academy beat them up physically so this week they need to be able to meet the challenge with their physicality. Look for RB Jordan Cronkrite to get a heavy load this week for the Bulls to be successful.
This run-heavy system will test the Pirates to see if they want to match-up with the Bulls. Defensively, they will not be seeing the triple option that gashed them so look for the Bulls to make Ahlers beat them with his arm.
Players to Watch
QB: Holton Ahlers
WR: CJ Johnson
DE: Kendall Futrell
LB: Xavier Smith
RB: Jordan Cronkrite
TE: Mitchell Wilcox
LB: Patrick Macon
DE: Greg Reaves
This will be a fourth quarter game probably coming down to the finally possession. The Bulls will be able to run the ball decently but the Pirates will make McCloud make a couple mistakes with his arm.
Ahlers will play well and make a key throw late to seal it for the Pirates as they will get their first conference win this season.
Pirates 27, Bulls 24