South Florida Bulls (3-3, 1-1) vs Navy Midshipmen (4-1, 2-1)
Start Time: 3:30 pm EST
Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland
Line: Navy -14.5
FPI: Navy 0.6
Series: Series tied 1-1.
South Florida Bulls
The Bulls of South Florida University enter into Annapolis already at a disadvantage as the bookies have the visitors as 14.5 underdogs. It will certainly be a chip on the shoulder of the players and serve as motivation in their quest to take the all-time series lead against the Navy Midshipmen. After starting their season 0-2, South Florida has managed to hit their stride as they are 3-1 in their last 4 games.
Even in their 2nd loss of the season, they played tough and battled all the way until the final whistle against Georgia Tech and lost by a mere 4 points. With the ball bouncing a bit in their favor, the Bulls could have been 4-2 at the current stage of the season. South Florida is coming off a great win against BYU, who were ranked in the AP Top 25 after a thrilling win against #24 USC a couple of weeks ago.
USF QB Jordan McCloud didn’t have the most solid day in terms of passing the ball as he threw for just 72 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. He didn’t let the day go to waste, however, as he added a rushing TD and ended with a total of 23 rushing yards on 6 attempts.
The star of the Bull’s victory was Senior RB Jordan Cronkite who ran for a massive 158 yards with 2 touchdowns, one of which came at the 7:37 mark in the 4th Quarter as Cronkite dashed into the end-zone for a 3-yard score to put South Florida ahead for good.
The Bulls’ offense has been humming for the majority of the season. It is the inability of their defense to get stops that have hindered the team from getting more wins. South Florida scores 26.8 ppg but opponents score 28.7 ppg.
The Bulls throw for 181.8 per game and rushes for 157.7 yards per game but allows 207 passing yards per game and 176.2 rushing yards per game. As you can see, there is a clear trend here. For the number of points or yards South Florida gets, their defense allows more which is certainly a recipe for defeat.
The Tulsa Golden Hurricane opened the game last weekend with a field at the 7:29 mark of the 1st Quarter to take a 3-0 lead on the Midshipmen. Navy swatted away the minuscule deficit as you would do to a fly and went on to score 28 unanswered points, winning in dominant fashion 45-17.
QB Malcolm Perry continued to tear it up on the NCAA stage as he ran for 218 yards with 3 touchdowns and averaged 10.9 yards per carry. Passing wasn’t in Coach Ken’s game-plan it seemed as Perry only threw for 9 yards on just 4 attempts. Nelson Smith was 2nd behind Perry in terms of carries as he ran for 42 yards on 18 attempts with 1 TD. The 5″9 Junior from Baton Rouge, Louisiana was part of the early offensive barrage by Navy as he ran into the end-zone on a 6-yard scoring play to put the Mids up 21-3 in the 2nd Quarter.
Navy has now put together 2 solid wins in a row following their disappointing outing in Memphis and will look to make it 3 in a row against South Florida. Navy opens up as massive 14.5 favorites and they have the stats to prove it. In 5 games this season, Navy is averaging 37.8 ppg and 327.2 rushing yards per game.
The scoring offense as a whole as well as the rushing game specifically will be what drives Navy to break through the shaky South Florida defense. The Bulls relied heavily on the ground game against BYU and Navy looks to stifle any chance of a rushing attack as the Midshipmen allow only 86.0 yards per game.
With the seagulls squawking over the Chesapeake Bay nearby, Navy will certainly enjoy playing on home turf once again as they are undefeated at Navy Marine-Corps Memorial Stadium so far this season. South Florida, meanwhile, has only played 2 road games this season which resulted in a win and a loss.
The Bulls played UConn in their last road contest, winning handily. Navy is a far more superior team than the 1-5 Huskies and this will definitely prove to be South Florida’s toughest road game of the season.
While their win against BYU was certainly an eye-opener, South Florida spent much of its time playing from behind until they managed a final push to win by 4. BYU allows 121.3 rushing yards per game, which is 107th in the nation and which was something that complimented the Bulls running game-plan for that tilt.
Facing a team that gives barely any success to opponents who run against them, South Florida will have to rely on their passing game which ranks 110th in the Nation. On the other sideline, the Midshipmen rank 9th in the country in run defense and are in the Top 40 in pass defense.
Much like a checkmate situation in chess, Navy has South Florida cornered with no way out. Expect this game to get out of hand early for the Bulls as the Midshipmen pour it on all evening long.
Navy 41 Tulsa 14