No. 22 Navy Midshipmen (5-1 SU, 5-1 ATS) vs. South Florida Bulls (6-2 SU, 5-3 ATS)
College Football Week 9
Date/Time: Friday, October 28th, 7:00PM (EST)
Where: Raymond James Stadium Tampa, F.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NAVY +7.5/USF -7.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
This Friday night the no. 22 Navy Midshipmen will travel to Raymond James Stadium for a meeting with the South Florida Bulls on ESPN2. The Midshipmen are coming off back to back impressive wins over no. 6 Houston followed by an equally impressive 42-28 victory last week against Memphis. Currently, Navy stands alone atop the American West while South Florida is tied for the top spot in the American East standings. Therefore, the winner of this Friday night’s contest should come close to cementing their opportunity towards playing for the American Athletic Conference Championship.
The Bulls will be playing in their 2nd straight Friday night lights contest this week. Last week, South Florida suffered their first conference loss of the season with a 46-30 defeat at Temple. The Bulls defense was trampled by Temple’s offense to more than 300 yards on the ground and 528 yards overall. It marked the 2nd game that South Florida had given up more than 300 yards on the ground this year and the 2nd loss as a result. Back in late September, South Florida gave up 478 rushing yards in a blowout loss to Florida State in a game where Dalvin Cook racked up 267 yards alone. Therefore, South Florida has experienced some issues with stopping the run this year which will be the pinnacle of their concerns against Navy this Friday.
The Midshipmen will present their traditional triple option style offense this week that has produced nearly 300 yards per game on the ground and ranks 4th in the FBS. Currently Navy has 7 different players that have carried the ball at least 10 times led by quarterback Will Worth who leads the team with 489 yards and 9 touchdowns on the ground. Worth has completed just 62 passes on the entire season which has produced a 59% completion rate with 5 scores and 2 picks. When the Midshipmen do make the rare attempt to throw the ball down the field it is normally in the direction of WR Jamir Tillman. Tillman is the only receiver on the team that has more than 3 catches with 19 total grabs equaling 286 yards. From what I have seen out of South Florida this season, they may have to bring a lot of help towards the line of scrimmage to stop the run. If that happens, rest assured there will be a few attempts down the field towards Tillman’s direction.
Despite Navy’s ability to run the football and a South Florida team that has struggled to defend the run, the Bulls are still more than a touchdown favorite at home this Friday. Of course the home advantage helps but the Bulls have a very good offense that revolves around quarterback Quinton Flowers. Flowers has thrown for 1,722 yards with 15 scores and 5 picks this season while running for another 745 with 8 scores. In many ways, Flowers is the South Florida offense and he has been nearly unstoppable for opposing defense in many ways similar to what Lamar Jackson has done for Louisville. While I would not dare to say Flowers is on that level, he has meant just as much to his team.
On the season, Flowers has helped lead a breakout campaign that has averaged 42.4 points per game which ranks 11th in the FBS. There have been other key contributors such as running back Marlon Mack who has 659 yards with 10 scores and WR Rodney Adams that has 502 yards with 4 score. However, this offense is still driven by the excellent play of their quarterback and they are going to be an extremely tough matchup for a Navy team that is not near as athletic on defense. Despite Navy’s 5-1 record, they are still vulnerable on defense and I think we will see just how vulnerable this Friday.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think Navy would probably be an easy pick in this situation given their toughness this year along with a strong 5-1 mark ATS. However, I think this will be South Florida’s game to shine. Navy has some limitations on the perimeter which I think will keep their defense on their heels. If South Florida just avoids a complete embarrassment on defense, I think they will score enough to cover. Take USF -7.5
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