South Florida Bulls (5-1, 2-2 ATS) at No. 20 Pittsburgh Panthers (6-1, 4-2 ATS)
Heinz Field Pittsburgh, P.A. Saturday October 24th, 12:00PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: South Florida +6.5/Pittsburgh -6.5
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The no. 20 Pittsburgh Panthers withstood a tough challenge from Rutgers last week, but pulled out the 24-17 victory to remain unbeaten in Big East play. The Panthers are on the breakout path and they have hopes of a conference championship. For Pittsburgh to stay on that path, they will have to reload and get ready for another worthy opponent this Saturday in the South Florida Bulls.
The Bulls were undefeated before getting beat by no. 5 Cincinnati last week 34-17. The Bulls may be out of the Big East Title picture, but rest assured they will make a huge influence on who does win. The Bulls house a pretty strong defense that should give Pittsburgh a difficult time moving the ball and this battle has all the makings to be another close Big East game as so many have been this season.
The Bulls defense ranks 18th overall in the country holding teams to just 283 yards per game. The South Florida unit held a talented Florida State offense to only 7 points earlier this year and outside of about two big plays they made it very difficult for the dangerous Cincinnati offense last week. Even more impressive South Florida is only allowing 13.6 points per game on the season and the defensive guys will look to shut down a Pittsburgh offense that has not been very dominate this season.
If this will be your first time watching Pittsburgh, keep your eyes on freshman tailback Dion Lewis. Lewis is a big star in the making and ranks 2nd individually in the country with 915 rushing yards on the season. Lewis is not a very big running back at 5’8 190 pounds. However, Lewis is extremely quick and can make cutbacks as fast as any tailback in the country. If the South Florida defense gets lazy on any play, Lewis will make them pay.
Panthers QB Bill Stull is a solid player behind center to lead the passing game. Stull is completing 67% on the year and has thrown for 1,408 yards. When the passing game is able to make a few plays in a row is normally when Lewis sneaks in and busts a big play. However, that is not to take away from Stull as he has played very well throwing 14 touchdowns and only 3 picks on the season. WR Jonathan Baldwin is also a big playmakers on the outside giving the Panthers a big trio effect. Baldwin leads the team with 28 catches for 549 yards. The Bulls have a very talented secondary, but if Stull and Baldwin can hook up a few times it will allow the Panthers to march the ball down the field with their balanced offense.
BET THE SOUTH FORIDA BULLS AT +26.5
USING A 20 POINT TEASER AT 5DIMES
South Florida is led by QB B.J. Daniels on offense. Daniels may have the reputation of a running quarterback considering he leads the team in rushing with 365 yards in just 4 starts in his freshman season. However, last week Daniels threw some really solid passes for his 2nd straight game of 208 passing yards. The numbers would have been a lot higher if not for a few drops from the receivers that kept some big plays from involving. However, Daniels proved that his dual threat ability can not be taken lightly and his arm is becoming very dangerous.
Daniels favorite target is wide receiver Carlton Mitchell. The junior wide out has caught 23 passes for 404 yards this season with 3 scores. However much like the offense, Mitchell has been inconsistent throughout the season. The Bulls wide out was held to just 2 catches last week after putting up 139 yards against Syracuse. If this game produces some quick scores especially from Pittsburgh, expect Mitchell to get some throws deep down the field for an opportunity to make a big play.
Jay’s Pick – I’ll gladly take 6.5 points in a game where the underdog has a legit shot to win this game straight up. Look for Daniels to pick apart the Panthers secondary and to potentially get a straight up win here.