EDITORIAL BY GRAYDON FOX
On Saturday, September 15th, the (2-0) South Florida Bulls will be on the road to take on the (2-0) Illinois Fighting Illini.
The Crowd projects a final score of South Florida 33.6 – Illinois 23.7 with an over/under of 57.3.
Lou Holtz and Mark May:
Lou is predicting a final score of South Florida 38 – Illinois 14.
Mark is predicting a final score of South Florida 45 – Illinois 27.
2018-19 Statistics (130 total teams):
Passing offense: South Florida 284.5 PPG > Illinois 164.0 YPG
Rushing offense: Illinois 258.5 YPG > South Florida 186.0 YPG
Scoring offense: South Florida 41.5 PPG > Illinois 32.5 PPG
Scoring defense: Illinois 19.0 PPG > South Florida 26.0 PPG
Passing defense: South Florida 112.5 YPG > Illinois 282.5 YPG
Rushing defense: Illinois 124.5 YPG > South Florida 305.5 YPG
Turnover Margin Per Game: South Florida +2.0 > Illinois +1.0
South Florida is (2-0) with wins over Elon and Georgia Tech. The Bulls rank 33rd in points per game (41.5) and 80th in points allowed (26.0). Quarterback Blake Barnett has completed 69% of his passes for 507 yards with five touchdowns to one interception. Barnett is also the team’s leading rusher which speaks to the team’s difficulty in that regard. South Florida’s secondary has been strong but their front seven has been gashed for over 300 rushing yards per game. South Florida’s turnover margin (+2.0) is tied for 5th best in the country thanks to their three takeaways per game.
Illinois is (2-0) with wins over Kent State and Northern Illinois. The Fighting Illini rank 65th in points per game (32.5) and 48th in points allowed (19.0). Virginia Tech transfer Quarterback A.J. Bush has completed 60% of his passes for 223 yards but has yet to throw a touchdown. Bush suffered a hamstring injury in last week’s win over Western Illinois and likely won’t be 100% if he plays against USF. The injury to Bush could be a critical blow for the Illini because he is also the team’s leading rusher. Running back Reggie Corbin is averaging 5.7 yards per carry and has three touchdowns. The Illini defense has been stout against the run but they’ve been vulnerable through the air.
A hindered A.J. Bush will really hurt the chances Illinois has to pull off the upset because South Florida has allowed huge rushing totals this season. Blake Barnett’s dual threat ability will create problems for Illinois especially in the secondary where they’ve allowed far t0o many big plays. Ultimately, South Florida will win by double digits.
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