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Cincinnati vs USF Football Preview

Cincinnati looks to improve to 9-1 when they visit Tampa to face USF on Saturday in a place where they have lost 3 games in a row.

Connecticut v Cincinnati

On Saturday November 16th, the Cincinnati Bearcats travel to Tampa, Florida to face the South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium.

HOW TO WATCH

For the third straight week, you can watch Cincinnati on CBS Sports Network at 7pm.

GAMBLING

For those interested in such activities, Cincinnati is -14 and the over/under on total points is 47.

ABOUT USF

Bulls are 4-5 in 2019. They finished 2018 7-6, ending the season with 6 straight losses. As the 2019 season got underway, their losing streak vs FBS teams reached 9 losses until a win against UConn (does that really count as a win against an FBS team though??).

Their four wins are against South Carolina State (FCS), UConn, BYU, and ECU. Before ECU’s recent offensive tear, the Bulls won in Greenville 45-20.

Their losses have all been bad. They lost 49-0 at home to Wisconsin in the opener. They lost the following week to a bad Georgia Tech team 14-10. SMU beat them 48-21, and it was only that close because USF scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. They lost at Navy 35-3 and last Thursday lost to Temple 17-7, producing just 286 yards of offense.

Charlie Strong is 21-13 in 2+ seasons as USF head coach, but 11-11 the last two years and seems to have completely lost the support of the fanbase. The former Louisville and Texas head coach is very much on the hot seat. Some USF fans have referred to him as their Tommy Tuberville. That’s probably the most insulting thing you could say to someone.

Clayton Trutor has more on USF


SERIES HISTORY

Cincinnati won in Tampa in 2007, 2009, and 2011. Those were fun wins! Since, they have lost the last three, including a failure of epic proportions in 2015 when the Bearcats trailed 51-3(!!!!!) at halftime. Thanks for the memories, Tommy.

Cincinnati snapped a 3 game losing streak against USF last season with a 35-23 win, that featured 4 total TDs from Michael Warren (3 rush).

Cincinnati has an all-time 9-7 edge over USF, but trails 4-2 in AAC games.

All-time series history


KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Establish the run

This is really the most significant key to Saturday’s game. Take a look at the success opposing running backs and teams have had running the ball in South Florida’s 5 losses this season.

  • RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin - 4 total touchdowns (2 catch, 2 rush), 8.4 yards per carry, 183 total yards
  • RB Jordan Mason and QB Tobias Oliver, Georgia Tech - each ran for a TD; Mason ran for 99 yards and Oliver ran for 48 yards
  • RB Xavier Jones, SMU - averaged 10.3 yards per carry and ran for 2 TDs (15 carries, 155 yards); as a team, SMU ran for 255 yards and 4 TDs
  • Navy is obviously a run-oriented offense, so take this for what it’s worth, but they ran for 435 yards, collectively (average of 7.4 ypc) and 4 TDs
  • RB Jager Gardner, Temple - 25 carries, 133 yards

Gerrid Doaks has really asserted himself as RB 1B the last couple of weeks. Michael Warren ran for 3 TDs against these guys last year. Just feed these guys the ball all day long, while sprinkling in enough creativity and deep balls to keep the defense back and honest.

2. Pass defense

Two weeks ago, Cincinnati’s secondary got absolutely lit up by ECU QB Holton Ahlers (535 yards) and Tulsa QB Zach Smith threw for 243 yards before that.

Bearcats must get back to basics and continue to improve in the secondary. The front seven has been dominant and has shown that no one can run the ball against them. The Bulls best offensive weapon is RB Jordan Cronkrite. They need to make him a non-factor and force QB Jordan McCloud to throw the ball. But that’s only an effective game plan with the secondary locks down.


STATS

USF:

  • Passing yards - 178.7 ypg (111th)
  • Rushing yards - 167.1 ypg (66th)
  • Points per game - 27
  • Points against - 27

Cincinnati:

  • Passing yards - 203.8 ypg (95th)
  • Rushing yards - 202.4 ypg (31st)
  • Points per game - 36.8
  • Points against - 21

STAFF PREDICTIONS

Clayton Trutor: Cincinnati will impose its will against a broken USF club. Expect Cincinnati to dominate this game on both sides of the ball from stem to stern.

Cincinnati 41 USF 17

Phil Neuffer: I don’t envy USF. They have an exceptionally difficult last four games of the season. It started last week against Temple and continues this week against the Bearcats after which the Bulls face Memphis and UCF. Yikes. But we’re not here to talk about last week or the next few.

In this matchup with the Bearcats, the Bulls do have the benefit of hosting. Playing in a hostile environment and giving up 535 passing yards to East Carolina nearly cost the Bearcats a road game pretty recently, reinforcing the dangers of travel. However, whereas the Pirates were able to produce a ton of offense, that seems less likely for the Bulls. USF is second to last in the AAC in total yards per game and the team behind them is UConn, which UC just routed 48-3 last weekend. I don’t expect a similarly lopsided result in this one and actually think the Bulls will put a scare in the Bearcats before falling short of the upset.

Cincinnati 27 USF 23

Mike Schneid: Over the last couple of seasons, the Bearcats have exonerated almost all of their demons. They snapped losing streaks vs UCF and Houston this year. Last year, they blew out Navy and snapped a losing streak vs USF. Over the next three weeks, that exoneration will continue. The Bearcats have lost 3 in a row in Tampa, but handled the Bulls nicely last year at home. I think this game follows a similar script. USF hangs around for a little bit, and behind the strength of the running game, Cincinnati pulls away late.

Cincinnati 35 USF 20

Additional prediction - Ridder, Warren, Doaks combine for 4 rushing TDs and Warren catches one from Ridder


Top Stories Around College Football Entering Week 12

OOC Opponents

On Thursday night, Kent State went on a 24-0 run to beat Buffalo. That means, with two games remaining, Miami Ohio (6-4) has already clinched the MAC East and will play for the MAC Championship for the first time since 2010. Chuck Martin. in his 6th year with the Redhawks, has yet to produce a winning record. He needs to win at least one of his final two games against 0-10 Akron or Ball State to accomplish that feat.

UCLA (4-5) actually has a chance to win the PAC-12 South. But that can only happen if they beat Utah on Saturday.

Marshall is 7-3 after beating Louisiana Tech on Friday night. They now control their own destiny to win the Conference USA East division.

Ohio State is a 52.5 point favorite over Rutgers. Rutgers is a Big Ten team. Cincinnati is considered “group of five”. But why??

AAC

Next week’s opponent, Temple hosts Tulane in a battle of two 6-3 teams.

Memphis looks to keep pace with Cincinnati. Tigers are ranked 18th, one spot below the Bearcats, and go to Houston.

Navy is still in the mix to win the AAC West. They play a non-conference game at Notre Dame at 2:30 Saturday in the first non-sellout in South Bend in 273 games.


FLASHBACK FRIDAY

This was included in our series history article and posted to instagram, but why not post it again, right??