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Opponent Preview: USF

South Florida is no pushover

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 23 Memphis at USF Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Friends,

This will be a much tougher game that people anticipate. Coach Fickell said it.

And I say it to.

This team has had two weeks to rest. They have a great deal to prove after looking dreadful against Notre Dame.

Moreover, Cincinnati is coming off a major win against Army.

This contest has all the makings of a trap game.

And USF is genuinely no slouch.

This is far too talented a team to take lightly. Cincinnati has had trouble with them each of the past two seasons.

The year before that, the Bulls posted 65 points on the Bearcats.

This year’s club has plenty of offensive firepower which will become well known around the AAC in the coming weeks.

USF employs a wide range of weapons when running the ball, including their dual-threat quarterback Jordan McCloud. Despite the Bulls’ running-heavy attack, McCloud has shown himself to be an accurate passer, completing 19 of his 30 attempts.

The Bulls’ multi-faceted running attack features pocket rocket Johnny Ford, who will prove himself to be one of the conference’s most dynamic players this season. Think Darren Sproles when you hear Johnny Ford’s name called.

Kelly Joiner is a similarly diminutive and dynamic presence in the USF backfield.

The Bulls are a bit on the inexperienced side both at wide receiver and on the offensive line but expect these talented units to improve with reps over the course of the season.

USF’s defense looked great against Citadel and was whatever the opposite of great is against Notre Dame.

It’s tough to single out a strength among the Bulls’ defensive unit but there are several standout players on that side of the ball.

Defensive tackle Thad Mangum was a destructive force against the Citadel. Middle linebacker Antonio Grier Jr. is a sideline to sideline menace. In the defensive backfield, Mehki LaPointe has the makings of a ballhawk.

This USF team is no slouch.

I anticipate this matchup being a close one. I see it as a 34-20 type game.