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Cincinnati Bearcats Opponent Preview: University of South Florida

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 07 Temple at USF Photo by Mary Holt/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bearcats visit Tampa on November 12th for a contest with the University of South Florida Bulls.

Second year head coach Jeff Scott looks to have the Bulls headed in the right direction after several years of turmoil.

As a point of comparison, USF was a conference juggernaut as recently as 2017. The Bulls won 19 of their 26 league games between 2015 and 2017. Between 2018 and 2020, USF went a mere 5-18 in the league.

USF had a downright rough season in 2020, posting a 1-8 mark overall.

The Bulls return the lion’s share of starters on both sides of the ball but will be relying on an unproven signal caller no matter who lines up at QB: sophomore Cade Fortin, who played sparingly in 2020; 6’5 sophomore Katravis Marsh or Miami transfer Jarren Williams.

Just like last year, USF will rely on a collective of running backs who will be led by speedster Kelley Joiner, a sophomore who impressed late in the 2020 campaign.

USF’s receiving corps lack spark but will feature a pair of prominent transfers this season: Demarcus Gregory, formerly of Ole Miss, and Yusuf Terry, formerly of Baylor.

The club returns a veteran offensive line but one that has proven largely ineffective in its time on the field.

Defensively, USF’s strength is clearly at linebacker. They are blessed with a pair of sideline-to-sideline tackling machines in Dwayne Boyles and Antonio Grier. Both will have their work cut out for them in 2021. What this USF team lacks in a pass rush, they make up for with a porous secondary.