South Florida at Cincinnati
Saturday, 4 pm PT - ESPNU
CRIS Opener: South Florida -6 O/U 59.5
CRIS Current: South Florida -5.5 O/U 61
Conference opener for both teams and I expect the offenses to have the better of it. The Bulls have been rolling along quite efficiently with their up-tempo, run based spread offense; 35+ points in all four games. They’ve averaged over 7 yards per play and face a Bearcats defense that in two games against their toughest competition (Houston and Purdue) allowed 500+ total yards. USF has scored at least 35 points in eight consecutive games and at least 200 rushing yards in nine straight games dating back to last year. Even in last week’s narrow 27-20 win over Miami (OH), the Bearcats yielded nearly 6 yards per play. I don’t trust Cincinnati to neutralize South Florida’s balanced offensive attack that carved up the Bearcats for 65 points on 573 total yards last season. Quarterback Quinton Flowers and running back Marlon Mack had a field day in that contest and I think both are poised for more success here.
On the flip side, the South Florida defense came completely unglued against Florida State last week as it allowed 55 points on 647 total yards. The Seminoles averaged 7.6 yards per carry and 8.9 yards per pass. Even in the 45-20 win against Syracuse, South Florida’s defense struggled to get stops allowing 549 total yards to the Orange at a 5.3 yards per play clip.
Cincinnati quarterback Hayden Moore was a late scratch prior to last week’s game against Miami (OH) with an ankle injury but head coach Tommy Tuberville says there is a good chance that Moore will play. The Bearcats have a solid running back tandem with Tion Green and Mike Boone and two good receivers in Devin Gray and Nate Cole. I expect Cincinnati should be able to move the football in this game and put up points with its offense averaging 5.7 yards per play on the campaign. Let’s play this one over the total.