Bulls Look to Slow Down Bearcats

By on November 19, 2015

Travis Failey / RSEN

Travis Failey / RSEN

The buzz is back in the bay thanks to the South Florida Bulls.

Fresh off their 44-23 upset of then #21 Temple last weekend, the Bulls are not just playing to improve their bowl odds, but also playing to remain in contention for the American Athletic Conference East Division Championship and a chance to play in the inaugural AAC Championship game.

In order to remain in contention, they must first take on the Cincinnati Bearcats.

About Cincinnati: The preseason favorite to win the American Athletic Conference, the Bearcats have lost four games by a combined 32 points and are fighting to remain in contention for a shot to represent the East Division at the inaugural AAC Championship game. The Bearcats are led by Junior Gunner Kiel. That’s right, the same Gunner Kiel who committed to Indiana, then LSU and finally signed with Notre Dame before leaving halfway thru his Freshman year. Anyways, he found a home with Cincinnati. In eight games this year, Kiel has passed for 2,423 yards (302.9 pass ypg) and helped the Bearcats amass 5,856 total yards, good for fourth in FBS. Kiel and the Bearcats enter the game averaging 585.6 ypg (1st in AAC) and 38.7 ppg (3rd in AAC). Alongside Kiel, are a veteran group of Wide Receivers that have combined to catch 138 passes and 16 TDs. Kiel’s favorite two targets are Chris Moore and Shaq Thompson who combined have 98 catches for 1,466 yards. The Running Backs are just as talented as the Wide Receivers. The trio of Mike Boone, Tion Green and Hosey Williams have combined to rush for 1,883 yards. As good as the offense is, the defense is just as bad. The Defense ranks 85th in FBS allowing 5.8 yards per play and is one of the worst teams defending the run, allowing 186 rush ypg. As a team, the Bearcats are allowing opponents 28.2 ppg and 403 ypg.

About USF: Riding a wave of emotion, the Bulls are hoping to avoid the proverbial let down or hangover that typically comes after an emotional victory. Winners of their last 5 of 6 games, the Bulls have jumped back into contention for the AAC Eastern Division Championship. Led by workhorse Marlon Mack, the Bulls have catapulted themselves into the FBS National rankings, ranking 15th with 227.9 rush ypg. Macks’ 230 yard performance against Temple last week, propelled him into the AACs leading rusher at 118 ypg. It was his sixth 100 yard rushing game of the year. Emerging for the Bulls is Wide Receiver Rodney Adams. He has become the go to receiver for QB Quinton Flowers, leading the team with 31 catches for 575 yards. The Bulls defense has been just as impressive as the offense these last 5 of 6 games. Auggie Sanchez and Jamie Byrd have helped the Bulls defense rank 12th in FBS in Tackles for Loss with 7.9 TFL per game.

Prediction: Last week, the Bulls faced the #1 AAC defense and shredded the Temple Owls for over 500 yards. This week, is the exact opposite as the Bulls take on the top ranked offense in the AAC. The Bulls secondary will be tested early and often as the Bearcats average 41.8 passes per game. The Bulls defense must Attack! Blitz, overpower the Bearcats offensive line and put pressure on Gunner Kiel. Of his 8 INTs, 7 of them have come during the Bearcats loses. Offensively, this game plays to the Bulls strength…The Run Game. The Bulls should just give the ball to Marlon Mack and let him attack the Bearcats defensive line. In reality, the run game the Bulls employed against Syracuse would be a perfect fit for a team that gives up 186 rush ypg. A double dose of Marlon Mack and Quinton Flowers will have the Bearcats seeing Green and Gold. USF wins and inches closer to the East Division title. USF 45-Cincinnati 41. NOW COME ON MEMPHIS…BEAT TEMPLE!

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