Live Coverage: South Florida hopes to get another win this time on the road at East Carolina tonight on ESPN

Written By Nick Raffoul

Winnersandwhiners.com

The South Florida Bulls will head on the road to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Thursday evening for an American Athletic Conference showdown against the Eastern Carolina Pirates.

South Florida comes in with a 2-5 overall record, including a 1-2 mark in AAC play. Meanwhile, East Carolina is coming off of back-to-back road losses versus conference opponents. The Pirates are also below the .500 mark with a 3-4 overall mark to go along with a 1-2 versus AAC competition.

Can the Bulls take advantage of a slumping Pirates on Thursday night?

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McClain, Mangham lead USF to first AAC win

South Florida is fresh off of a dominant 34-14 win at home against the Temple Owls last weekend. Quarterback Timmy McClain completed 10-of-13 passes for 71 yards with a touchdown while running back Jaren Mangham rushed 26 times for 152 yards and two scores on the day. The Bulls outgained Temple 526 to 231 in total yards and held a whopping 45 to 15-minute advantage in time of possession in the win.

The Bulls snapped a three-game skid with a win on Saturday and will try to build on their first conference win. McClain has completed 56.9 percent of his passes for 1,000 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions this season. But Mangham has carried the load on offense this season. While the 6-foot-2 junior from Detroit, Michigan has just 416 rushing yards, he’s rushed for 12 touchdowns already this season.

On defense, South Florida has surrendered 32.3 points per game, good for 108th in the FBS. The Bulls have given up 463 yards of total offense per contest, 121st in the nation, including 200.7 rushing yards per game, which ranks 114th in the country.

Ahlers, Pirates hoping to get back on track following tough loss vs. Houston

Eastern Carolina was unable to complete the upset in a 31-24 overtime loss on the road against Houston last week. Despite trailing by two touchdowns at halftime, East Carolina battled back by holding the Cougars scoreless in the third and fourth quarters. Quarterback Holton Ahlers completed 22-of-36 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns while adding another score on the ground in the loss.

Ahlers is the key cog in East Carolina’s high-flying offense but he’s been less efficient than usual this season. Ahlers has completed 60.3 percent of his passes for 1,763 yards with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions this season. The 6-foot-3 junior also has four rushing touchdowns in seven games. He has thrown for 61 total touchdowns and rushed for 17 more during his collegiate career at ECU.

On defense, East Carolina has given up 28.4 points per game and 430 yards of total offense per contest, good for 104th in the nation. They have also given up 279 passing yards per game, which ranks 119th in the FBS.

South Florida isn’t getting enough credit for how it played last week. McClain has earned his job as the full-time starter under center for the Bulls while Mangham is fresh off of a breakout game versus Temple. On the other hand, the Pirates expended a lot of energy in last week’s comeback and came up short in a deflating overtime loss in Houston. Take South Florida to cover the spread on the road in this AAC battle on Thursday night.

Prediction: South Florida Bulls +10

Written By Nick Raffoul , “Nick Raffoul”

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. He has been a very successful sports bettor over the years and has now brought his talents to us here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.