By: Chris King
It’s a battle of teams from the AAC on the gridiron as they do battle in the Sunshine State. The Tulsa Golden Hurricane are on the road as they make the trip to face the South Florida Bulls Saturday afternoon. Tulsa comes in off a 35-29 win at home over Memphis and covered as a three-point favorite. South Florida was off last week: they were pasted 41-17 as a 21.5-point underdog on the road by SMU back on October 2 in their most recent contest. The Bulls have won three of the four previous matchups between the schools but it was the Golden Hurricane rolling to a 42-13 road win as a 12.5-point favorite in the most recent contest on October 23, 2020.
South Florida Bulls Try to Get Back in Win Column
South Florida has had two weeks to prepare for this contest but they are coming off a blowout loss at SMU their last time out. The Bulls dropped to 1-4 on the year overall and are 0-1 in the AAC this season with the loss. Against SMU, South Florida was down 17-0 just under three minutes into the second quarter and never got back into the game. The Bulls climbed within 17-10 with 12:50 to play in the third quarter but they were outscored 24-7 the rest of the way. South Florida was outgained 463-336 in total offense, gave up 30 first downs while picking up 19 and lost the time of possession by a 32:49 to 27:11 margin. Each team turned the ball over once in the contest.
On the season, the Bulls are 106th in the nation in passing offense with 185.4 yards per game while they are 83rd in rushing offense with 148.2 yards per contest. South Florida is 114th in the FBS in scoring offense with 20.4 points per game while they are 116th in scoring defense by allowing 36 points per contest. Timmy McClain is 54 of 92 passing for 781 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions while ranking third on the team with 158 yards on the ground. Cade Fortin (19 of 38, 132 yards, two INT, 17 rushing yards) and Katravis Marsh (one of four, 14 yards) have seen action under center as well. Jaren Mangham (57 carries, 189 yards, nine TD) and Brian Battle (30 carries, 183 yards) are 1-2 in the run game this season. Kelley Joiner (19 carries, 98 yards) and Darrian Felix (29 carries, 92 yards) have seen their share of work on the ground. Xavier Weaver leads the team with 17 receptions for 324 yards plus a score while Jimmy Horn Jr. (nine receptions, 124 yards) is the only other player with even 100 receiving yards. Spencer Shrader has hit all 12 extra point attempts and six of six field goal tries with a long of 49 this season.
Tulsa Golden Hurricane Looking to Maintain Momentum
Tulsa dropped their first three games of the season but have won two of their last three after dropping Memphis at home last week. The Golden Hurricane improved to 2-4 overall on the season and are 1-1 in the AAC, so they look to climb closer to the .500 mark overall and over it in conference play. Against Memphis, Tulsa led 7-0 after the opening quarter only to trail 13-7 with 38 seconds to play in the first half. The Golden Hurricane covered 75 yards in three plays to score with 11 seconds to go in the half, giving them a 14-13 advantage. That was part of 21 unanswered points by Tulsa to go up 28-13 with 9:55 to play in the game and they hung on for the victory. Tulsa was outgained 614-417, gave up 33 first downs while picking up 19 and lost the time of possession by a 33:35 to 26:25 margin yet prevailed. The Golden Hurricane forced three Memphis turnovers while not committing one in the contest.
On the year, Tulsa is 33rd in the nation in passing offense with 274.8 yards per game while they are 57th in rushing offense with 169.5 yards per contest. The Golden Hurricane stands 97th in the FBS in scoring offense with 24.3 points per game while they are 110th in scoring defense by allowing 32.7 points a contest. Davis Brin has hit 113 of 194 passes for 1,649 yards with eight touchdowns against eight interceptions on the year. Shamari Brooks is the leading back in the run game as he has 86 carries for 416 yards and three scores.
Anthony Watkins (34 carries, 282 yards, three TD) and Deneric Prince (47 carries, 261 yards, two TD) are effective when given their opportunities as well. Josh Johnson leads the team with 34 receptions for 481 yards plus two scores. Sam Crawford Jr. (19 grabs, 369 yards, three TD) and JuanCarlos Santana (19 catches, 282 yards, TD) are each over the 250-yard receiving mark. Zack Long has hit all 17 extra point attempts and seven of seven field goal attempts with a long of 45 this season.
South Florida has struggled on both sides of the ball and that’s been an ongoing trend for the Bulls. The last time the program posted a 2-12 record since Jeff Scott took over the program prior to the 2020 campaign, which came after a 4-8 mark under Charlie Strong in 2019. While the Bulls have had two weeks to prepare, they simply don’t have the personnel to keep up with most teams in the conference. South Florida has given up 13 touchdowns through the air and 11 on the ground this season while allowing an average of 496.8 yards per game in total offense. Tulsa has struggled at times but they are coming off a win over Memphis and the Tigers are clearly a better team than the Bulls. Give the advantage to the Golden Hurricane as they make it two straight victories.
Prediction: Tulsa Golden Hurricane -8.5
Written By Chris Kubala , “Chris King”
Chris King has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it’s playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he’s checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO. If it’s out there, he’s covered it and bet on it as well, as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career. Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He’s written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you’re looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.