College Football Saturday: South Florida plays host to East Carolina at FAU Stadium

Written By David Delano

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The South Florida Bulls (1-3) will take on the East Carolina Pirates (2-2) on Saturday/ This game has been moved from Orlando, Florida to Boca Raton due to Hurricane Ian. Last season East Carolin beat USF 29-14 as a 9.5-point home favorite.

Took steps back against Louisville

After going 2-10 last season, South Florida was picked to finish ninth in the AAC in the preseason media poll, ahead of only Navy and Temple. The Bulls did bring back 10 offensive and nine defensive starters, but the experience has not carried over to wins. The Bulls haven’t had the easiest schedule with non-conference losses to #25 BYU 50-21, #Florida 31-28, and Lousiville 41-3. They beat Howard 42-20 for their lone win in Week 2.

Last week was ugly, as the Bulls were outgained 542 to 158 in total yards by the Louisville Cardinals and also lost the turnover battle 3 to 1. The Bulls ran the ball 35 times for only 48 yards, and quarterbacks Gerry Bohannon and Kataravis Marsh combined to go 13 for 28 with 110 yards and two interceptions.

Bohannon has completed 53.4% of his passes this season for 569 yards, six interceptions, and no touchdown passes.

The Bulls offense is 107th in the nation averaging 332.8 ppg and the team is 103rd averaging 23.5 ppg. The start for them is running back Brain Battie who racked up 295 yards on 8.2 yards per attempt and three touchdowns.  On defense, the Bulls are allowing 35.5ppg which is 11tth and 121st allowing 467 yards per game.

Mitchell exited Navy game early and ECU lost

East Carolina was picked to finish sixth in the AAC this season, behind Houston, Cincinnati, UCF, SMU, and Memphis. The Pirates went 7-5 last season and brought back eight starters on defense and seven on offense. Through the first four games of this season, East Carolina is 2-2 and 0-1 in the conference after losing to Navy 23-20 last week. In the non-conference play, the Pirates were edged by #13 NC State 21-20 and got wins over Old Dominion 39-21 and Campbell 49-10.

The Pirates are 34th in the nation averaging 464 yards per game, and 64th averaging 32 ppg. Quarterback Holton Ahlers leads the offense and has completed 66.4% of his passes for 1,067 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions. The Pirates also have one of the top running backs in the AAC in Keaton Mitchell, who has rushed for 8.4 yards per attempt and three touchdowns. Mitchell had to leave the game against Navy last week after just five carries but was able to walk off the field on his own power. At the time of publishing this article, Mitchell’s status for Saturday was unclear. The backup running back for ECU is Rahjai Harris, who only averages 3.5 yards per attempt but has four touchdowns.

The Pirates have allowed just 18.8 ppg which is 33rd in the nation, and are 47th limiting the opposition to 349.5 total yards on the defensive end.

After the loss to Navy, ECU head coach Mike Houston said that Keaton Mitchell’s injury is not serious. Without Mitchell, the Pirates are still the better team, and with him this game could flat out get ugly. The Bulls have had to deal with hurricane distractions this week and are coming off their worst performance of the year. The USF offense lacks explosive playmakers, and the ECU defense has been tough and was able to contain an NC State team led by one of the best quarterbacks in the country in week one. ECU quarterback Holton Ahler is also extremely experienced in his fifth season leading the Pirates, while USF has gotten some of the worst quarterback play in the country.

With 91% of the cash being on East Carolina as of Thursday afternoon, the line moving from -9.5 to -8.5 is interesting, but I expect an easy double-digit victory for East Carolina

Prediction: East Carolina -8.5

Written By David Delano , “David Delano”

David Delano is a Bowling Green State University graduate with a passion for sports, traveling, and music. David loves to handicap MLB, NFL, NCAAF, NCAAB, NBA, WNBA, and is also a big fan of boxing and track and field. Over the years, David has worn several hats in the sports world, from being behind the camera to writing, filming, editing, scouting, and coaching, along with servicing his clients as a sports handicapper.  He is also an expert sports bettor. We are glad to have David on our Winners & Whiners team, and we recommend that you follow along with him every day. 

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