South Florida looks to nail a down an AAC win on the road against a tough Memphis team.

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USF FOOTBALL AP/PHOTO

By: Chris King

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It’s a tilt between a pair of AAC programs between the painted lines as they collide in search of a triumph in Bluff City. The South Florida Bulls are on the road as they make the trip to tangle with the Memphis Tigers Saturday afternoon. South Florida had a bye week last week: they slipped past UConn 24-21 at home in their previous contest October 21, winning outright as a one-point underdog. Memphis let a big lead slip away before rallying in the dying seconds to stun North Texas 45-42 on the road last Saturday in their previous game, though they failed to cover the line as a 6.5-point favorite. In the all-time series between the programs, the Tigers own a 7-4 advantage and has won the last two meetings, including a 34-33 home triumph in the most recent matchup on November 7, 2020.

South Florida Bulls Looking to Earn Road Victory

South Florida had a bye last week and hope that the rest can help bolster them for the stretch run. The Bulls improved to 4-4 on the season and stood tied for sixth in the AAC with a 2-2 mark in conference play. Against UConn, South Florida led 7-0 after the first quarter, trailed 14-10 at the half and by a 21-10 margin early in the fourth quarter only to rally with two touchdowns in the final 10 minutes to get the victory. South Florida finished the game with a 463-368 edge in total offense, picked up 24 first downs while allowing 20 and held a narrow 30:10 to 29:50 margin in time of possession. The Bulls forced four turnovers in the contest while committing only one in the win.

On the season, the Bulls are 54th in the nation in passing offense with 246.6 yards per game while they are 25th in rushing offense with 190.9 yards per contest. South Florida is 69th in the FBS in scoring offense with 28 points per game while they are 124th in scoring defense by allowing 34.2 points per contest. Byrum Brown is 163 of 267 passing for 1,865 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions this season. He is second on the team in rushing with 130 carries for 573 yards and eight scores. Bryce Archie is five of 10 for 42 yards as the backup quarterback. Nay’Quan Wright leads the team on the ground with 116 carries for 590 yards and five scores this season. K’Wan Powell (56 carries, 199 yards, TD) and Michel Dukes (38 carries, 166 yards, two TD) are the other backs in the ground game for the Bulls. Sean Atkins leads the team in the passing game with 51 receptions for 550 yards and three scores. Naiem Simmons (28 catches, 457 yards, three TD), Khafre Brown (15 grabs, 273 yards, two TD), Michael Brown-Stephens (21 receptions, 271 yards, two TD) and Jaden Alexis (11 catches, 134 yards) have each gone over the 100-yard mark in receiving yards this season. John Cannon is 28 of 28 on extra point attempts and six of nine on field goal attempts with a long of 45 this season.

Running back Kelley Joiner Jr. (undisclosed) has missed the last three games while Brown (undisclosed) has missed the last two contests. Both are questionable for this contest so watch for any updates on their respective statuses leading to kickoff.

Memphis Tigers Seek Third Straight Win

Memphis won their second straight as they beat North Texas in a game that had huge momentum swings all the way to the final minute. The Tigers improved to 6-2 overall and stand fourth in the AAC with a 3-1 conference mark with the victory. Against North Texas, Memphis led 14-7 after one quarter, 31-10 at the half and 38-21 with 11:59 to play in the game. The Tigers surrendered three fourth-quarter touchdowns to trail 42-38 with 47 seconds remaining before going 75 yards in five plays to score the winning touchdown with 12 seconds remaining. Memphis held a slim 600-591 edge in total offense, controlled time of possession by a 34:13 to 25:47 margin and forced the game’s only turnover. Those numbers offset the fact that they gave up 24 first downs while picking up 20 in the contest.

For the year, Memphis is 35th in the country in passing offense (274.4 yards per game) and 57th in rushing offense with an average of 164.8 yards per contest. The Tigers are 15th in the FBS in scoring offense as they put up 36.8 points a contest while they are 63rd in scoring defense as they allow 25.1 points a game. Seth Hennigan is 185 of 274 passing for 2,186 yards with 16 touchdowns against seven interceptions on the year. He adds 179 yards plus three scores on the ground. Tevin Carter is one of two for nine yards while adding seven yards on the ground. Blake Watson leads the run game for the Tigers with 120 carries for 762 yards and nine scores. Sutton Smith (48 carries, 249 yards, two TD) is the second back in the system. Roc Taylor leads the team with 42 receptions for 593 yards and two scores this season. Demeer Blankumsee (30 catches, 443 yards, three TD), Watson (34 grabs, 348 yards, TD), Koby Drake (22 receptions, 237 yards, two TD), Tauskie Dove (eight receptions, 158 yards, TD), Anthony Landphere (16 grabs, 149 yards, TD) and Joseph Scales (15 catches, 164 yards, four TD) each have gone over the 100-yard receiving mark this season. Seth Morgan is 14 of 14 on extra point attempts and three of five on field goals with a long of 47 this season. Tanner Gillis is 23 of 23 on extra point attempts and four of four on field goals with a long of 43.

Morgan (undisclosed) is out for the season, forcing Gillis into double duty in the kicking game. Taylor (leg) left the North Texas game with an injury but is considered probable for this contest.

South Florida may be a rested team but the fact remains that they are still a team that is weak on the defensive side of the ball. The Bulls have allowed an average of 444.1 yards per game this season while ranking in the bottom 10 in the FBS in scoring defense. South Florida has given up at least 29 points in five of their games this season, including at least 41 in three games. On the road, the Bulls have given up an average of 37 points a game, including surrendering 56 to a UAB team that Memphis hung 45 on two weeks ago. The Tigers are good at doing damage offensively, especially through the air. The explosive play dynamic in the run game that Watson has provided recently makes them even more dangerous. Take Memphis at home as Henigan slices and dices the South Florida defense en route to the win

.Prediction: Memphis -13

Written By Chris King , “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.