Few thought that after five games, South Florida would be in anybody’s Game of the Week, but the Bulls are among the most improved American Athletic Conference teams. Following a 1-11 season, new coach Alex Golesh has revitalized the program.
UAB, meanwhile, has played a difficult early-season schedule in its first AAC season. This has a chance to be a high-scoring game.
South Florida-UAB How To Watch
Saturday, 4 p.m. (ET)
Records: South Florida (3-2, 2-0 AAC), UAB (1-4, 0-1)
South Florida-UAB Betting Line
South Florida -3 (-110)
Place College Football Wagers at BetMGM
South Florida: Alex Golesh (3-2)
UAB: Trent Dilfer (1-4)
Nov. 3, 2004 – USF won 45-20 in Birmingham.
Trailing 20-17 after three quarters, USF outscored UAB 20-0 in the fourth quarter. Andre Hall rushed for 275 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries for the winning Bulls. UAB’s Corey White rushed for 83 yards and three scores on 15 carries.
Why This Game Is Important
Can USF actually contend in the AAC? That was an unthinkable thought in the preseason, but the Bulls must win a game like this on the road to show the strong beginning is no fluke.
UAB would like to show it is better than its record. The last two games for the Blazers have been brutal assignments – losing 49-21 at Georgia and last week falling 35-23 at defending AAC champion Tulane. UAB led Tulane 20-14 at halftime and trailed by just five with less than a minute left before the Green Wave scored a touchdown to put the game away.
UAB’s lone win was 35-6 on opening day against FCS North Carolina A&T. After being competitive against Tulane, UAB is looking to show it can beat an AAC team with a winning record. This could help turn the Blazers’ season around.
South Florida-UAB Preview
For South Florida
After a strong defensive game in a 17-3 home loss to Alabama, USF has enjoyed an offensive explosion during its most recent two games, both against AAC opponents. USF scored a 42-29 home win at Rice and last week won 44-30 at Navy. That was the first road win for the Bulls in four years, snapping a 19-game losing streak away from home.
Quarterback Byrum Brown, a 6-3, 209-pound redshirt freshman, has been on fire the last two games. In the two AAC wins, he has completed 48 of 63 passes for 773 yards, five touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also rushed for 55 yards and a TD on 24 carries. For the season, senior running back Nay’Quan Wright has rushed for 287 yards (4.1 avg.) and two scores. The home-run threat is junior wide receiver Naiem Simmons, who has 20 receptions for 380 yards (19.0 avg.) and two scores.
USF is eighth in the AAC in scoring defense, allowing 28 points per game. Nickelback Daquan Evans leads the Bulls with nine tackles for loss, including three sacks. He also has two pass breakups and two quarterback hurries.
The big problem for UAB has been on defense. UAB is allowing 36 points per game, which is 13th in the 14-team AAC. In the loss to Tulane, the Green Wave gained 448 total yards.
Senior safety Keondre Swoopes leads UAB with 31 tackles despite missing one game.
UAB averages 27 points per game. Quarterback Jacob Zeno has completed 75 percent of his passes for 1,442 yards, eight touchdowns, and four interceptions. Zeno is in his second year with UAB after beginning his career at Baylor.
Tejhaun Palmer has caught 20 passes for 231 yards and one touchdown. Isaiah Jacobs has rushed for 249 yards (4.5 avg.) and three touchdowns.
South Florida-UAB Prediction
My pick is USF -3
The fact that USF snapped a long road losing streak last week should give the Bulls confidence in this game.
UAB’s offense should be able to put up points, but the Blazers haven’t shown that they can stop a quality opponent. And with the momentum of USF, that trend should continue.