Three straight college football winners and now we target South Florida travelling to “the Rent” to meet UConn on Saturday as a pair of 0-1 Big East conference foes look to avoid falling out of the conference race in the early going. Connecticut is just 2-4 on the season including a 16-43 loss at West Virginia last Saturday despite hanging tough in the first half (trailed 9-10 at the break). The Bulls of South Florida come in at 4-1 overall after having lost for the first time two weeks ago, getting thumped at Pittsburgh 17-44 despite being a -3 road favorite.
This weekend the two will meet at Rentschler Field in a 12:30 PM Pacific start with the Bulls coming in as a -7.5 road favorite with a posted Total of 46.5 at BetDSI Sportsbook.
South Florida had been beating up on some of lower tier teams and took advantage of a messy Notre Dame team in the season opener. The high flying Bulls screeched to a halt when they went to Pittsburgh and we will see if the week off is beneficial. Sometimes it is better to get right back out there off a demoralizing loss but the Bulls didn’t have that luxury. Rutgers thumped Pittsburgh 34-10 last week which likely won’t help the mental hurting of South Florida’s big loss at Pittsburgh, having now watched the team that crushed them get hammered themselves. SoFlo QB BJ Daniels is one the conference’s best as he has a good arm and scrambles well, he’ll have to keep the Huskies guessing but sometimes that means his receivers have to figure him out too.
Much of the task ahead for the Huskies is pressuring and containing South Florida QB Daniels, part of that will be getting their own running game going to control the field position and time. Freshman RB Lyle McCombs will lead the charge for Connecticut averaging almost 96 yards per game (second best in the league) and QB Johnny McEntee needs to limit his mistakes. Defensively the Huskies are containing opponents to less than 75 yards per game on the ground so this one will come down to pressuring and containing Daniels while controlling the clock and line of scrimmage when they have the ball.
Connecticut has been playing tough so far this season, losing 3 games by a combined 14 points, aside from the second half fail at West Virginia last weekend. UConn also has won four straight conference home openers, and 6 of 7 since joining the Big East.
South Florida will have to rebound after the Pittsburgh drubbing, and overcome the emotional scars after being favored in the game and having two weeks to dwell on it. Road favorites in the Big East are a tough spot and I think Connecticut with their solid ground game, good rush defense and home field advantage will be a tough opponent here in a key game for Head Coach Paul Pasqualoni. I am taking the +7.5 at BetDSI Sportsbook on the home dog Huskies.