November 9, 2009

No. 24 South Florida Bulls at Rutgers Scarlet Knights Preview

NCAA Football Betting Preview
No. 24 South Florida Bulls (6-2) at Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-2)
Thursday November 12th, 7:30PM Eastern

Betus.com betting line – South Florida -1

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights have jumped out to an early season 6-2 respectable record this season, but they still have some critics they are trying to shake off as they head into Thursday night’s battle with no. 24 South Florida. Despite the solid record, the Scarlet Knights were beaten in their previous big match-ups of the season against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. However, Rutgers will attempt to prove that they are better than most give credit for this Thursday night against the Bulls. Rutgers has finished the last two seasons at 8-5, but a win Thursday night could get the program back to contending for a 10 win campaign.

South Florida struggled in recent weeks to the exact some foes as Rutgers. The Bulls fell in consecutive contest to both Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. However, South Florida did rally back to knock off a top 25 opponent in West Virginia last week 30-19 which in return regained their own top 25 spot in the polls. The Bulls will match-up with an equally talented Rutgers team this Thursday night as they attempt to keep their position in the top 25 rankings.

Breaking down these two teams on paper and things look extremely familiar. South Florida ranks 2nd in total defense in the conference allowing 315 yards per game and Rutgers ranks 3rd allowing 322 yards per game. Both scoring defenses are also rather the exact same as Rutgers has allowed 17.5 points per game with South Florida allowing 17.6 points per game. Both passing offenses are averaging right at 200 yards per game. The only differences that could be rather significant this Thursday night is the Scarlet Knights ability to stop the run. Rutgers is allowing just 106 yards per game on the ground and their key focus will be stopping freshman quarterback B.J Daniels who leads South Florida with 519 rushing yards this season in only 6 games. If Rutgers can penetrate up front and stop Daniels in the backfield, then Daniels has not been the proven passer to win the game as he has completed just 52% on the year.

South Florida sports a really strong pass defense that could stifle Rutgers freshman quarterback Tom Savage. When that happens, the Scarlet Knights offense becomes fairly predictable behind running back Joe Martinek. Martinek leads the team with 602 rushing yards and has been the only consistency on offense. If South Florida can shut down the passing game early and perhaps force a turnover, they could really load the box and tee off on Martinek. The Bulls biggest challenge will be getting Daniels to make some passes down field. Daniels will get his share of carries that will in return result in first downs. However, the South Florida freshman is very dangerous when he gets into a rhythm throwing the football. If he can find that rhythm the Bulls could win convincingly, if not then the game is up for grabs.

Another key thing to watch in the game will be the turnover battle. The lines are nearly even on the game and in close contest the turnovers usually tell the story. Daniels has been subject to throwing a few picks this year and Rutgers knows how to get their hands on the football. The Scarlet Knights lead the nation in turnover margin with +18 on the season and have 25 total takeaways through their first 8 games. If turnovers play a factor, then most would give Rutgers the advantage.

Pick – Scarlet Knights make it 4 straight over South Florida

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