Photo courtesy of South Florida athletics
The 1-1 Tulsa Hurricane look to build on a signature win this week as they visit struggling South Florida on Friday night.
At 1-4, the Bulls have dropped four straight contests. This week’s American Athletic Conference match-up begins at 7:30 p.m. ET and airs on ESPN.
Tulsa is coming off a win over USF’s in-state rival UCF — its fourth straight over the Knights. USF is coming off a 2-point loss to Temple. USF is 3-0 all-time vs. Tulsa and looking to continue its winning ways against the Golden Hurricane.
Fortunately here at Fifth Quarter, we have a slew of talented writers that know the team they cover inside and out. To give fans a better understanding of what the Hurricane will look like against the Bulls, we talked to FQ’s South Florida account manager and writer, Isaac Yoho, on what he sees with this Saturday’s match-up.
WHO SHOULD TULSA BE LOOKING OUT FOR ON OFFENSE AND DEFENSE?
On offense, it’s Johnny Ford. He’s easily been the most consistent producer on that end, averaging 5.6 yards per rush and nine yards per reception. Ford is very explosive — possibly the only USF player that is constantly a legitimate big-play threat. Ford is USF’s leading rusher and second-leading receiver in terms of total yards
South Florida hasn’t played great on defense, but it’s not because of linebacker Antonio Grier. Grier has been great at linebacker this season. With 36 total tackles, three sacks, four tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles, he leads the Bulls in a lot of categories. He was called for targeting vs. Temple, so we’ll see how his absence in the first half affects this game.
MANY TULSA FANS THINK THE GOLDEN HURRICANE ARE GOING TO BLOW OUT THE BULLS. HOW ARE USF FANS FEELING?
I think the way this season has unfolded so far, Bulls’ fans are just trusting the process. They’d love to see a win, but if not, it’s not the end of the world. They’re looking for week-to-week improvement, and not measuring success in wins.
USF IS COMING OFF A HARD-FOUGHT LOSS TO TEMPLE, 39-37. HOW DO YOU THINK THE OFFENSE RESPONDS AFTER ONLY GAINING 324 YARDS?
I don’t think the fact the team gained under 400 yards is indicative of failure. Like I said before, week-to-week improvement is what most USF fans are looking for and I saw it last week. Despite what the stat sheet indicates, I felt the offensive unit had a pulse for the first game outside of the opener against The Citadel. Hopefully, another week in this offense leads to continued improvement on that end.
USF SEEMED TO HAVE TROUBLE WITH PENALTIES LAST WEEK WITH 107 YARDS. DO YOU THINK THEY WILL HAVE MORE OR LESS PENALTY YARDS THIS WEEK?
Last week was an uncharacteristic week in terms of penalties. Despite taking 11 penalties against Temple, USF still averages only 5.6 a game, so look for that number to come down.
WHAT DOES USF NEED TO DO IN ORDER TO WIN THIS GAME?
USF has to play a complete game. Outside of The Citadel, we haven’t seen the Bulls put it together for four complete quarters. This team has had flashes where they look pretty decent. They just need to put it all together.
WHAT IS YOUR SCORE PREDICTION AND WHY?
31-17, Tulsa. USF’s defense has given up 28, 44, and 39 points in its three conference games and I don’t expect the Bulls’ offense to be able to move the ball effectively against a defensive unit that held both of its 11th-ranked opponents to under 28 points.