Navy Midshipmen vs USF Bulls Preview

posted by  on in American Athletic Conference Blog

USF football is traveling north as the Bulls head to Annapolis to face the Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy on Saturday at 12:00 PM. This is the first matchup between these two teams, who will be playing one another on a more regular basis now that Navy has joined the American Athletic Conference.
The Bulls are 4-3, riding a three game win streak into the game. Navy is 5-1 on the season, which includes a perfect 3-0 in conference play. Their only loss was to #15 Notre Dame. The Midshipmen are 7 point favorites against USF.
Navy Offense
Navy's offense is a run-first, option oriented offense, a fact reflected in their passing offense ranking of 126th. Running the ball, the Midshipmen more than make up for their lack of throwing, ranking 5th in rushing with 302 yards per game. Senior quarterback, Keenan Reynolds, leads the team in passing and rushing and has 13 touchdowns on the season. Running back, Chris Swain, helps carry the rushing load with an average of 75 yards per game and four touchdowns, this year.
When they do throw the ball, Jamir Tillman is the favorite target. Tillman is averaging 29 yards per game and has just one touchdown this season. As a unit, the Navy offense is averaging 376 yards and 35 points per game. They have the 35th ranked scoring offense in the country.
USF Offense
While not limited to running the ball, the rushing game is a particular area of strength for USF. They are averaging 236 yards on the ground per game, as a team, good for 16th, nationally. The offense is led by sophomore quarterback, Quinton Flowers, who is second on the team running the ball with an average of 80 yards per game and seven touchdowns on the year. Flowers also throws the ball, averaging 148 yards per game with ten touchdowns and six interceptions.
Marlon Mack is the rushing workhorse for the Bulls. Mack leads the team in rushing, with 114 yards per game and three touchdowns this season. Mack is ranked second in the conference for rushing and 53rd nationally for all-purpose yards with 689 on the season. Darius Tice and D'Ernest Johnson help share the rushing load adding about another 50 yards per game, combined.
Where Johnson really shines is as a receiver, where he averages 31 yards per game with four touchdowns. Receiver, Rodney Adams, leads all receivers with 247 yards and five touchdowns on the season. USF is ranked 63rd in total offense, averaging 409 yards and 30 points per game.
Navy Defense
The Midshipmen's defense is ranked 44th, containing their opponent's yardage to just 363 yards and 19 points per game. That scoring defense ranking is 25th in the nation. Linebackers Micah Thomas and Daniel Gonzales lead the team in tackles with 43 and 40 respectively. Kevin McCoy leads in sacks with 2.5.
USF Defense
The Bulls defense has been inconsistent this season. Currently ranked 58th in total defense, the team is allowing 380 yards per game. On scoring offense, USF is 35th, keeping opponents to just 22 yards per game. Jamie Byrd has supplanted Auggie Sanchez as the team leader in sacks with 53. Sanchez has 52. Byrd also leads the team in sacks with 4 and is tied for 68th nationally.
On paper, this looks like a good matchup, with the exception of the teams' win-loss records. Both teams will run the ball all night. Expect USF to stretch the field every few plays to open up the run game. Final score should be close, within a touchdown.
To stay current with everything South Florida Bulls, check out more of Benjamin McCool onUSFBullsBlog.com, the official home of USF on the Best College Sports News Network.

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