Game location: LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, UT
Game time: 8:15 PM MDT
Spread: -23 (BYU)
Head coach: Jeff Scott
Scott enters his second season at the helm at South Florida. He inherited a program that had very few things working in their favor. It will take time for Scott to turn the program around. They are in the middle of an intense rebuild. He spent from 2008 to 2019 working with Clemson’s receivers and was co-offensive coordinator from 2015 to 2019.
2021 Season Thus Far
The Bulls come to Provo with a 1-2 record. Their lone win came last week against FCS foe Florida A&M. The previous two weeks featured beatdowns at the hands of NC State and Florida, for a combined score of 87-20. South Florida has not defeated an FBS team since October 26, 2019.
USF is shuffling through two quarterbacks, but head coach Jeff Scott named freshman Timmy Mcclain the starter for the game in Provo. He leads the team with 372 yards passing, going 23 for 46 with one touchdown and two interceptions. He is also a threat with his legs, as he has 78 yards rushing as well.
If there is one thing working for USF it is that they played two quality Power 5 teams early in the year. They have been tested against the toughest competition college football has to offer.
Returning starters: 18 (9 offense, 9 defense)
2021 Team Rankings
Scoring offense: 114th
Total offense: 113th
Passing yards: 109th
Rushing yards: 73rd
Scoring defense: 112th
Total defense: 126th
Pass yards allowed: 105th
Rush yards allowed: 125th
Penalty yards: 52nd
Biggest Strength- Running backs
Three running backs have more than 80 yards for USF thus far. Jaren Mangham is at 82 yards but also paces the entire team with five touchdowns, while no other Bull has more than one. Brian Battie is coming off of a 110-yard performance against Florida A&M, averaging 11 yards per carry. Darrian Felix has five catches out of the backfield.
Biggest Weakness- Run Defense
USF is ranked in the 100s in most categories on both sides of the ball, but the most egregious one is the Bulls ranking 125th in rushing yards allowed. The Gators rushed for 363 yards and three scores. NC State totaled 293 yards on the ground.
BYU should be able to exploit this weakness with one of the most physical runners in college football in Tyler Allgeier. Lopini Kotoa should also aid in the run game. That running back duo combines for 431 yards so far this year.
Jaren Hall also is a threat with his legs. He should be able to find room to run and move the sticks when needed.
Best Player- Xavier Weaver
Weaver leads USF in receiving yards with 218 yards, while the next-closest receiver has 64 yards. He has size at 6-foot-1 and speed to boot. Plus, he has the advantage of experience, with 17 games under his belt at USF.
How BYU Can Win
Frankly, BYU will win if they do not beat themselves. They are a much better team up and down the roster. The spread is at 23 points, which suggests a significant talent and/or coaching gap. However, any team can lose to anyone if they come out sloppy and flat. BYU needs to establish dominance right away with a violent running attack. On defense, they must rattle the freshman signal caller early. Rarely does a much better team lose to a far inferior opponent when they minimize penalties and turnovers. Basically, just don’t do what Arizona State did in Provo last weekend. BYU does just that and they should not only win, but cover the enormous spread. `