South Florida Bulls Vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights 9/13/12 Dave’s Free College Football Pick Against the Spread
The 2-0 South Florida Bulls return home from a thrilling victory on the west coast to host the 2-0 Rutgers Scarlet Knights in an early season battle of two of the big east’s top teams on Thursday night in Tampa, FL.
South Florida was able to escape the unfriendly confines of Reno, NV with a win this past Saturday night thanks to a 56 yard bomb from quarterback B.J. Daniels with thirty-eight seconds remaining in the game. The Bulls showed a ton of grit in this contest, falling down 21-6 early and slowly chipped away at the Wolfpack lead up until Daniel’s strike to Andre Davis late in the fourth. B.J. Daniels threw for 363 yards and 3 touchdowns and continued his efficient ways not turning the ball over through the air. Fittingly, Daniels hit Davis late in the game as the two connected 12 times for 191 yards and two touchdowns – one of the best performances this season at the wide receiver slot in all of college football. The Bulls defense woke up early in the second quarter and was very opportunistic from there out forcing and recovering three fumbles – none bigger than the early in the third quarter as Nevada coughed up the ball on the USF 1 yard line with USF falling on it and sparing themselves from an eight point deficit early in the second half. The Bulls have to feel good about themselves surviving this early season non-conference test behind the arm of their savvy senior quarterback.
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights opened up their 2012 home slate with a dominant performance over lowly FCS opponent Howard. After a somewhat underwhelming win on the road against a pitiful Tulane team in week 1, the Scarlet Knights were eager to bounce back and get some momentum for the trip to Tampa this coming week. Rutgers defense appears to be rounding into form early this season after smothering Tulane in week 1 and showing even more dominance in week 2, holding Howard to 146 total yards of offense and providing Gary Nova with strong field position again and again. With quite a few short fields, Nova was able to find stud receiver Brandon Coleman 2 times for 48 yards and a pair of touchdowns. With the game well in hand, Rutgers was able to hand the ball off around 30 times to their plethora of tailbacks. This week, junior Jawan Jamison continued his productive ways tallying 110 yards on 10 carries. The Rutgers backfield stockpiled yards and Savon Huggins was able to break the goal line for their lone rushing TD.
Two key trends to consider are that South Florida is 0-8 against the spread in their last 8 Thursday night games and Rutgers is 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 Thursday contests.
This match up is a big early test for both of these conference title contenders. South Florida’s offense has been very impressive this season and Rutgers defense has been strong as well. I think the x-factor in this one will be the Bulls defensive line’s ability to contain Rutgers three-headed running attack. Another key matchup to watch is Rutgers stingy D and their ability to contain the consistently productive B.J. Daniels. Ultimately, the Rutgers defense keeps it close, but the hostile Thursday night crowd gives the Bulls the edge in a close victory.