After two weeks of college football, there is a weeknight contest between two extremely unequal teams. The South Florida Bulls are currently undefeated after defeating both San Jose State and Stony Brook while Illinois defeated both Ball State and Western Kentucky. However, where these teams differ is preseason expectations. South Florida started the season as a top 25 team while Illinois was projected to finish in the bottom of the Big Ten. Both teams will look to capitalize on their early success and maintain their winning ways.
Prior to this season, Illinois was expected to be one of the worst teams in the FBS. However, their initial success has turned some heads and some people believe that Illinois can potentially be decent by years end. The basis of Illinois’ success has been its defense. In two games, the Illini have only given up a total of 28 points. Illinois has had five sacks thus far this season and will need to generate the same amount of pressure if it hopes to pull off the upset.
The Illini offense is led by junior quarterback Chayce Crouch. Crouch has struggled this season and has thrown only one touchdown along with two interceptions. However, the running game has been the catalyst for this offense and the team has averaged over 120 yards per game on the ground this season. If Illinois looks to upset South Florida, Crouch will need to excel and successfully stretch the field in order to create extra holes for the running game.
South Florida’s season had been chaotic, to say the least. USF started the season as 24 point favorites against San Jose State. However, USF started the game down 16 points after the first quarter and had to rally in order to win. In the second game, USF was a 35 point favorite against Stony Brook and only won by 14. The third game for South Florida was supposed to be against UCONN but the game got canceled due to poor weather. This season has been especially nerve-racking for the Bulls due to the various hurricanes that Florida is dealing with. USF players had to deal with both Hurricane Irma and now have to deal with Hurricane Jose. These storms can be quite a distraction for the roster and I am sure that all of the USF players cannot wait for this ordeal to end.
The success of USF starts and ends with quarterback Quinton Flowers. The senior quarterback was sensational last year. He led the Bulls to an 11-2 record with over 4300 total yards and 42 touchdowns. This season, Flowers has picked up where he left off and currently has five total touchdowns with only one interception. Flowers is arguably the fastest quarterback in college football and his ability to generate huge plays with his legs could pose serious issues for Illinois. One area that the Bulls have to improve on is its wide receiver production. Currently, Marquez Valdes-Scantling leads the team with 10 receptions through two games with the next highest total is five. Other receivers are going to need to step up if USF hopes to remain undefeated moving forward.
As for my prediction, I have to side with the Bulls. Illinois has looked impressive so far but South Florida’s offense is something that this Illini unit has never seen before. I expect Flowers to throw and run for several touchdowns as South Florida puts this game away early.
I see South Florida winning this game by about two touchdowns or so before resting Flowers for the last half of the fourth quarter.
Illinois vs. South Florida: Game Time, TV Channel & Viewing Details
Event: Illinois vs. South Florida
Date: Friday, September 15, 2017
Start Time: 7:00 P.M. EST
Location: Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL
How To Watch Illinois vs. South Florida Online & Mobile
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