Miami Beach Bowl Overview
Match-Up – University of South Florida (AAC) Vs. Western Kentucky (C- USA)
Spread – Western Kentucky (-2.5)
Location – Marlins Park, Miami, Florida
When -Monday, Dec. 21, 2:30 p.m. ET
Where to Watch – ESPN
South Florida Overview
Record – (8-4)
It had been since 2010 since the Bulls were able to put together a winning season. USF finished second in the AAC this year behind only Temple who they were able to hand their only loss in conference play. USF has been building this team slowly through multiple recruiting classes and it is finally now reaching it’s full potential.
Players to Watch
USF Rushing attack (Marlon Mack and Quinton Flowers) (QB and RB) – This duo rush a combined 368 times, 2156 yards, and 18 touchdowns. They led the Bulls to the 11th Rated Rushing attack in the nation and we certainly the key to the Bulls success this year. As sophomores look forward to hearing about these two players for years to come.
Auggie Sanchez (LB) – As a sophomore linebacker played in all 12 games for the bulls leading the team in both solo tackles (63) and assisted tackles (43). He was 3rd on his team in tackles for loss (8.5) and also had 1 fumble recovery. This USF defense ranks 33rd with Sanchez playing a huge role in that success.
How South Florida Can Win
USF is going to need to rely heavily on their running game and keep the ball out of the hilltoppers hands. USF also will need to play one of their best defensive games of the year as they will be going up against the 6th rated passing offense in the nation.
Western Kentucky Overview
Record – (11-2)
The hilltopers have consistently been an above .500 team sending players to the NFL like Antonio Andrews. They are a team that focuses primarily on offense with players throwing for over 4,000 yards as well as multiple players playing key roles in the ground game.
Players to Watch
Brandon Doughty(QB) – Doughty has been one of the most consistent quaterbacks over the last two years who really gets no recognition. He had a (71.8) completion percentage while throwing for 4,594 yards. He also had one of the best touchdowns (45) to interceptions (7) ratio in the country with (6.43) touchdowns per interception thrown. Doughty will be a name called often during this bowl and possibly on sundays as well. Also has been named C-USA MVP for this current season.
T.J.McCollum (LB) – McCollum is a leader on this defense as a redshirt sophomore. He is second on the team in solo tackles with (63) and first in overall tackles with (100). McCollum leads the team in tackles for loss with (11.5) as well as tallying (3.0) sacks. He is also a guy you could feel comfortable occasionally dropping back into coverage as he has (1) interception and (3) passes defended.
How Western Kentucky Can Win
They need to focus on what they do well. USF has the 61st rated pass defense in the country. While that is not bad it will not hold up well against 6th rated passing offense and 4th rated scoring offense overall in the nation at 44.0 ppg.
Final Prediction – Western Kentucky defeats South Florida 47-29
Lane Kirschner – @themadmansports
Photo Credit – http://wkyufm.org/term/brandon-doughty