USF vs. ECU prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins the matchup between the Bulls and Pirates.
USF vs. ECU Game Preview
When: Saturday, October 8 – 12:00 p.m. ET
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
TV Broadcast: ESPNEWS
South Florida pulled off a major win last weekend in Cincinnati, beating the Bearcats 45-20. Quarterback Quinton Flowers did damage in the air and on the ground, passing for 196 yards and rushing for two touchdowns and 74 yards. Meanwhile, running back Marlon Mack rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns himself.
After a 2-0 start to the season, East Carolina has lost three straight games, including a 47-29 blowout to Central Florida this past Saturday. Five turnovers plagued the Pirates against the Knights, including three combined interceptions by quarterbacks Philip Nelson (1) and Gardner Minshew (2).
What To Know About USF
Flowers has been the oil that makes the offense machine run for the Bulls, throwing for 1,072 yards and rushing for 383 more while combining for 11 total touchdowns. Mack is another option that is nice to have at the running back position, as he has reached the end zone six times so far this season.
The defense has been a problem for South Florida, giving up 439.8 yards and 26.4 points per game. Middle linebacker Auggie Sanchez has been the leader for the defensive unit, recording 48 total tackles along with three sacks.
What to Know About ECU
Will Nelson be able to play quarterback? If not Minshew will have to take control of the Pirates offense after coming into the game last week following Nelson’s head injury. Finding wide receiver Zay Jones (66 receptions, 695 yards, 2 touchdowns) will help the young Minshew settle in if the receiver is able to play. If not, Jimmy Williams and Quay Johnson have both proven to be reliable receivers.
The Pirates defense has been vulnerable, giving up 31.6 points per game while allowing 393.8 yards per game. Stopping Flowers will be the main focus for the East Carolina defensive unit.
Offense: USF. If Mack doesn’t beat you on the ground, Flowers will.
Defense: Tie. Both teams are a little shaky on the defensive side of the ball.
Special Teams: USF. ECU is only 7-for-12 on field goal attempts.
Coaching: USF. Willie Taggart could be a name that pops up on a lot of bigger schools when looking to hire a new coach.
Intangibles: USF. Home field and looking to run its record to 5-1.
Matchup To Watch
Quinton Flowers vs. ECU front seven
Containing Flowers would be big for the Pirates. The linebackers and lineman cannot let him get out of the tackle box or he will run for first down after first down.
USF vs. ECU Betting Odds
Spread: USF -20
USF vs. ECU Prediction
What happened to ECU? They started the season with a big win in Week 2 against NC State, yet have been struggling ever since. The Bulls’ only loss was to FSU, and that game was closer than the 55-35 score indicates. Flowers will have another big day, the ECU offense will turn the ball over a few times, and USF will move one game away from clinching a bowl berth.
USF vs. ECU Score Prediction: USF 38, ECU 17