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SMU (4-5) at South Florida (2-7)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 23, 7 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Raymond James Stadium (66,321) -- Tampa, Florida. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: SMU 3-2, USF 1-5. Away Record: SMU 1-3, USF 1-2. Neutral Record: SMU 0-0, USF 0-0. Conference Record: SMU 3-2, USF 2-3. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: The South Florida Bulls will play their final home game of the season on Saturday afternoon, as they are set to do battle with the SMU Mustangs in an American Athletic Conference clash at Raymond James Stadium.

Since starting the season at 1-4, SMU has turned things around by winning three of its last four games to pull to 4-5 overall. Last Saturday, the Mustangs hosted Connecticut and came away with an impressive 38-21 triumph to push their AAC ledger back over .500 (3-2).

USF has not fared as well recently, as a 23-10 loss to Memphis last weekend serves as its third in a row and dropped it to 2-7 overall (2-3 AAC). The Bulls have not felt the home-field love of late, having lost nine of their last 11 matchups in Tampa.

This tilt marks the first-ever meeting between SMU and USF on the football field.

SMU has one of the top offenses in the AAC, scoring greater than 32 points per game, and it has been especially strong in recent weeks, as it has put up 41.6 points over the past five games.

The Mustangs run a pass-oriented offense, and Garrett Gilbert has proven that he is more than capable of getting the job done. He is completing 65.7 percent of his passes for 3,390 passing yards (fifth-most in the nation) with 21 touchdowns and only six interceptions.

Gilbert's volume has allowed SMU to have the top two pass-catchers in the AAC. Jeremy Johnson has reeled in 87 passes for 925 yards and six touchdowns, while Darius Joseph has 79 receptions for 691 yards and five scores. Keenan Holman ranks fifth in the conference in receptions (57), and is the team's best big- play threat with 895 yards (15.7 ypc) and eight touchdowns.

The running game oftentimes gets forgotten in this offense, as its 101.1 rushing yards per game ranks 114th in the nation. Gilbert (261 yards, six TDs) is the team's top rusher, and K.C. Nlemchi has 198 yards and a score on 37 carries.

While SMU's offense can keep pace with almost anyone, the poor play of its defense (38.1 ppg) is the primary reason it's sitting with a losing record. The unit allows opposing offenses to convert third downs at a 42 percent clip, and it has forced just 12 turnovers.

Randall Joyner has a team-best 74 tackles to go with three forced fumbles. Kevin Pope, Stephon Sanders, Jonathan Yenga and Beau Barnes all have at least 8.5 TFL, while Barnes leads the way with 5.0 sacks.

USF lives at the other end of the spectrum in terms of offensive production, as it ranks last in the AAC in both scoring (14.8 ppg) and yardage (263.7 ypg).

The Bulls have started four quarterbacks this season and haven't found luck with any of them. Mike White (514 yards, three TDs) is the only signal caller on the team with a completion percentage over 50 percent (.592), although he struggled mightily in last week's loss with four interceptions.

Marcus Shaw missed a pair of games earlier in the season, but when he's healthy he is the team's top playmaker, as he has amassed 643 yards and two touchdowns on 115 carries.

Andre Davis has been able to overcome the revolving door under center to piece together a solid campaign, as he has caught 36 passes for 521 yards and two touchdowns.

Even though the Bulls rank fourth in the conference in total defense (364.2 ypg), they have not been able to keep opponents off the scoreboard (30.3 ppg).

DeDe Lattimore is one of the top linebackers in the league, as he not only leads the team in tackles (69) but he has racked up 5.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception. Mark Joyce (53 tackles) has two picks, and Ryne Giddins has four of the team's 16 sacks.

Even though SMU has not played well on the road (1-3), Raymond James Stadium has been far from a safe haven for USF, which is just 1-5 at home this season. With the Mustangs trending in the right direction, they should be able to use their potent passing attack to stick it to the slumping Bulls.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: SMU 31, South Florida 24

11/20 11:13:24 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
ORL 83
CHA 98
8:00pm Tonight
SAV
NCCU
 
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
CAR
 
Final
PHI 2
UTA 6
 
1:05pm Today
MIA
FIU
 
1:05pm Today
DET
FLASO
 
Final
HOU 105
CLE 103
Final
ORL 83
CHA 98
Final
BOS 101
GSW 106
Final
IND 94
PHI 74
Final
SAC 99
POR 110
Final
LAL 101
OKC 108
Final
DEN 92
NOP 99
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
TOR
 
7:30pm Tonight
BRK
GSW
 
7:30pm Tonight
MIA
PHO
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
LAC
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
NOP
 
Final
NIAG 57
FAIR 56
 
Final
PETE 68
IONA 60
 
Final
RIDE 59
MAR 49
 
Final
MAN 69
QUIN 65
 
Final
UCONN 81
SMU 73
Final
CAL 73
ORST 56
Final
HOU 72
SFLA 55
Final
PROV 77
MARQ 66
Final
WISC 68
MSU 61
Final
MON 63
SIENA 57
 
Final
WAKE 69
PITT 66
Final
STAN 70
OREG 73
Final
OSU 65
PURD 61
Final
COL 87
ARST 81
Final
UCLA 72
WASU 67
7:00pm Tonight
TEX
BAY
 
7:00pm Tonight
SYR
UVA
 
7:30pm Tonight
NCAT
COOK
 
7:30pm Tonight
SHSU
CARK
 
7:30pm Tonight
DELST
HAMP
 
7:30pm Tonight
HOW
NORST
 
7:30pm Tonight
NWST
SELA
 
8:00pm Tonight
STEPH
INCWORD
 
8:00pm Tonight
MCNST
LAM
 
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SAV
NCCU
 
8:00pm Tonight
NO
NICST
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARKPB
JST
 
8:30pm Tonight
ALAST
PVU
 
8:30pm Tonight
ALAAM
TXSOU
 
9:00pm Tonight
VT
BC
 
9:00pm Tonight
MVSU
GRAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
ISU
OKLA
 
Final
WIN 5
LOS 2
Final
PIT 5
CLB 3
Final
FLA 4
TAM 3
Final
WAS 4
TOR 0
Final
DAL 1
ANA 3
Final
VAN 6
STL 5
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
NAS
 
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
CAR
 
10:00pm Tonight
SJS
MON