Sitting second in the Eastern Division behind No. 21 Temple, this USF squad is an athletic team riding a ton of momentum into Annapolis. The Bulls will certainly be another stiff test for Navy and the triple option attack on Saturday.
Season so far
The Bulls started the season 1-3, but a closer look at the losses suggested that this was a team just waiting to break out. South Florida was beaten by Florida State of the ACC and Maryland of the Big Ten, before giving 7-0 Memphis its biggest test to date. South Florida was actually leading the Tigers at the break, before falling by a touchdown 24-17. This is to the same Memphis team that beat Mississippi by double digits.
Since that game the Bulls have been lighting it up. They have averaged 37 points over the last three games, all wins, to put their record at 4-3 overall and 2-1 in AAC ply. The latest victim was SMU who the Bulls dominated in all phases on their way to a 38-14 victory.
Injuries and Suspensions
The biggest question mark for South Florida this week is the health of starting quarterback Quinton Flowers. Flowers is probable for the Navy game with a thigh injury suffered against SMU. The sophomore is a true dual threat option who has thrown for 1,038 yards and 10 touchdowns, while completing 60-percent of his passes, and has also rushed for over 550 yards and seven scores. If he cannot make the game because of his injury, then the whole picture changes for an upset minded USF squad.
USF is also dealing with a couple of legal issues that have affected the team. Freshman receiver Deangelo Antione was arrested on Sunday on charges of possessing a controlled substance. He was immediately suspended from all football activities. Antoine has not played this year, but incidents like this are never good when building up to a game. Antoine is actually the third player to be suspended from the team this month after reserve offensive lineman Benjamin Knox and cornerback Lamar Robbins were arrested and charged with discharging a firearm on campus after the homecoming win over Syracuse.
If Flowers starts as expected then the challenge will be containing him and not letting him add to the 17 touchdowns he has accounted for in 2015. Sophomore tailback Marlon Mack (also a doubt for the game) has an additional 689 rushing yards and the two make for a potent backfield that can hurt Navy if the Mids are not assignment sound and converging on the ball carrier. Aggression on defense will be key as the unit aims to continue its ranking (19th in scoring defense) against the Bulls.