Rice at USF Prediction - College Football Picks 9/23/23
USF Bulls (1-2) vs Rice Owls (2-1)
Game Info: Saturday, September 23, 2023 at 4:00 pm (Raymond James Stadium)
Betting Odds: USF Bulls +2.5 -- Over/Under: 55.5 Click Here for the Latest Odds
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The Rice Owls will make the trip to Tampa to face the South Florida Bulls in AAC play this weekend from Raymond James Stadium on ESPNU. This will mark the first time Rice and USF face off.
Rice Owls Preview
Rice moved to 2-1 after defeating Texas Southern at home, 59-7. The Owls blitzed TSU after jumping out to a 28-0 first quarter lead, and they’ll look to open conference play on a strong note here. The Rice offense is scoring 37.3 ppg, while passing for 268.0 ypg, rushing for 109.0 ypg, and converting 46.2% of their third downs.
Rice Player Notes
• JT Daniels came through with another strong start last week against Texas Southern, passing for 255 yards and four touchdowns. The longtime college QB followed up his 400-yard performance against Houston well, and he’ll look to get the Owls off to a 3-1 start this weekend. Daniels has passed for 805 yards, with eight touchdowns to three interceptions thru three games.
• Junior back Dean Connors found the endzone for the first time last weekend, and he’s up to 233 all-purpose yards (137 rush, 96 rec) for the season.
• Third-year wideout Luke McCaffrey has scored in each of the first three games, and he leads the team in receptions (11) and receiving yards (171).
• The Rice defense is allowing 28.3 points per game.
South Florida Bulls Preview
South Florida comes in at 1-2 after losing to Alabama at home by two touchdowns, 17-3. The Bulls strapped up the Tide for three quarters, and they’ll look to bring that same energy into conference play. The USF offense is scoring 21.7 ppg, while passing for 162.3 ypg, rushing for 221.0 ypg, and converting 46.2% of their third downs.
USF Player Notes
• Byrum Brown naturally struggled against Alabama, only going 14/28 for 87 yards, with a pick and five sacks taken, but he added 92 yards on the ground as well. The freshman quarterback probably saw the best defense he’s ever faced last week versus the Tide, and he’ll look to turn things around here when Rice comes to town. Brown has thrown for 450 yards, with four touchdowns to three interceptions, and he’s rushed for 275 yards and four more scores thru three starts.
• Florida transfer Nay’Quan Wright leads the backfield in rushing with 214 yards on 41 carries.
• Junior wideout Sean Atkins has caught five passes or more in each of the first three games, and he leads USF in catches (16) and receiving yards (142).
• The South Florida defense has allowed 27.3 points per game.
Rice vs South Florida Trends
• Rice is 3-0 against the spread, with a 2-1 O/U record.
• USF is 1-2 ATS, with a 1-2 over/under record.
Corey’s Free Pick
South Florida played Alabama very well last week, but a lot of that can be attributed to the rare dysfunction in Tuscaloosa right now, and I feel like this is a manageable spot for Rice. The Owls looked good in two games at home, including a win over inner-city rival Houston, and with a trip to Austin already under their belt, this trip to Tampa may not phase them too much. Rice is a veteran team who could make some noise in the AAC this season, and I believe they’ll start conference play on the right note here.