Facebook Twitter

Why South Florida could be tough out for BYU

The Bulls have added more than a dozen transfers to their roster, including former Baylor QB Gerry Bohanon

SHARE Why South Florida could be tough out for BYU
South Florida quarterback Timmy McClain escapes the tackle of BYU defensive lineman Fisher Jackson in Provo.

South Florida quarterback Timmy McClain escapes the tackle of BYU’s Fisher Jackson at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. The Cougars and Bulls meet in the 2022 season opener Saturday in Tampa.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

This article was first published in the Cougar Insiders newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox each Tuesday night.

Kalani Sitake just put his troops through a full week of prep for the trip to Tampa, Florida, to play the Bulls of the University of South Florida on Saturday. It will be the opening of the season for both teams. Kickoff is 2 p.m. MDT. Here is a list of links to our camp stories and headlines:

  • Status of two receivers unclear for the opener (Jay Drew)
  • What about season starts is so unique (Dave McCann)
  • Speed: Sitake believes corners are real deal (Dick Harmon)
  • What BYU is expecting from USF (Jay Drew)
  • How Jaren Hall is viewing the season (Jay Drew)
  • What should fire up BYU, Utah, USU (Dick Harmon)
  • Is latest Hannemann the best? (Jay Drew)
  • Why BYU defense will be better in 2022 (Jay Drew)
  • Katoa unfazed by RB competition (Jay Drew)
  • All you need to know about OL (Jay Drew)

Cougar Insiders predictions

Make a prediction about the BYU vs. USF game and explain the reasons for your pick.

Jay Drew: From the moment this game appeared on BYU’s schedule, I predicted it would be a difficult, hot, humid game for the Cougars. I still think that way, even though some early weather prognostications in Tampa call for morning rain showers and slightly cooler, less humid conditions in the afternoon. The game kicks off at 4 p.m. local (EDT) time.

South Florida has plenty of returning starters, and outstanding athletes, to make this game very competitive. In the end, I think Jaren Hall is the difference — in a close one. 

Prediction: BYU 28, South Florida 24.

Dick Harmon: I think BYU is underranked at No. 25 and USF is not even ranked. But it is a road game through two time zones and that has always been a challenge for the Cougars. USF has brought in more than a dozen transfers, most from P5 schools, including the QB from Baylor. I think they will be very tough.

BYU’s offense should be able to move the football, especially if Puka Nacua and Gunner Romney are cleared to play. I expect the offensive line to wear down USF in the second half. BYU’s defense is improved and it would be very disappointing if Ilaisa Tuiaki’s side of the ball doesn’t make more plays and get more stops. 

Prediction: BYU 27, USF 21.

Cougar tales

BYU’s women’s volleyball got off to a strong 4-0 start on its home court last week but what drew national headlines were allegations from a Duke female player that she was harassed with racial slurs. BYU really took a hit nationally for this allegation and a nonstudent fan has been banned from attending future athletic events. The school also moved students in the SFH from behind the server area. Here is my column on the incident.

From the archives

From the Twitterverse

Extra points


Comments from Deseret News readers

I really like BYU’s philosophy of recruiting based on athletic ability and certain criteria for each position instead of just a star rating.

Don’t get me wrong, high star ratings aren’t a bad thing, but they don’t tell the whole story. So often you see players who look great in high school, receive lots of high ratings and are recruited heavily, then flop once they reach the collegiate level. Take USC for example. Every year they bring in 5-star talent, but they have struggled to put together a good team in recent years.

Recruiting primarily based on athletic ability is a great way to make sure that your players can compete at a higher level once you develop their football skills and nuances more. Development is more important than pure star ratings.

Just look at Tyler Allgeier. He was a PWO that was not recruited because he supposedly lacked the ratings and talent of other players. BYU took his athleticism and then improved his football skills, leading to arguably the best running back in BYU history.

Hoping for a great season for the Cougars and that they will continue to develop their players well.

— Cougarfan101

(USF has) 17 starters returning, and a stellar QB. It’s why I keep saying this BYU offense better not be overrated and must deliver because they are going to need it to win. BYU rarely wins back East, and this game has the makings of an upset. BYU always loses a game they shouldn’t. This might be the one. I watched the game from last year, and once their coaches adjusted, BYU could not move the ball as well. With an offseason to prepare, USF will be so ready.

Prepare like it’s a PAC-12 game from last year and they can take care of business. Everyone beat that conference last year. Even the MW thought it was a breeze.

— RR

Up next

Sept. 1 | 7 p.m. | Soccer | vs. Alabama | @Provo

Sept. 1 | 7 p.m. | Volleyball | Utah State | @Provo

Sept. 3 | 2 p.m. | Football | vs. South Florida | @Tampa, Florida


Baylor quarterback Gerry Bohanon throws a pass during victory over BYU Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Waco, Texas. Bohanon will get another crack at the Cougars on Saturday, this time as the starting quarterback at South Florida.

Ron Jenkins, Associated Press