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Irish Entertain Bulls Shooting for 20th Consecutive Win at Home

South Florida quarterback Jordan McCloud breaks away from Citadel linebacker Marquise Blount in NCAA college football action Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020, in Tampa, Fla.

Notre Dame’s offense sputtered early and often last week against Duke, but the Irish (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) eventually pulled away to remain unbeaten at home since 2017. They opened as 24.5-point favorites to extend that streak against the Bulls (1-0 SU and ATS), who were also sluggish offensively in a season-opening win over The Citadel.

South Florida Bulls vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  • Date/Time: September 19, 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Notre Dame Stadium
  • TV Coverage: USA
  • Opening Odds: Notre Dame -24.5 | O/U 52.5 (Line History)
  • South Florida vs Notre Dame Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

The secret is out on Notre Dame’s home dominance as the Irish are laying 20-plus points at Notre Dame Stadium for the third straight outing. Notre Dame has covered seven of its last nine games as home chalk of 20 points or more. Early betting action was on the Irish, moving the line to -26 by Sunday night.

South Florida News & Notes

The Bulls were without three starting offensive linemen for undisclosed reasons in their season-opening 27-6 win over The Citadel. USF still managed to run for 302 yards and didn’t commit a turnover, but the Bulls had just 102 passing yards from the tandem of Jordan McCloud and Noah Johnson.

Coach Jeff Scott has told reporters he expects to continue playing both quarterbacks in USF’s first three games before pronouncing a starter in time for the team’s conference opener against Cincinnati next month.

USF’s defense held Citadel’s triple-option attack to just a pair of field goals and 16 first downs as the Bulls went UNDER the total by more than three touchdowns. Dating back to last year, South Florida’s last five games have seen an average of 38.8 points scored, with all of them going UNDER.

Notre Dame News & Notes

Third-year starting QB Ian Book might want to spend this week getting to know his teammates better, because he didn’t look too familiar with some of them in Notre Dame’s opener against Duke. The Fighting Irish went three-and-out on each of their first three possessions and were outgained 151-13 in the first quarter as Book struggled to adjust to a bevy of new talent at the skill positions.

In fact, Book didn’t complete a pass to a receiver until the final minute of the first half. “No spring ball,” coach Brian Kelly explained to the South Bend Tribune. “So it’s not in a situation where he knows exactly where (his teammates) are going to be.” Fortunately, one of those new starters — sophomore running back Kyren Williams — picked up the slack with 112 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Notre Dame’s defense also did its part in prolonging the Irish’s home winning streak to 19 games. The Irish bent but didn’t break in the opening half, allowing just a pair of field goals despite giving up 245 yards, and finished the contest with seven tackles for a loss. It’ll be worth monitoring the health of safety Kyle Hamilton this week after the sophomore left in the second half with an ankle injury.

Betting Pick: Notre Dame -26.5

The Irish have a strong track record in this price range and should be motivated to bring a much better offensive showing after last week’s struggles. Expect Notre Dame to focus on shutting down the USF running attack, and the Bulls won’t be able to pass their way back into the game if they fall behind early.

Shark Bites
  • South Florida is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 September road games.
  • Notre Dame is 19-0 in its last 19 home games (avg. margin 22.0).
  • The UNDER is 5-0 in South Florida’s last 5 games (avg. 38.8).