The Bulls fell 31 to 20 to Memphis on the road, dropping USF to 4-6 (3-4) on the year. The loss gives the Bulls their 4th losing season in a row and takes away any chances they had for a bowl game. Things are bad, real bad. The offense is a mess with shuffling quarterbacks and the defense can’t stop their own shadow. Here are my final thoughts after this game.
What a night it was for this unit. They managed 396 total yards as a unit, which is pretty good. They were just 9 for 21 on third down, which is pretty bad. For a run based offense, a grand total of just 95 yards rushing was bad. The unit had the ball for 36 minutes, but the drives usually never ended in touchdowns, instead ending in self-destructing mistakes that killed momentum and ended any chances for offense. The biggest issue on the night though was the shuffling of quarterbacks and the indecision by the coaching staff to stick with one man.
Mike White got the start for the game. He went 21 for 35 for 244 yards, but he was sacked 4 times and left the game late in the 4th quarter after hurting his left leg. White wasn’t awful in this game, but when it seemed the offense was moving a bit, the coaches put in Quinton Flowers for a change of pace. However, they never allowed him to throw, instead running him 2 times for just 4 yards. He had once chance to throw but had no chance. What are they doing? They pulled Flowers during a third down situation and went back to White, shuffling the two quarterbacks and telling the defense what was coming next. It was awful and unacceptable for anyone who actually knows what football is. Steven Bench came in during the 4th quarter and went 6 for 11 for 57 yards and a late touchdown to save face. It would seem Mike White could miss the season finale, leaving Bench and Flowers as the two quarterbacks left for the Bulls to end the year. I can’t wait to see how the coaches screw that shuffle up again.
The run game was held in check for the most part. Marlon Mack had 15 carries for 102 yards with 1 touchdown (8 receptions for 57 yards). Mack went over 1000 yards in his first year with the Bulls, making him the 4th running back in program history to go over that mark. It was a historic day for him, but if it wasn’t for his 75 yard TD run, history wouldn’t have been made. Darius Tice had 7 carries for 8 yards (3 receptions for 18 yards). D’Ernest Johnson had 1 carry for 3 yards (1 for 13 on a reception) and Kennard Swason had 1 carry for a first down (1 catch for 25 yards).
Andre Davis had 4 receptions for 62 yards including his 17th touchdown reception in his career. Sean Price had 1 for 24 yards. Tye Turner had his first grab in his career for 10 yards. Mike McFarland had 4 receptions for 64 yards. Ryshene Bronson had 1 grab for 5 yards (nice to see you again). Deonte Welch had 3 receptions for 23 yards.
The Bulls had points, got some yards, but its still a mess. This coaching staff can’t figure out who is going to be the starting quarterback for the future and the shuffling all the time is not good. Now Mike White is hurt, so no one knows what will come against UCF to end the year. This is not fun.
Another game, another bad outing. The Bulls allowed 470 total yards and allowed Memphis to go 5 for 12 on third downs. They also allowed 238 yards on the ground, again gouging the 3-4 front. Time after time, the Tigers came up to the line fast and made a quick play, catching the Bulls out of position which allowed for big yards against them. Arm tackles and bad angles also hurt the unit for the Bulls, something again that falls on Coach Bresnahan and his coaching staff. The unit doesn’t seem to be progressing and is always out of position on plays. Memphis was able to get to the line fast, the snap, and gash the USF defense so many times in this game. It has been the story we have seen all year and its annoying and frustrating to see every single week.
Chris Dunkley had 4 tackles. Larmar Robbins had 4 tackles (was beaten a few times in coverage). Jamie Byrd led the way with 8 tackles (why is our safety our leading tackler on the year?). Reshard Cliett had 5 tackles, Auggie Sanchez had 5 tackles and Nigel Harris had 4 tackles to round out the top tacklers on the game for the Bulls.
This unit needs so much work and the coaching staff is not getting it done right now. Players are out of position, opponents are running wide open, and the tempo of everyone seems to catch USF off each week. They need a big overhaul and with one more game to round out the year, they won’t get it fast enough.
On special teams, it was a quiet night for USF. Marvin Kloss was 2 for 2 and kept the ball away from the Memphis kick returners. Mattias Ciabatti punted 6 times but averaged just 39.8 yards per kick. Chris Dunkley had one bad decision to fair catch a ball at the 5 yard line, but there were no fumbles, so no harm and no foul from the unit at least from this unit.
The Bulls can’t get a bowl game now and are in their 4th straight losing season. Now they have to contend with UCF on Black Friday as they try to get the upset win a home. What does this team have left in the tank? Can they overcome the odds and get the win at home to end the year? Or will they get hit with the turkey coma from Thanksgiving and get beat up from UCF in what could be an ugly game for the Bulls? The last game of the year is going to be rough for the USF faithful after watching this game. Let’s pray they are able to figure something out and save face in the last game.