The season is now over after USF was shut out for the first time in 5 year, falling to UCF 16 to 10. The Bulls finish the year at 4-8 (3-5), their 4th straight losing season. There is no postseason for this program, just another losing one after a season finale that summed up everything that we have seen all year long. I will keep this ending rant short and direct.
Once again, as it has been all season long, it was awful. The unit managed just 200 yards of total offense and was shut out for the first time in about 5 years. There was nothing. Nothing in the passing game and nothing from the running game. The offensive line was awful, allowing pressure all game long and Mike White took a beating in the backfield. It was the sum of everything wrong that has happened all year with this unit and it was the cherry on the awful cake that was 2014.
Mike White was 11 for 25 for 107 yards and was sacked twice. He took a beating in the backfield, like he has all year and was eventually pulled from the game. The line was awful and could not protect him, he didn’t deserve the punishment he took during the game. Steven Bench was 7 for 13 for 88 yards, coming late in the game, but he missed wide open throws down the field, the story of the offense for the entire game.
The running game was not effective at all. Marlon Mack had 11 carries for just 32 yards (1 grab for 3 yards). Darius Tice had 5 carries for 3 yards. The Bulls tried to go for it on 4th down late in the game with Tice on the ground, but they couldn’t open a lane for him to get a yard. It was a painful game to watch, especially for the ground game which is suppose to be the strength of the offense, to fail so miserably in this game.
Andre Davis had 6 grabs for 57 yards to end his USF career. Mike McFarland had 3 receptions for 68 yards in his last career game was well. Sean Price had 2 receptions for 25 yards. Deonte Welch had 2 receptions for 13 yards in his final game as a USF Bull. The receivers just couldn’t create in the open field with the USF quarterbacks on their backs or running for their lives in this game. There was just nothing to produced from the entire unit in this game.
The entire unit has struggled all year. From the playcalling to the execution of plays, it has been awful all year and it was summed up in this game. No rushing attack, bad offensive line play, no consistency from the quarterback, and lack of points. This unit has a lot of work to do to be a decent DI offense. Hopefully with another offseason, some shifting with the coaching staff, and some work in the weight room for another offseason will make some progress for them going into 2015.
The defense played well in the final game. They kept Justin Holman in check for just 150 yards passing in the game. They got pressure and forced some turnovers in the game, but there was nothing from the offense to help them. As it has been all year for the unit, they gave the offense chances with good field position, but they always seemed to be let down in games. It happened in this one once again.
Nigel Harris had 9 tackles with 2 TFL. Jamie Byrd had 7 tackles and an interception. Todd Chandler had 5 tackles and Elkino Watson had 5 tackles with 1 TFL in their game of their careers. Rahmon Swain had 4 tackles and Chris Dunkley had 2 tackles in their final game of their careers as well.
Overall, the unit played well. They made plays, forced turnovers, and set up the offense. They just had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard at the end of the game. The unit will need to work hard in the offseason with so many seniors leaving once again. The unit is young and there is a lot of talent to look forward to next year.
Mattias Ciabatti had 4 punts that averaged 38.8 yards per punt. Marvin Kloss missed a 44-yard field goal, his last kick as Bull. Chris Dunkley had 3 kick returns, totaling 84 yards on the day. The unit tried to execute a 4th down play on a faked field goal, but the missed a wide open throw. Overall, the unit didn’t hurt the team, but they didn’t put up points or help with critical plays. The Bulls will have to replace Marvin Kloss and Dunkley next year, not the easiest thing to do moving forward.
First thoughts on the off-season
At this point, Coach Taggart isn’t going anywhere. There will probably be some shifts in the coaching staff, which are needed. The fan base is upset but we have to get use to Taggart and what he is building with this program. Its been another long year, but as much as we kick and scream, we are all stuck. If people are dreaming Mark Harlan will fire Taggart and overhaul everything, keep dreaming or break out your wallet. The reality is, this team was not this year and in the final game all of the issues came up big again. It is not fun, but its our reality we are stuck in now.
I will have a lot more on the entire season, recapping the season in general, the positions groups and each player on their season totals. It will be a very extensive review, but will help to reveal the state of the program and what 2015 will be.