The Bulls, 7-4 (5-2), routed the Bearcats last night, 65 to 27 in a huge game that showed how far the team has come. The offense was clicking, the defense was making huge plays, and it all resulted in a huge victory for this USF team that continues to impress.
In the first half, it was a crazy game for the Bulls as they went up 51 to 3 at the half. USF attacked the Bearcats offense both throwing the ball deep to Rodney Adams and then twice to Sean Price for scores, but also on the ground. Marlon Mack scored two touchdowns and the defense did the rest with a strip fumble and 3 interceptions, including a pick 6 from Deatrick Nichols. At the half, Emilio Nadelman hit a career long 49-yard field goal to make it 51 to 3 to cap off one of the most impressive halves of football I have ever seen (or any of the USF fan base have seen). USF held the edge at 381 to 190 in total offense and it was all USF at that stage.
In the second half, Cincinnati was able to put some points up right after the break, but the Bulls kept piling it on late. Steven Bench came into the game late and ran and threw for a touchdown, ending the night early for Flowers after he, along with Mack, Price, Adams, and others put the Bearcats down for good. This was just a huge game from all sides of the ball. This was just fun from start to finish.
What a night. The Bulls racked up 561 yards of offense, attacking both on the ground and through the air. Flowers was 9 for 15 for 165 yards and 4 touchdowns (2 interceptions) he also had 6 carries for 49 yards. Steven Bench saw his first action in a long time, going 4 for 5 for 35 yards with a touchdown throw and had 4 carries for 25 yards and scored another touchdown on senior night. Marlon Mack had 11 carries for 109 yards with 2 touchdowns as he continues to put up the historic numbers. Darius Tice had 15 carries for 103 yards and D’Ernest Johnson had 11 carries for 71 yards as everyone got in the game to carry the ball (it was just that kind of night for the Bulls). Rodney Adams had 3 catches for 85 yards with a touchdown. Sean Price had a career night with 2 catches for 52 yards and 2 touchdowns. AJ Legree and Jordan Reed caught a touchdown pass each. It was a beat down and it was fun to watch.
The Bulls allowed 430 yards in the game, but most of that came late in the game. From the start, the USF defense forced turnovers and big plays. They totaled 7 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 4 interceptions, 2 forced fumble and 2 fumble recoveries. Auggie Sanchez had 8 tackles in the game to lead the unit. Deatrick Nichols had 8 tackles with 2 interceptions and took one for a touchdown as he continues to play at a very high level at corner. Eric Lee had 4 tackles with a strip sack that led to a fumble recovery (also led to a score right after that) as he put together a huge day on senior night (many did). Bruce Hector had 3 tackles including 2 sacks in the game. The unit did their job, shut down the Bearcats and let the Bulls offense to get on the field and take over the game. It was incredible to watch.
It was a solid night for the unit. Mattias Ciabatti had 2 punts for an average of 41.5 yards per kick (it was a quiet night for him). Emilio was 1 for 1 on field goals, hitting a career long of 49 yards (did have an extra point blocked, but it was not a big loss). D’Ernest Johnson had 4 kick returns for a total of 181 yards. The coverage units did a solid job and kept the Bulls in solid field position for the entire game.
So, now that we have recovered, the Bulls still have work to do next Thursday night as they prepare for that huge game at Central Florida. But, before we prep for that, let this one sink in for a just little bit more. It was so much fun.