Where do I start? How about one word: Terrible.
The Offense got off to a horrific start to say the least. With less than five minutes burned off the game clock, QB Bobby Eveld botched a fake hand off to RB Marcus Shaw allowing FAU’s Cory Henry to scoop up the ball for the first points of the evening…..
I truly believe the Defense played well, if you ignore the slew of penalties on Aaron Lynch, including a 15-yard face mask that negated Elkino Watson’s TFL. Safety Mark Joyce showed exceptional effort on special teams & finished the contest with 7 solo tackles. Then there’s true Fr. LB Nigel Harris’ (Hillsborough HS/Tampa, FL) stellar performance in his first career start as a Bull. Harris recorded 12 total tackles (6 assisted), one forced fumble & one TFL filling in for injured LB Reshard Cliett.
I feel the need to give a shout out to Spring walk-on turned starter DB Brandon Salinas, who rocks some pretty sweet dreads. Salinas finished the day with two solo tackles & one pass defended. Salinas’ pass defended stat came on a big 3rd & 5 deep shot, where he displayed excellent coverage skills that caught my eye. Salinas also happens to be a great person & you can read more about B-Fye in a piece written by Greg Auman ‘USF cornerback Salinas finds new self in football, rap‘, on Twitter @iB_Fye.
The offensive highlights of the night where shared by RB Marcus Shaw & Penn State QB transfer Steven Bench. With less than 5 minutes left in the 1st quarter, LB DeDe Lattimore picked off FAU QB Jacquez Johnson setting the Bulls up on the FAU 27 yard-line. Bench came in and swiftly fired a 25-yard strike to former walk-on FB Ryan Eppes (Largo HS/Seminole, FL) for the go-ahead TD.
Shaw showed his burst in the 1st quarter with a 44-yard jaunt. Next, Shaw broke off another big one in the 2nd quarter for 41-yards on an option pitch from Bench. Unfortunately the Bulls momentum seemed to come to a screeching halt after Marcus Shaw was stuffed on 4th & goal.
Bench’s 4th quarter ill-advised cross-body, back foot pass turned 75-yard pick six to D’Joun Smith sealed FAU’s 28-10 victory in what has become ‘typical Bulls fashion’. Bench finished with 128-yards on 8/23 (34.7%) passing, one TD, one INT, two sacks & a passer rating of 87.2. Marcus Shaw ended the evening with 159-yards on 22 carries (7.2yds/carry), earning him a spot on the American Athletic Conference Weekly Honor Roll.
There was also a rare siting of former Florida transfer TE Mike McFarland. Bench connected with McFarland for some nice gains & you can expect to see more from those two.
We need to see immediate improvement & it legitimately cannot get any worse. Also, has anyone seen or heard from Lamar Robbins? or Tashon Whitehurst? Hold on tight Bulls fans, it’s going to be another long year if this offense doesn’t start to click.
by Matthew Manuri
Publisher & Editor, SoFloBulls.com | @Mcknurkle