Tampa — Good weather, great day for a college football game, awful result.
Tulane made its way into Raymond James Stadium on Saturday afternoon and stole a 26-point victory over the South Florida Bulls. It was the first time USF dropped two consecutive games since 2015. Saturday was the first time the Bulls dropped consecutive conference games since 2014.
“We played God awful out here,” USF head coach Charlie Strong said.
USF’s first drive started out particularly strong after the Bulls blocked a 41-yard field goal attempt. QB Blake Barnett started things out with a 39-yard rush. An 8-yard rush from Barnett put USF inside of the Tulane ten-yard-line.
A promising drive.
Just like in Houston – the Bulls settled. Two consecutive rushes from Johnny Ford were unsuccessful before Barnett was sacked for a six-yard loss.
Coby Weiss netted a 27-yard field goal.
“We needed to score in the red zone,” Barnett said. “I thought it was a really good drive to start it off. From that point on, it was a lot of details, little things that we should have done better.”
From there, the Green Wave enveloped USF.
Justin McMillan – in his first start at QB for Tulane – netted a 33-yard rushing touchdown to give Tulane the lead toward the end of the first quarter. The Green Wave held the ball for over 11 minutes in the opening period.
Merek Glover netted a 38-yard field goal to put Tulane up by a touchdown.
Powered by a personal foul penalty, Tulane started with excellent field position – which McMillan exploited through a 39-yard pass to Darnell Mooney. Corey Dauphine capped the short drive off with a one-yard touchdown run.
Dauphine netted his second rushing touchdown of the game with a 21-yard strike after Ford muffed a punt. Tulane had the momentum and the huge lead. The Green Wave wasn’t done just yet in the second – a 10-play, 52-yard drive would be capped off with a 24-yard field goal from Glover.
Tulane put up 27 first half points and carried a 24-point lead into the locker room. It held the ball for close to 22 minutes, compared to USF having it for 8.
“You’re down 24 points, it’s really hard to come back from 24 points,” Strong said. “I told them at half time to get that thinking [that USF is a comeback team] out of our heads.”
Things just did not work for USF on Saturday night. Offensively or defensively. It continued after the break. Darius Bradwell darted through a hole and shifted his way to a 73-yard touchdown run to go up by 31, immediately after Barnett was intercepted by Zachery Harris.
Ford sparked some life into the USF offense with a five-yard touchdown run to end the third quarter. Barnett found Darnell Salomon on the left sideline for a 31-yard reception to set up a one-yard touchdown run for the quarterback.
Amare Jones netted an eight-yard rushing touchdown to finish off the scoring for Tulane on Saturday.
“We lost to a good ball club,” said USF DB Ronnie Hoggins. “They came in and ran the ball and we couldn’t stop them. They came in and did what they were supposed to do and was the better team at the end of the day.”
Although the Bulls fell by 26, they outgained the Green Wave 442-429 on Saturday. Barnett went 29-of-49 with 332 yards and an interception. He added 59 on the ground. Tyre McCants had a game high nine receptions for 85 yards. Josh Black delivered a game high ten tackles (two TFL), a sack, and a forced fumble.