2018 USF Football: A New Era

Bullisitic: The Aftermath of Tulane’s Tampa Trouncing

Vegas is currently giving the Cincinnati Bearcats -13.5 points over the struggling South Florida Bulls (7-2, 3-2) who have dropped two consecutive conference contests after starting the season 7-0. Cincinnati (8-1, 4-1) bounced back after falling to Temple in overtime two weeks ago by thrashing Navy 42-0 last Saturday. As one would presume, the USF fanbase is far from head over heels about the Bulls coaching staff and Strong’s frustration rose to the forefront during the AAC Teleconference… it was really awkward live…

I’m going to skip that and move on.

“We played God awful out here,” USF head coach Charlie Strong said in the post-game press conference. Tulane won in the state of Florida for the first time since 1977, snapping a 13-game losing streak here  in the land of palm trees and orange groves. “For us to come out and play the way we played, it’s on the coaches,” Strong added. “I told our players that (in practice Thursday). I saw it coming… even today, during pregame warmups I said I know we’re not ready to play, we’re not focused.”

USF was without several key players, including linebacker Khalid McGee, linebacker Nico Sawtelle, tight end Mitchell Wilcox, wide receiver Randall St. Felix and safety Mekhi LaPointe. Being without five-plus starters forced Charlie Strong to insert three true freshmen into USF’s offensive and defensive starting lineups, which also featured two redshirt freshman and 10 first year starters. Long story short: the team we saw Saturday afternoon was extremely young, inexperienced and it was crystal clear.

Defensive end Josh Black finished with a career high with 10 tackles and grabbed his team-leading fifth sack of the season, increasing his career total to 7.5. Defensive Tackle Brandon Boyce set a new career high recording five tackles Saturday while also posting 0.5 tackles for loss. The Duke transfer has bolstered a depleted Bulls defensive unit the last two games. True freshman linebacker Dwayne Boyles also added eight tackles and safety Naytron Culpepper snagged five tackles in his second game back from suspension, both were USF career marks for the respective player.

The Bulls out gained the Green Wave 442-429 on Saturday and still managed to only muster 15 points. “We needed to score in the red zone,” Blake Barnett said during the post-game press conference. “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.” The redzone attack was once again like a mosquito bite to the opposition, as offensive coordinator Sterling Gilbert continued his coined half back dive marathon…. evoking a sudden feeling of nausea that swept Bulls nation instantaneously… then there was this gem due to sun interference that led to seven more points for Tulane:

and this really helped…….

“You’re down 24 points, it’s really hard to come back from 24 points,” Charlie Strong said. “I told them at half time to get that thinking [that USF is a comeback team] out of our heads.”

Quarterback Blake Barnett finished 29 of 49 (59.2%) with 332 passing yards on, his third 300+ yard outing in 2018. Barnett now needs just 590 yards to post USF’s first 3,000-yard passing season (2,410).

Wide receiver Tyre McCants finished with nine catches for 85 yards, moving up to fourth on USF’s career receptions list (119). Andre Davis owns the school record with 153 catches from 2011-14, therefore McCants only needs to average 8.5 receptions (34 total) in the Bulls final four games to own the crown. McCants is currently third in USF history with 1,777 career receiving yards, just 359 yards away from Andre Davis’ program record (2,136). Here’s Ocho’s dirty catch highlight:

The point Bulls fans… everything went wrong that could possibly go wrong. Stay tough, ride with your team and cheer loud for your YOUNG USF squad tonight vs. Cincinnati in this frigid weather. I know we will be so be sure to stay positive regardless through injury and frigid temperatures. As always, Go Bulls!!

by Matthew Manuri
Publisher & Editor, SoFloBulls.com | @Mcknurkle

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