Although they lost, the Bulls played one of their best games of the season against No. 17 Cincinnati last night. The defense came out very strong and smothered the Bearcats’ offense early. In the first half, Cincy was limited to just 46 yards of total offense and a fat goose egg on the score board. Antonio Grier dominated up front with seven total tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack. Despite a questionable pass interference call that took a touchdown off the board for the Bulls, our boys had everything going for them.
“It was a great defensive effort,” Head Coach Charlie Strong said. “Lately we have been playing very well on defense. The guys have been playing with so much energy. But the thing about the guys on defense, it’s about making plays and tackling and getting the ball back. The first half was just a total domination on defense.”
The thorn in the side for the Bulls this game was a poor showing in the kicking game. Spencer Shrader had a game that he would love to forget. He went one for five including a doink off the upright in the final five minutes of the game that would have given the Bulls the lead late in the fourth quarter.
“There’s nothing to say,” Coach Strong said when asked if he said anything to Shrader before the last field goal attempt. “He knows he’s got to line up and go hit it. What’s there to say?”
With only two games left in the season, the Bulls have an uphill battle if they want to make it to a bowl game. The Bulls need victories against both Memphis and UCF to get to six wins on the season. Charlie Strong knows that his days at USF are numbered if he can’t get his seniors to a bowl game. He was visibly upset in his press conference and got a little choked up during his opening statement.
“This one hurts,” Coach Strong said, “and it hurts because we saw a great team effort. Just the way our guys came out with the energy they had and just the way they played from start to finish. We had our opportunities and it was tough just because of the opportunities we had and there’s no blame for anyone. It’s just one of those losses that’s a team loss for everybody. We have two games left and we’ve got to get to a bowl game. Memphis is coming here next week, and we’ve got to be ready to go… then get ready for Central Florida.”