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2021 USF Football: #TNSF The New South Florida USF Bulls Football

Despite Late Efforts Bulls Come Up Short to #13 Florida Gators

The Bulls faced off against the 13th ranked Florida Gators. Though they gradually improved, the team's efforts were not quite enough. Read more to see what happened in USF's game on 9/11.

On Sept. 11, 2021, the Bulls entered Raymond James Stadium for the first time this season as they took on the Florida Gators (#13).

In front of 66,426 fans, one of South Florida’s largest home crowds ever, the Bulls continued to prove that their squad is on the rise and is improving.

Despite losing to the Gators 42-20, the final score does not tell the narrative of what actually went well for USF.

Jaren Mangham

Running Back Jaren Mangham had quite the outing for the Bulls. On eight rushing attempts, he totaled 29 yards (3.6 yards/carry) and was responsible for South Florida’s first two touchdowns of the game (and season).

It took the Bulls up until there was 4:41 remaining in the 3rd Quarter, but once Mangham crossed the goal line for USF’s first score, the entire stadium shook due to the amount of noise after the touchdown.

Timmy McClain

Another week into the season and here is Quarterback Timmy McClain being mentioned in yet another game-recap article.

Towards the beginning of the 3rd Quarter, McClain was substituted into the game for Starter Cade Fortin. Once McClain entered the game, the tide shifted for the Bulls’ offense. He completed 4-10 passes for 83 yards (8.3 yards/completion) and continued to help the USF offense storm down the field. He also carried the ball eight times for 11 yards.

McClain, though he has only played in two College Football games, has shown many flashes as to why he deserves to be the Bulls’ starting Quarterback. He’s intelligent, he has a high football IQ, he’s fast, and most importantly, he makes USF football more enjoyable to watch for the fans.

Do not be surprised if McClain is named South Florida’s Starting Quarterback prior to their next game against FAMU on Sept. 18th.

Defense

Even though most people would not be able to tell from the score, the USF Defense had a lot going for them against the Gators.

Safety Brock Nichols and Defensive Back Mekhi LaPointe each recorded and interception in the game. Both of the interceptions were against Florida’s Starting Quarterback, Emory Jones. Nichols returned his for 38 yards and LaPointe returned his for 50 yards.

The Bulls’ leading tackler was Safety Vincent “Smoke” Davis who recorded eight total tackles. Linebackers Andrew Mims, Antonio Grier, and Dwayne Boyles each had seven total tackles too. Defensive Tackle, Blake Green, tallied two tackles for loss as well as one sack.

Obviously, the USF Defense was not perfect. There were many plays that lead to blown coverage in the Secondary leading to large gains on offense by the Gators. In the 1st Quarter, the Gators began one of their drives on USF’s 25-yard line. After a deep pass, they scored on a 75-yard touchdown with absolutely no Bulls in the vicinity of the Wide Receiver.

Though the Bulls are clearly improving, it’s plays like this one that makes fans scratch their heads.

Offense

The Offense, once McClain entered the game, was quite fun to watch. McClain is not afraid to take shots down the field if need be. Late in the game, on a drive that had the Bulls starting at their own 1-yard line, McClain threw a laser down the field to Wide Receiver Xavier Weaver for a gain for 44 yards. This play had all Bulls fans screaming with excitement.

Weaver ended the game with two catches for 68 yards, Wide Receiver Sean Atkins brought in two catches for 43 yards, and Wide Receiver Omarion Dollison tallied three catches for 27 yards.

Speaking of Weaver, on a trick play, he just barely overthrew Running Back Kelley Joiner on a play that had Joiner nearly wide open. Joiner would have scored, but the ball missed his fingertips by an inch. I give Offensive Coordinator Charlie Weis Jr. credit for not being scared to pull some tricks out of his bag.

Special Teams

South Florida’s Special Teamers have been nothing but consistent thus far. Kicker Spencer Shrader was 2/2 on field goals with his longest being 32 yards. Punter Andrew Stokes punted seven times for a total of 278 yards (39.7 yards/punt) with his longest being 52 yards.

I am not sure what it is, but from my view in the Press Box Stokes’ punts seem to look like they are curving out of bounds but always manage to hang long enough to stay inbounds. The Aussie Punter has been doing some great things for the Bulls.

Moving Forward

 The Bulls’ next game will take place at home against the FAMU Rattlers on 9/18.

Some posing questions for USF’s next game: Will QB Timmy McClain make his 1st career Start? Will the Bulls take their 1st victory of the season?

Make sure to tune in to the USF vs. FAMU on Sept. 18th on ESPN+ at 7PM to figure out the answers to these questions.

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