This is the best word that I can use to describe the USF program at this point in time as we head into the back half of the Bulls 2022 football campaign.
USF fans have been waiting patiently for the wins to start coming in. It doesn’t matter by how much. Just. Win. The talent exists on the current roster. As much as I won’t sing and dance the night away about this team being close against UF and Cincinnati, clearly this Bulls team has the talent to win against quality FBS programs.
It doesn’t matter what level of football you play at. You don’t win by just getting lucky.
You also don’t come close to winning by just sheer luck unless you’re playing an opponent that doesn’t have nearly the same level of talent that you do.
After pondering my thoughts hours later from my departure at Nippert Stadium, I sit back and try to find the words to type in this article.
Let’s be honest with ourselves, what else is there more to say?
Oh wait, I got it… JUST WIN BABY.
Winning Solves Everything
Plain and simple. As much as I want to shake my fist at the sky and lose my marbles after watching inconsistent football play throughout a season, when the wins come, everyone rests much easier.
Go on and hit me with the Charlie Strong quote of “Weren’t we 7-0?” Yes, it felt inevitable that the train might start going off of the tracks before the 2018 Bulls started to play tougher competition a few years back.
But at least the team found a way to win.
As you saw on Saturday (and a handful of other times over the past 2 1/2 years with Coach Jeff Scott at helm), that has not been the case. Close, but no cigar city.
Do me a favor and mark your calendars for this matchup. Tulane vs. USF on Saturday October 15th at 4 PM is a Bulls game that you have to watch. Ditch the plans that you have with your loved ones. If they know a thing or two about USF football, they’ll understand. (I promise, kinda…)
It’s been long overdue for this team to kick it into gear. Even so, let me give you a horse racing analogy that might ring home if you are familiar with the sport.
As a racehorse and its jockey head into the final furlong of a race, the rider understands that the end is near, but might not be ready to push the horse to its fullest extent just yet in order to get ahead of the rest of the competition.
As they get closer and closer to the finishing post, the jockey senses that now is the time to kick it into high gear.
For CJS and Co., that time is now for the USF program.
Get your popcorn ready…
On to next week against Tulane pic.twitter.com/SxW7SFGuXW— SoFloBulls (@SoFloBulls) October 8, 2022
Game Recap against Cincinnati
In what feels like forever since a Bulls team has come out of the gate swinging, the Bearcats found themselves in a 10-0 hole early in the 1st quarter after a Brian Battie 22-yard touchdown and Spencer Shrader 21-yard FG put the Bulls on top.
Cincinnati would find itself shortly after with Bearcats QB Ben Bryant throwing for 2 TDs to give Cincy a 14-10 lead. From there, USF would respond with a BEAUTIFUL pass from Gerry Bohanon to Xavier Weaver where the Bulls looked the part of a team that could take control of the game at any point in the contest. USF would elect to stay conservative before half, having the opportunity to push the ball down the field one more time before leading 17-14 at half. Would USF come to regret this decision at the end?
TD catch No. 1️⃣ on the season for @thtkidzayy— USF Football (@USFFootball) October 8, 2022
📺: https://t.co/PrWEmVE23s#HornsUp 🤘 | #US2F pic.twitter.com/gM6QLn49YS
RB Charles McClelland for the Bearcats really put it together in the second half for the Cincy offense, accounting for the Bearcats two TDs in the second half where the back ran for 179 yards on the day.
One of the best plays of the game came from Bulls LB Davon Hicks who made a crucial stop on 4th and 1 at the USF 12 to hand the ball back to the USF offense which would ultimately result in another Bohanon to Weaver connection for a TD. Talk about a momentum changer, you could feel the energy change in the stadium with the Bulls putting their foot down before the game went further in Cincinnati’s favor.
The Bearcats would eventually find a way to reclaim the lead in the 4th quarter with another McClelland run, putting Cincy up 28-24 before the final drive for the USF offense would result in heartbreak fashion where the Bulls were unable to pick up one yard on 4th and 1 from the Cincinnati 25. Cincy would run out the last 5:12 seconds on the clock with the Bulls losing 28-24 to the 24th ranked Bearcats.
Post-game interviews were conducted with Jeff Scott, Xavier Weaver, and Gerry Bohanon. All in all, the energy in the room from the three individuals displayed a group of men that are so ready to see a different end result than what has been experienced over the last six weeks (or number of years in Scott and Weaver’s case).
I also saw a group of men that care deeply about the USF program and as a former alumnus, I’m proud of these men that represent our university. Better days are ahead USF family, we just haven’t seen them yet…
Scott starting to get choked up talking about the fight that the team has had through this season. Was missing 14 scholarship players today against Cincy— SoFloBulls (@SoFloBulls) October 8, 2022
All eyes are on the Bulls on Saturday in Tampa for the scheduled kickoff at 4:00 PM at Ray Jay…