Saturday’s loss at Memphis was nothing short of a complete shootout. With a final score of 50-59, there were a lot of things that went right for the Bulls, but even more things that could have been better. The big positive from this game, that I have highlighted nearly every week, is the resilience and fight that this team plays with. There have been several occasions throughout this season where we would have given up in previous years, but this team always fights until the clock hits triple zeros.
To add on to the positives, the offense played well outside of a very awkward turnover on our first drive of the game. Byrum Brown arguably played his best game of the year, tallying 457 total yards (100 rushing), and 5 passing touchdowns. This outstanding performance earned Brown yet another AAC Weekly Honor Roll; he is now ranked 6th in total offense in the FBS, and the third highest rushing quarterback in the nation.
Despite starting this game down two scores before we got a true offensive drive, the Bulls’ offense kept rolling, Brown’s efforts were complemented by receivers Sean Atkins (9 receptions, 89 yards, 1 touchdown), Naiem Simmons (2 receptions, 73 yards, 1 touchdown), and Michael Brown-Stephens (5 receptions, 73 yards). It’s promising to see our guys continue to improve every week, and hopefully their chemistry continues to grow for the final three games of the year.
On the other side of things, the defense has taken a few steps back from what we saw earlier in the season. I’m not gonna bring up the statistics of the defense from last season because we all know where we ranked, but it seems to be creeping back on us.
Even Coach Alex Golesh said himself in his weekly presser, “We are at a breaking point on all three sides of the ball where we are saying that the inconsistency is killing us and we are going to play THAT guy”. With such an important three game stretch ahead for the Bulls, now is the time to value the right scheme and personnel that gives us the best chance to win.
With all that being said, the Bulls currently sit at 4-5 on the season, and a bowl game is well within reach. The Bulls may not be at the top of the conference, but we haven’t had our eyes set on a bowl game in a very long time. Therefore, every moment in these final three games matters more than it has in several years.
“It’s been a long time since we were playing meaningful games in November…That’s where we are”. Even with how many things that have been negative in recent weeks, we still control our fate this late in the season. We have dealt with guys having season-ending surgeries, position changes, and much more that has impacted this season in both a positive and negative way, but we have to look at the goal in front of us and go 1-0 every week.”USF Coach Alex Golesh
Rather if you are a fan, student, alumni, player, or coach, the position the Bulls are in right now is thrilling because going bowling is obtainable. We finally come back home this week against our conference opponent, Temple, who sits at 3-6 this season. The Temple Owls return quarterback, E.J. Warner and other skill players we saw last season, so there will be some tendencies we can improve on going into this game. This was a game last season that was a turning point to say the least, and it holds just as much weight this year.
No win will be given at this point of the season and I’m certain Coach Golesh and his staff will do everything possible to earn them. The goal is to go 1-0 every week now that our chances of going to a bowl game rely solely on these next three games. It’s been a lot of highs and lows, and the inconsistency has been detrimental, but order will be enforced and I’m confident that our guys will deliver. We’re on to Temple, and hope to come out with a win at home!