Today, the University of South Florida lost 55-35 in a instate rival game. In a pack house at Raymond James Stadium, the Bulls made tons of mistakes and beat themselves, as Head Coach Willie Taggart said “We did not play our best game, and that’s what you get.” The Bulls gave up 478 NET yards on 63 carries, which Bulls’ defensive tackle Deadrin Senat said during interview time “poor tackling hurt us and it has to get better.” Now, we can dwell on the negative parts of the game and who did not play well, but let’s focus on the positive outcomes and standouts in the loss.
First, D’Ernest Johnson stepped up big time after Marlon Mack and Darius Tice went out with injuries, which Taggart said “Mack was sidelined due to being poked in the eye and Tice broke his ankle.” Johnson led the group in today’s game by carrying the football for a tough 82 yards on eight attempts. Also, he scored three rushing touchdowns and contributed in the return game (two returns 21 yards) and passing game (two catches, 13 yards). Not to start a controversy, but Johnson should get a chance to see more snaps with the first team.
Interestingly, Jonathan Hernandez had a fantastic game for the Bulls, as the punter gave the Bulls defense a chance to make some key stops, so that they could turn over the ball to the offense on a shorter field, but that did not work out. He finished the game by averaging 47.5 yards per punt, which on six punts, his longest was a 54-yard shot and that two fell inside the twenty.
Next, Quinton Flowers and the Bulls passing game was shut down after Quinton Flowers and Rodney Adams connected on an opening drive 84-yard pass that resulted in a touchdown. He was beating the Seminoles with his legs though. He found a way to extend drives by being mobile and finished the game with 18 rushing attempts for 192 yards, which his longest run was 48 yards.
However, the defense did not show up, but some key plays were made, as defensive linemen Mike Love and Bruce Hector recorded sacks. Lastly, the Bull forced and recovered the football.
In addition, Mike Love’s sack was more memorable, due to the fact that is was a big goal line play that forced Florida State to take the three points. Mike Love laid a big shot on Deondre Francois, which was pretty obvious the way Francois did not see him coming from the edge.
Now, on the back side of the defense, the safeties were the only two defenders to really step up to make tackles, as they are the last line of defense. Between Tajee Fullwood and Devin Abraham, both safeties finished the game with a total of 17 tackles.
Finally, the Bulls have to adjust and fix these problems immediately, as they are going to a hostile environment in Cincinnati to face the Bearcats. Bulls defensive captain Auggie Sanchez said “If we dwell on this game and go up to Cincinnati, they will kill us.” So for that, the Bulls will be focused next week and rebound. They are sitting well so far this year at a 3-1 record.