TAMPA, Fla. —- The University of South Florida football team’s brief moment in the sun only lasted for one offense series in the first quarter.
Miami University took the opening kickoff and moved the ball down the field 77 yards using seven plays and scored a touchdown. The Bulls did not let that upset them they just came back down the field in five plays and covered 75 yards directed by Bulls’ quarterback Steven Bench leading the Bulls to end zone.
That was the only bright series of the game for the Bulls.
Miami University continued their perfect record by defeating the winless Bulls 49-21, making the University of South Florida 2013 football season officially-bleak.
The No.15 team in the nation, the Hurricanes’ offense, defense and special team play proved to be too much talent for the Bulls under the blue sky, Saturday afternoon in front of 47,562 inside Raymond James Stadium.
“We played well, we were efficient on offense,” Miami University football coach Al Golden said about the Hurricanes performance. “You know Stephen (Morris) did an unbelievable job, for the lack of practice he had. I thought he was efficient and we ran the ball really well.”
“We know they’re a big-play team with a lot of play action on first and second down,” University of South Florida football coach Willie Taggart said. “We still didn’t do what we’re supposed to do and we let guys get behind us. We gave up too many big plays”
Taggart said during the bye week that he is looking for playmakers.
The Bulls running back Marcus Shaw is proving to be that playmaker Taggart is looking for, Shaw did all that he could do to make plays but Bench’s ability to play with any kind of consistency and without establishing a passing game, the Bulls offense became predictable for Miami’s defense.
Shaw ran the ball 20 times for 127 yards including a sprint of 44 yards setting up the first touchdown of the day scored by the Bulls.
“Shaw is doing a good job for us running the ball,” Taggart said about Shaw. “We have to help him out and we have to convert third downs.”
Bench starting his first college football game, threw the ball 27 times completing 13 for 189 yards, he threw one touchdown pass, he was intercepted once and the Bulls offensive line allowed Bench to be sacked five times.
“Bench will be our quarterback going forward and we’ll get better,” Taggart said about Bench. “The offense will get better and we’ll continue to get better as a football team.”
“Not good enough!” Bench said about his performance. “The scoreboard says that, the turnovers say that and I have to play better. We’ve all got to play better.”
Unfortunately, Shaw or Bench do not play defense, because the Hurricanes’ offense did not have a problem with the Bulls defense,
Miami’s starting offensive line played an excellent game controlling the line of scrimmage by keeping the Bulls defensive line and linebackers away from Morris and back up quarterbacks Ryan Williams and Gary Crow.
Miami’s offense ran 71 plays and Hurricane offense finished the game with 540 of total yards.
Morris aggravated an ankle injury in the second quarter and Williams came into the game and the Hurricane offense made the adjustment smoothly.
“He kept saying that he was good. We had enough lead, I thought that we could move on,” Golden said about the condition of Morris.
Morris finished the day throwing the ball 16 times completing 11 passes for 222 yards and two touchdown passes. Morris did not throw an interception and he was not touched by the Bulls defensive line.
Williams went 8-of-14 for 153 yards, including one touchdown pass, one interception and the Bulls sacked Williams one time.
“You guys see what I see with Ryan,” Golden said about Williams after the game. “He is in a groove right now. He’s playing with a lot of confidence and the team has a lot of confidence in him.”
The Bulls did not quit and they fought until the last second of the game had expired and that point of concern must give Taggart some relief of mind.
“We’re not to the point where we can point the blame on anyone else. It’s all on me, I am the head coach,” Taggart said. “Hell, yeah I believe in myself! I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe in myself. It’s on me to get it corrected and we’re going to get it corrected.”
The next game for the Bulls is scheduled for Saturday, October 5, 2013 the Bulls open up American Athletic Conference play at home against the University of Cincinnati, the kickoff is set 7p.m.
“We need to gain confidence as we go as a program and as a football team,” Taggart said. We have to make a lot more plays early. We keep getting behind and we’re not that football team yet to be able to come from behind.”
A win against a conference opponent would be a confidence builder and help establish this football program.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.