TAMPA, Fla. — It finally happen, it was not pretty but the University of South Florida football team won, under the lights Saturday night at home inside Raymond James Stadium.
The Bulls opened up the American Athletic Conference with a 26-20, victory against the University of Cincinnati.
It is nice to get the win but the Bulls need to stay focused because the rest of the season is still going to unfold and there are still many improvements to be made to keep this team in contention for a shot at the conference title.
The scoring of 26 points is nice but one touchdown came after a blocked field goal attempt and the other touchdown was the result of a find individual play by Bulls defensive end Julius Forte and linebacker DeDe Lattimore.
Forte penetrated the line of scrimmage and disrupted the Bearcat’s running play and forced the University of Cincinnati turnover, Lattimore scooped up the ball and dashed into the end zone for the score.
It is a nice change of pace that the turnovers that the Bulls created resulted in points-for the Bulls!
The offense for the Bulls scored 12 points, four field goals by place kicker Marvin Kloss the most in his career and including his longest career field goal a 52-yard, which is just one yard short of the school record. Prior to getting out on the field, Kloss told University of South Florida coach Willie Taggart, not to worry because he can make the field goal attempt.
“Sure enough on the long field goal, he looked at me and said, ‘Coach, I got this!’ Sure enough he answered the bell,” Taggart said.
His field goal performance earned Kloss, American Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week.
The offense lost players from the starting line because of injury, quarterback Steven Bench and running back Marvin Shaw both with leg injuries and both players were forced to set out from the action.
Taggart turned to Bobby Eveld to lead the Bulls’ offense and Taggart said he believed that Eveld would be ready to play with confidence.
“Bobby could have easily called it quits when he wasn’t playing anymore and he didn’t,” Taggart said about Eveld. “He came in with a great attitude at practice and it played off for them.”
Eveld threw the ball 16 times and completing 10 for 122 yards, he was sacked twice but he did not panic, he did not develop happy and dancing feet in the pocket and there was no turnovers a point that can not be enough emphasis.
Trying to fill the big shoes of Shaw, Taggart and the Bulls, needed Michael Pierre to put his running shoes on, tie them tight and run with power and of course hold onto the ball.
Pierre is different style of running back, he runs hard into the line quickly but getting off tackle, he struggles to get into the hole but against the University of Cincinnati, he ran just enough to keep the Bulls ahead of the Bearcats.
Pierre ran 16 times for 61 yards, no receptions, no touchdown and no fumbles.
“We always talk about the next guy up. We don’t sit around and pout about someone going down,” Taggart said about the player substituting for the starters. “We still have all of our guys on scholarship and guys stepped up and made plays.
The Bulls offense ran a total of 55 plays for 241 yards of total offense but the University of South Florida defense allowed the Bearcats 350 yards of total offense and the University of Cincinnati’s offense converted 50 percent of third-down conversions to extend ball possession.
University of Cincinnati football coach Tommy Tuberville said after the game that his quarterback, Brendon Kay played his tale off and showed remarkable courage playing with a bruised sternum.
“The one guy that did play his tale off is Brendon Kay,” Tuberville said. “The doctors wanted to pull him out at halftime he got hit in the sternum, he could hardly breath he wanted to go so we go and give him a couple of opportunities in the third quarter and he played pretty good and got better and better-it was a gutsy effort.”
Kay ran with the ball 11 times for 28 yards and he attempted 36 passes completing 24 for 240 yards, he threw three touchdown passes but the Bulls intercepted two passes and sacked Kay once during the game.
It just seemed like when the Bulls’ defense had the Bearcats in long yardage situation, Kay was able to find the open receiver and keep the Bulls’ defense on the field.
The Bulls’ defense played with heart and at times, they were physical and commanded the line of scrimmage but there were times when it looked like that the defensive backfield was not in the right position.
The time of possession for the University of South Florida is misleading, the Bulls held just a slight edge holding on to the ball for 30:34, while the Bearcats offense were on the field 29:26 but at time it just felt longer because of the Bearcats ability to wipe away long yard situations.
The Bulls defense will work hard this week to get better, the offense will get everybody prepared and the special teams will do what it takes to give the Bulls just a chance to win one more game.
The next game for the Bulls will be on the road, an American Athletic Conference game, Saturday October 12, 2013 against the University of Connecticut at Rentschler Field, which is located in East Hartford, Connecticut. The game is scheduled to kickoff at noon.
A victory over the Huskies and Taggart will continue to keep on smiling, sing another happy tune and enjoy pretty victories instead of frowning over ugly losses.
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.