HOUSTON —- As they say down here in the lone star state, howdy y’all and trick or treat!
Inside Reliant Stadium the University of Houston celebrated Halloween by defeating the University of South Florida. 35-23 and keeping their place sitting on top of the American Athletic Conference.
University of South Florida football coach Willie Taggart started his fourth different quarterback of the season.
Freshman quarterback, Mike White stepped out on the field and started his college career and at times, White played with some flare, he look confident and is the kind of player Taggart said he is looking for, a playmaker.
Remember though, White is a freshman and there were plays when he looked like a freshman playing in his first college football game.
White did lead the Bulls offense down the field and for the first time in three games the offense actually scored a touchdown.
White threw the ball 41 times completing 26 for 311 yards and he threw two touchdown passes to tight end Mike McFarland.
“Mike White stepped in there to give us new hope and a new identity,” Bulls place kicker Marvin Kloss said about White. “It’s amazing for a young guy to go in there like that in his first collegiate start.”
Kloss provided three field goals of 39, 50 and 49 yards to help the Bulls offense.
The Bulls could not overcome 19 penalties for 170 yards, players were trash talking and there seemed to be a lot of extra-curricular activity after a finish plays and the whistle blew a lot of players got involved with more trash talking – the football game started to look like a hockey game.
“That’s not our football team,” Taggart said after the game. “We’re not an undisciplined team. We just can’t have that.”
There is no time, that is a good time to get a penalty and the offensive pass interference called on Bulls’ wide receiver Andre Davis with 4:06 left in the fourth quarter, seem to put an exclamation point on the game for the Bulls.
White found Davis streaking down the right side of the field , the pass that White launce was perfect, the spiral was perfect, the route was perfect and the pass floated into the arms of Davis an it appeared to be a perfect touchdown.
Just hold on, because the field judge saw the play in a different angle and he threw his yellow flag indicating that will be a change.
His explanation is that Davis pushed off to create space to make the catch and yes the replay showed a couple of football players trying to make a football play with some hand checking.
What looked like a chance to place six points up on the board for the Bulls was turned away and in fact the Bulls could not overcome the result of the penalty.
“I saw a catch for a touchdown,” Taggart said. “That is what I saw. I wasn’t over on that side. It is what it is.”
“I thought that I went up and made a good play,” Davis said. “Good protection, good throw. The referees obviously saw it differently.”
The next play White could not avoid the Cougars defensive front four as the pocket collapsed, he was sacked and White loss his grip on the ball and the fumble was recovered by Houston defensive tackle Jeremiah Farley.
“Mike did a great job but the best part was Mike on the sideline,” Taggart said. “He was being a leader and making our guys believe. I think our guys played for him. He put the ball in there where our receivers could catch them. He got everybody fired up. A big part of playing quarterback is getting your players to play for you and he did that.”
Making his return to the playing field and trying to contribute to the Bulls’ offense running back Marcus Shaw returned. Shaw ran the ball 18 times for 34 yards. Shaw suffered an injury to his hamstring Oct.5 against the University of Cincinnati and has been out of the line up since then rehabbing his injury.
Taggart is not blaming the offensive pass interference call for the lost, he said there were other contributing factors like too many missed tackles, too many blown assignments but the 19 penalties did not help the Bulls game plan.
It will take some time to forget the ghoulish Houston Halloween trip, there was no treat in watching the referees and it is safe to say that yellow is not Taggart’s favorite color.
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.