TAMPA, Fla. —- Uncle Mel can not believe that the months have flown by and now the first Florida Thanksgiving Day for your old uncle is just a few hours away and your old buddy does have a lot to be thankful for, so pass the gravy and let’s get down to business.
With the Butterball turkey in the oven basting to a finish so is the University of South Florida football season, the Bulls are cooking up a game plan this week that will take them over the river and through the palm trees to Orlando and to campus of the University of Central Florida.
Bulls’ football coach Willie Taggart, knows his way around the dinner table and the rest of his team will be ready to feast against the Knights, Nov 29, 2013 at the home of the University of Central Florida, Bright House Network Stadium, Saturday night starting at 7 p.m.
The Bulls’ closed out the home portion of the 2013 schedule at Raymond James Stadium against Southern Methodist University last Saturday night and the 16-6, defeat to the Mustangs dampened the Senior Night celebration.
Once again the Bulls’ defense played strong enough but the offense just keeps struggling.
“Our defense played great to hold that team to 16 points and 280 yards,” Taggart said. “We just didn’t make the plays offensively to help them.”
The offense for the Bulls, ran 56 plays for a total of 259 yards and junior wide receiver Andre Davis set a new USF record with his third straight 100-yard game, Davis made five catches for 113 yards.
Taggart said that the Bulls could not make any progress on the field because the momentum gained was lost because of penalties.
“We can’t beat ourselves and we’ve been doing that these last few weeks with a lot of penalties,” Taggart said. “It is a matter our guys calming down, playing with confidence and not pressing.”
The Bulls committed 13 penalties for 107 yards, compare that with the Mustangs who were flagged for just one penalty for five yards-that sure is not appetizing!
Friday night after all of that shopping is calm down and the dust settles back on the road, inside Bright House Network Stadium the rival is ready to continue between Central Florida University and the Bulls-the Corridor Clash of I-4.
Taggart wants this game to be a good rival game between the Bulls and Knights, he is hoping that it becomes one of those games like University of Florida against Florida State University or Ohio State University and the University of Michigan.
“It much bigger than just bragging rights. It is a conference game and it’s a lot more important,” Taggart said. “This is why you play college football. How could you not get fired up for a game like this? You just got to go-under the lights, Black Friday, it’s on ESPN. All these kids want to play on national TV and it’s a chance to make people know your name.”
University of Central Florida will be ready to pull up to the table and a win against the Bulls, the Knights would least get a share of the first American Athletic Conference title.
Leading the offense for the Knights is quarterback, Blake Bortles he is completing 63 percent of his passes and he is leading the Knights into the end zone. So far this season, the Knights are averaging 35.8 points per game.
Central Florida University football coach George O’Leary and his team will be ready to play and the rivalry will get a boost because of the chance for the Knights to bring home a share of a title.
“To us it’s a big, big conference game with a lot of implications as far as what happens to us,” O’Leary said. “Obviously because the closeness of the schools it is a game that could grow into a rival game but other than that it’s a big conference game and that’s where the kids have there eyes set, understanding you’ve got to win these conference games to get where we need to get.”
Uncle Mel’s advice for the Bulls is, first go easy on the turkey diner and desert because the defense is going to be able to move and get pressure and collapse the pocket around Bortles.
The offense for the Bulls will have to score points, field goals are nice, like melted butter pooling and streaming down a bowl full of mashed potatoes but to add spice, after all, it is the variety of life and the thought of Bulls scoring touchdowns could make the game interesting and fun to witness.
An upset win by the Bulls over the Knights in Orlando would be a Happy Thanksgiving for Taggart and for the fans that will be enjoying Thanksgiving diner leftovers sitting and watching the game on television rooting for the University of South Florida.
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.