TAMPA, Fla. — Sloppy!
At times the Bulls seemed uninterested and they were happy just going through the motion of playing the game.
Inside the stadium, there felt like there was no energy on the field, no excitement on the sideline and it just didn’t seem like that the Bulls took East Carolina University-all that seriously.
In front of a Homecoming crowd of 30,397, inside Raymond James Stadium, the University of South Florida defeated East Carolina University 38-22, continuing their quest toward an American Athletic Conference title.
University of South Florida football coach Willie Taggart said after the game that he believed that his team played well, that once again they faced adversity were able to adapt to the game but played a sloppy game.
“It was a great win. It wasn’t necessarily pretty at times, sloppy all over but a great win for our ball club,” Taggart said. “I thought the ballgame showed a lot of courage in our football game, how we let East Carolina get back in it and our guys came back and made a play when we needed a play. That was great to see out of our football team, out there playing as bad as we did throughout the game.”
The defense for the Bulls started to repeat some of those bad habits, bouncing off runners with the ball, missing tackles, missing assignments and giving up big plays on third downs.
Taggart and defensive coordinator Raymond Woodie kept looking for the defense that played the second half against last week’s opponent the University of Cincinnati, there was some glimmer of hope but nothing consistent for the defense.
The defense for the Bulls stayed on the field for 91 offensive plays, gave away a total of 476 yards of total offense and surrendered 22 points.
East Carolina University was only penalized twice for the whole game but the Bulls were flagged 11 times for infractions.
“Very concerning. Very concerning. It was a sloppy game, especially offensively,” Taggart said about the penalties. “We were in the red zone, get those penalties that got us behind the sticks. We were just sloppy all over.”
Taggart said many times, that his offensive philosophy is to establish a good and productive ground game.
Quarterback Quinton Flowers and the USF offense did establish the run with 306 yards of rushing the ball against the Pirates.
Flowers carried the ball 16 times for 115 yards. He also finished the day by throwing 29 times completing 21 for a total of 250 yards, three touchdown passes including a 62-yards pass play to wide receiver Rodney Adams.
“I just needed to step up when the plays needed to be made,” Adams said about his touchdown catch. “I did and I helped the team and I’m happy about that!”
USF leading rusher, Marlon Mack led everybody running the ball. He carried the 18 times for 152 yards, he did fumble the ball but then on the next Bulls’ possession, Mack found the crease and 65 yards run before being pushed out of bounds before he could reach the end zone..
“I didn’t say anything to Marlon,” Taggart said if he talked to Mack after the fumble. “I think Marlon was pretty upset with himself and Marlon is one of those guys who you don’t have to say much to him.”
East Carolina University football coach Scottie Montgomery said after the game, he thought that the quickness and speed of the USF offense is an element that his team had a hard time adjusting to but they worked hard but the Pirates will go back to work getting ready for next week’s opponent.
“A little bit if speed. Our guys where they were supposed to be, sometime our defense guys, we had two people there to make the play,” Montgomery said. “Some quick moves, they score on us.”
East Carolina University had to overcome losing their starting quarterback Phillip Nelson, midway in the third quarter. Nelson went out with under concussion protocol.
Montgomery called on Gardner Minshew to relieve Nelson.
Minshew threw the ball 23 times completing 21 for 220 yards, including a touchdown pass but he was sacked three times in playing just over one and half of a quarter for the Pirates.
“He did a really good job for us coming in,” Montgomery said about Minshew’s performance. “We missed some opportunities. “We missed Zay two or three times down the field that would have been walkin’s,” Montgomery said. “It shocked us!”
Montgomery did not miss too many opportunity to give the ball to running back James Summers or get the ball to his wide receiver Zay Jones.
Jones caught the ball 18 times for 145 yards, he scored one touchdown pass.
Summers ran the ball 18 times for the Pirates and gained 118 yards and he scored one touchdown.
“We didn’t execute as a team, it’s getting redundant and déjà vu,” Jones said about his team’s performance. “The coaches have a great scheme for us and they have put us in great position, we just haven’t executed.”
Taggart and his coaching staff will be watching the game tape and get prepared for the next conference game.
Coming to Tampa and Raymond James Stadium next Saturday Oct. 15, the University of Connecticut and the kickoff is schedule for 7 p.m.
Many coaches say that there is no such thing as an ugly wins, Taggart and the fans of the University of South Florida football team will take all the ugly and sloppy wins and leave behind the beautiful 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.