PHILADELPHIA — Uncle Mel walked toward the security area inside the Philadelphia International Airport, luckily for your sleepy uncle, there was no wait and the line moved unheeded through the machines designed for security.
Your old uncle found a chair that was facing the window, sat down and started to think about the game that he just witnessed.
Temple University followed the game plan perfectly and defeated the University of South Florida 46-30,in front of 25,950 at the Lincoln Financial Field and handing the Bulls their first lost in the American Athletic Conference.
Temple University football coach Matt Rhule game plan was simple and seemed to be a stroke of genius – because it worked!
The plan was to keep the Owls’ offense out on the field as long as possible and that would limit the touches that the University of South Florida offense would have.
Temple University offense received plenty of help in executing the game plan from the University of South Florida’s defense.
USF defense gave up 72 offensive plays for 528 of offensive yards, with 319 yards coming from the Owls’ ground game.
That was hard to watch but it was the incredible 62 percent of success by the Owls’ offense on third down conversion that made your old uncle uncomfortable.
It was the same old script presented by the USF defenders. Plenty of missed tackles, plenty of defenders bouncing off of Temple offensive players, plenty of penalties but the inability to get a stop and forced Temple to punt the ball seemed to derail the Bulls.
“Obviously, that was just an extremely tremendous win for us as a team,” Rhule said after the game to Uncle Mel. “The offense put up 528 yards, rushing for 319 yards that takes a lot of guys. To possess the ball for almost 40 minutes was huge, to be 10 of 16 on third down was huge.”
There was a couple of miscues from the special teams too that did not help the Bulls regain any kind of consistency. A blocked punt and a blocked extra-point had University of South Florida football coach Willie Taggart rubbing his chin whiskers and looking bewildered.
“We have to put guys in a position to make the plays. If the guys can’t do it then we’ll have to put someone else that can do it,” Taggart said about the play of USF defense. “Some of those missed tackles today are by some of the guys that we count on the most. The problem with this game is that some of our best players did not play their best when we needed them to.”
University of South Florida defensive coordinator Raymond Woodie watched as his defense implode and have no answer on how to stop Temple University running back Ryquell Armstead.
“I believed I played well today, but that speaks on the performance of the offensive line,” Armstead said about his performance against the Bulls. “The holes were wide open at times and anyone could have ran through, so I thank the offensive line for the opportunities they gave me.”
Armstead ran through the USF defense 20 times for a career best 210 yards plus he score two touchdowns.
Uncle Mel can say that the University of South Florida offense led by quarterback Quinton Flowers did not played badly, they did find success with running the ball, there a little success throwing the ball but for some reason the offense looked and felt out-of-sync.
USF ran the ball 33 times for 165 yards, with Flowers leading the way with 90 yards running the ball and he scored one touchdown.
Flowers couldn’t find any timing while trying to get the passing game establish and to create a balanced offense. He was sacked three times, he did throw two touchdown passes, he did not throw an interception but he had passes sail over the target and of course there were the dropped pass.
Flowers threw the ball 19 times and completing 11 for 187 yards but there were too many penalties on the offensive side of the ball did not help the Bulls consistency or field position.
“We had some selfish penalties in there that killed us in the game,” Taggart said about the penalties committed by his team. “The personal fouls are just selfish, we can’t have selfish penalties that kills your whole football team.”
Now nieces and nephews you know that your old buddy and pal does not like to sweep things under the rug where things are out of sight then their out of mind.
The defense for the University of South Florida once again made the game harder and unpleasant for those who like to watch the University of South Florida.
Once again they made a second string player looked like an all-American.
Yes it is hard to play defense but it is the hard that makes it fun!
Sure everybody pays attention to the offense because they have the ball, it is fun watching Flowers and company with the ball because they are exciting.
The offense needs the defense because it is the defense that carries and reflects the team’s personality.
Any football coach will tell you that a good defense is the difference between a championship and a lost season.
Can the USF defense improve before the next game?
It is an answer that many USF football fans are waiting patiently to witness.
Speaking of the next game, the University of South Florida will welcome to grand old home of the Bulls, the spacious Raymond James Stadium. Friday night, October 28, hosting the United States Naval Academy starting at 7 p.m.
Uncle Mel boarded the plane, found his seat and he then felt the plane being pushed away from the gate and in just a few minutes that past the Southwest jet taxied out to the runway and took off into the blackness of night sky.
Your old buddy watched as the lights of the city of Philadelphia disappeared and like the lights vanishing with each passing mile so is the bitter disappointment of the first American Athletic Conference lost.
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.