By Leo Haggerty


A majority, if not all, of the South Florida players and coaching staff downplayed the rematch with the only American Athletic Conference team to beat them last season. Still, after the game, you could tell by the demeanor and verbiage coming out of the Bulls locker room that this game had been circled on the USF calendar for a long time.

USF got a measure of revenge by demolishing defending AAC champion Temple at Raymond James on Thursday evening 43-7. South Florida moved to 4-0 on the season with its first conference win while the Owls dropped their first AAC encounter and fall to 2-2 overall.

USF started slow and emerged from the first quarter only up 3-0. From that point on, QB Quinton Flowers and Company “kicked it up a notch” and put 40 points up on the scoreboard in the last 3 quarters. The Warp 1 offense finished 408 yards with 312 of it on the ground but got a lot of help from their friends.

The story of the game was not the offense but the defense. DC Brian Jean-Mary’s charges were, plain and simple, dominating. The Bulls defenders forced six turnovers and held the Owls to 85 total yards while pitching a shutout. The only Temple score was a 44 yard scoop and score fumble recovery by Jacob Martin.

The Bulls won all three phases of the game. The USF offense ran 83 plays to 58 by the Owls. The Green & Gold defense caused six turnovers to the two forced by Temple. The South Florida special teams, courtesy of K Emili Nadelman, kicked five field goals to none for the visitors from Philadelphia.

For South Florida, it was mission accomplished. The Bulls got revenge for the loss last season up at Lincoln Financial Field in the City of Brotherly Love and did it in a big way. There was no doubt who the better team was on Thursday night in Tampa.

But that’s just part one on the “to do” list for the Green & Gold. The next one comes next Saturday against East Carolina up in Greenville when USF attempts to check the box for securing their first road conference victory.

The Pirates are having a tough go so far. ECU is 0-3 with a Sunday get-together at Connecticut in East Hartford coming up.

On paper, this looks like a mismatch. Remember, Bulls fans, the contest won’t be played on parchment but at Dowdy-Finklen Stadium with the biggest logo you’ll ever see.

USF needs to come to play. All they need to do is look up the road and see what happened to Florida State this week and Nebraska last week. It’s not just “Any Given Sunday” but “Any Given Saturday” when it comes to upsets. The Bulls need to take charge from the opening kick and not give the Pirates any reason to believe they can end up on the left side of the dash when the final whistle blows.