BULLS : AFTER THE DUST SETTLES : CONNECTICUT

By Leo Haggerty

The good news. South Florida went up north and beat a very game Connecticut team 37-20. It wasn’t pretty but it was effective.

Always remember this, Bulls fans.  There’s no style points in football.  It’s a “W” and that’s all that matters especially when the Bulls were on the road where inclement weather can be an issue for them.

The win moved USF to 8-1 overall and right on the heels of undefeated Central Florida at 5-1 in the American Athletic Conference East Division. UCONN fell to 3-6 overall and 2-4 in the AAC East.

Now, not the bad news, the not-so-good news. Here’s why I say the game wasn’t pretty.  USF   QB Quinton Flowers had a career night.  #9 accounted for three touchdowns with a school record 516 yards of total offense with 385 yards in the air and 131 om the ground.

For your signal-caller to put up those kind of numbers and only score 37 points is disappointing.  Plus, the Green & Gold left at least 10 points, and maybe more, on the field with missed opportunities.

From an offensive standpoint, I think the only problem is balancing playing with passion and keeping emotions under control.  From my point of view, there are times when the USF offense is playing devoid of enthusiasm.  It’s not happening too often but enough to get the attention of HC Charlie Strong and his staff.

The USF offense needs to come out of the gate with a little more excitement.  To me, that’s the only piece of the offensive puzzle left to fit.

There’s an old ssying and it goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  That applied to the Green & Gold defense in spades.

Anytime, and I say that with the greatest emphasis, you hold a team in the 20 point range, in this day and age of high-powered up-tempo quick-strike offenses in college football, you’ve had a good game.

The Bulls defense is a shadow of what it was in 2016 in a positive way. The unit that was much maligned last season has turned into the cornerstone on South Florida’s success in 2017.

The pass rush has increased exponentially.  That is a direct cause of USF being ranked 2nd nationally in interceptions and picks, Bulls fans, are momentum killers especially inside the red zone like it happened yesterday at the end of the first half.

Special teams, after a very rough start, have improved.  If the Bulls can just avoid bad things on special teams, specifically blocked punts and kicks, they have enough firepower in the other two phases of game to emerge victorious.

Now, another bye week for USF.  The next game is a home contest a week from Thursday night against Tulsa.

How do I think that game with the Golden Hurricanes will turn out? You’ll have to wait another week until my GOAL LINE STAND comes out.