By Leo Haggerty

Ok, this column may be the shortest in AFTER THE DUST SETTLES history.  Why, you ask?  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why the Bulls lost 35-23 on the road to Cincinnati Saturday night.

USF is as MASH unit especially on offense.  Just when South Florida was feeling good about getting back WR Randall St. Felix and TE Mitchell Wilcox, QB Blake Barnett cannot get healthy enough to play after suffering a shoulder injury last week against Tulane.

The consequences were obvious.  Both back up QBs, Chris OLadokun and Brett Keen, threw TD passes in the first half as the Green & Gold went to intermission with a 16-14 lead.

Then, the bubble burst.  The Bulls could only find the end zone once after halftime and, as we all know, 23 points isn’t going to win a lot of games in the American Athletic Conference.

South Florida QBs were 14-of-32 for 232 yards.  The problem was two of those receptions accounted for 110 yards.  To add to that problem, the USF had only 81 yards rushing on 29 attempts.  That’s averaging less than 3 yards a carry and that’s not going to get it done.

One of the stats that really jumps out at you is 3rd down efficiency.  Cincy was an impressive 9-17 for just over 50%.  USF was a dismal 2-15 for just under 15%.

So, as you can see, 3rd down was the South Florida Achilles heel.  On offense, the Green & Gold couldn’t convert on a majority of third downs and move the chains.  On defense, the Bulls could get off the field on over half of the third downs they faced.

So, that sums it.  There’s just not enough playmakers left on offense to go toe-to-toe with the big boys in the AAC.

With a road trip to Temple and a season-ending home date with undefeated UCF, the big boys just keep on coming.  The prospects on the horizon look bleak to say the least.