BULLS : AFTER THE DUST SETTLES : TEMPLE

By Leo Haggerty

THE BEAT GOES ON AND NOT A GOOD ONE

The South Florida losing streak has now reached four games. The Bulls lost a hard-fought contest by the score of 27-17 to Temple in Philly.

The Green and Gold jump out to a 17-0 halftime advantage but saw it slip away in the second 30 minutes. The Owls scored 27 unanswered points in the second half to claim the victory at The Linc.

TU moved to 6-1 in the American Athletic Conference East Division and 7-4 overall. USF fell to 3-4 in the AAC East and 7-4 on the 2018 campaign.

So, what happened?  Let’s go back and see if my GOAL LINE STAND column can offer any insight as to what took place in Philadelphia last Saturday.

1ST DOWN-DON’T ABANDON SHIP

This was a big yes.  All hands were on deck and stayed there.

The Bulls found ways to keep Temple off the scoreboard for a half and post 17 points of their own.

2ND DOWN-START FAST

Another big plus.  Honesty, this one truly concerned me because the Green & Gold have been notoriously slow staters even in their wins.

South Florida put up points early.  The Bulls defense also pitched a shutout for the first two periods with a modified defensive scheme that gave the Temple offense fits for 30 minutes.

3RD DOWN-NO SPECIAL TEAMS ERRORS

Oops. This was a huge negative to say the least.

The Owls came all the way back to take a 21-17 lead on, of all things, a punt return for a touchdown. This took all the air out of the Bulls sails and that was the turning point in the contest.

4TH DOWN-STAY IN THE GAME

Another positive box checked for South Florida. This was another big one as well.

Temple was coming off games with UCF and Houston where the Cherry & White put up points in droves.  The fact that the Bulls held Temple to 28 points, and 7 of those were a special teams score, should have been enough to chalk one up in the win column.

So, as you can plainly see, USF let this one get away. They had the fish on the hook and, right when the Green & Gold got the prize to the boat, the fish wriggled off the hook to win the fight.  That’s because the Bulls didn’t check all four boxes and, just coming up short on one, spelled doom.

So, the South Florida losing streak continues and the toughest game of the season is looming.  Undefeated Central Florida comes to Tampa on Friday and the Bulls need to bring their A game or it will get real ugly real early.