By Leo Haggerty

South Florida traveled to Atlanta to take on Atlantic Coast Conference opponent Georgia Tech.  The Bulls came away on the short end of a 14-10 count.

It was a complete opposite of the abysmal showing by the Green & Gold the week before in their home opener at Raymond James Stadium.  At least from a defensive standpoint.

The USF defense was stellar.  The charges of DC Brian Jean-Mary held the Yellowjackets to 14 points and shut out Tech in the second half when it was crunch time.

Now, the offense is another story.  OC Kerwin Bell’s troops could only manage 10 points and had numerous chances to put more points on the scoreboard.  That’s the most disheartening aspect of the game.

The Bulls opened the scoring in the opening quarter.  K Coby Weiss nailed a 27-yard field goal to give USF a 3-0 lead.

Tech answered with 14 points of their own in the second stanza.  The first was a 1-yard plunge by RB Jordan Mason.  That was followed by a 7-yard run by RB Tobias Oliver.  Both scores were followed by successful PATs by K Brenton King.

After a scoreless third period, South Florida dented the scoreboard at the beginning of the final period.  QB Jordan McCloud, who replaced starting  QB Blake Barnett, hit Johnny Ford and the Bulls RB scampered 20 yards to paydirt.  Weiss was perfect on the extra point to cut the Georgia Tech lead to 14-10.

That would be all the scoring and that would be the big story.  After the Bulls scored, the Green & Gold caused a turnover.  McCloud immediately hit TE Mitchell Wilcox who was hauled down just short of the goal line.  After a two shots at the end zone, RB Jordan Cronkrite was stripped of the pigskin as he attempted to hurdle the pile.  After an official review, it was determined the football did not cross the plane before it came loose.

The major story of the contest was the ineptitude of the Bulls offense.  South Florida had the football 11 offensive possession.  One touchdown.  One field goal.  One ended by halftime.  One fumble.  7 punts and, of those 7, 4 were 3-and-outs.

Not an impressive showing at all from the USF offense that was supposed to be explosive with a new OC calling the shots.  Right now, after two games, the USP offense is misfiring and that’s an understatement.

The next contest will be at Raymond James Stadium against South Carolina State on Saturday.  Kickoff will be at 6:00 PM and, as we must always add in Tampa during September, weather permitting.

Granted, the competition will not be as formidable as the two previous contests, the Bulls will be facing a 2-0 SC State team that will come to Tampa thinking they can emerge with a victory.

South Florida needs to get off to a fast start.  The offense needs to hit on all cylinders and the defense needs to shut the Bulldogs down from the opening play.  Take any thought that South Carolina State has of pulling an upset away early.

The last thing this program needs is an 0-3 start.  If USF doesn’t come out strong from the opening play, the Bulls could be fighting for their lives in the final fifteen minutes.