By Leo Haggerty

It was obvious that HC Charlie Strong was extremely happy to get the “0-for” monkey off his, and USF players and coaches, back as South Florida did it in convincing fashion if you just look at the scoreboard.  The Bulls defeated the South Carolina State Bulldogs 55-16 in a game that was a whole lot closer than the final score indicates.

In fact, SC State drew first blood with a field goal midway through the first period to take a 3-0 lead.  South Florida answered with 42-yard TD pass from freshman first-time starting QB Jordan McCloud to RB Johnny Ford to give the Green & Gold a 7-3 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

The score was still only 10-3 midway through the second stanza when the Bulldogs started to self destruct.  By the time the game reached it’s conclusion, South Carolina State had turned the football over eight times and two of them were inside the USF five-yard line.  That was a killer to the Bulldogs who competed to the final gun.

The real story for USF was the play of the freshman McCloud.  The former Plant High School standout was 16-of-217 for 217 yards and 3 touchdown passes.  #12, for his first collegiate start, had a pretty good coming-out party.

So, let’s be honest here.  This was a game the Bulls expected to win convincingly and, if you look at the scoreboard instead of the game, they did. Still, USF wasn’t firing on all cylinders especially on offense.

South Florida still needs to be more consistent, in all three phases of the game, especially with a 4-0 SMU squad coming to Raymond James Stadium Saturday afternoon.  The Ponies are coming off a huge 41-38 road victory over #25 TCU and their offense is as high octane and up-tempo as they come to say the least.

So, how do the Bulls win and have their fans leave with a smile on their face like the last contest?  Check out my GOAL LINE STAND column later in the week for my four keys to victory.

Photos below are courtesy of our photo-journalist Jeffrey Neil Fox and Trace Crisp.  JNF are the first 22 and TC follows with the rest.  Enjoy.