BULLS – GOAL LINE STAND : EAST CAROLINA
By Leo Haggerty
Archived under Featured Articled – College & University of South Florida
South Florida travels to Greenville to take on East Carolina for a 3:45 contest at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Both teams come into the tilt with overall records of 3-4. USF is 1-2 in the American Athletic Conference East Division coming off a 35-3 shellacking at the hands of the Naval Academy in Annapolis. ECU is 0-3 in the AAC East after a losing 41-28 to UCF in Orlando.
Below are my four keys to victory for the Bulls. There are short and to the point but, in my opinion, are essential if the Green & Gold want to come back with a W from North Carolina.
1ST DOWN – FORGET ABOUT IT
Do not let one loss become two. Do not let the last defeat feaster in your mind so that it leads to a second setback.
The good news is that, from my experience, large losses are easier to shake off then the close last-second ones. That should bode well for the Bulls because the players and coaches will not be replaying every snap to see if they could have done something different.
Navy loss is done and there’s nothing that can be done to change that. The Bulls need to channel all their energy toward getting a victory over East Carolina.
2ND DOWN – GET THE LEAD
Please take the football at the beginning of the game if you win the toss. Do not defer and here’s why.
Let’s look at the positive first. The Bulls take the football and matriculate down the field into the end zone. Up 7-0 or even 3-zip.
That changes the whole dynamic of the football game. Now, ECU has to put up points to stay even. If the Pirates have to give up the pigskin and don’t score, the Bulls have a chance to score again.
If that happens, then South Florida forces East Carolina to play catch up. That means that even if you score, you’re still behind. Advantage, USF.
So, let’s look at the negative. South Florida defers and doesn’t put points on the scoreboard. East Carolina goes down and scores. The Bulls go three-and-out and the Pirates score again. Down 14-zip and USF is fighting an uphill battle the rest of the way. Bad karma.
Take the ball. Get the lead. Enough said.
3RD DOWN – NO SHORT FIELDS
USF cannot turn the football over on their side of midfield. The Green & Gold cannot give ECU short fields.
South Florida must remember that a punt is an offensive play. It moves the football 40-plus yards down the field. That forces the Pirates to go almost the length of the field.
Make the Pirates earn every point. No cheap scores will go a long way toward winning.
4TH DOWN – PLAY WITH CONFIDENCE
This one has been a problem for USF lately. The Bulls have been playing tentatively especially on offense.
South Florida needs to get the swagger back. A couple of splash plays early, on both sides of the football, would be just what the doctor ordered.
Well, it’s time to make a call on how this game will transpire. I know you heard me say to never look ahead on the schedule but this time it benefits South Florida to do just that.
There an extremely good chance that USF will lose their last four contests. With this in mind, look for the Bulls to come energized to win and post a 28-13 triumph over the Pirates.
Will that happen? Meet you at the TV to find out. Enjoy.