BULLS – GOAL LINE STAND – TEMPLE
By Leo Haggerty
Archived under Featured Articles – College & University of South Florida
South Florida entertains Temple in a mid-week tilt this Thursday night at Raymond James Stadium. Kickoff is schedule for 8 pm and it looks like Mother Nature is going to cooperate as well. Temperature are expected to be in the mid-70s and no threat of precipitation.
Both teams are coming off their bye week so that shouldn’t be a drawback for either squad. They also have identical 2-2 logs in the American Athletic Conference East Division with Temple 5-3 overall and USF at 4-4. The big difference is what transpired in their last contest.
Temple was shellacked 63-21 in Orlando by UCF. On the other hand, South Florida went to Greenville and came away with a 45-20 triumph over East Carolina.
The game,on paper, looks like a very evenly-matched contest. So how does South Florida emerge with a W. My 4 keys to victory are below. Enjoy.
1ST DOWN – TAKE THE DAMN FOOTBALL
OK, I am going to reiterate this. Do not defer when you win the toss.
USF HC Charlie Strong ignored my plea last game against East Carolina to not defer after winning the coin toss. The result was that the Pirates brought the opening kickoff back to the house and the Bulls were down 7-0.
Don’t make the same mistake this week against Temple. If you win the toss, take the football and march it down the field into the end zone. Get the lead and make the Owls try and match that score when they get the pigskin.
2ND DOWN – PREPARE FOR A STREET FIGHT
Every year, the most physical game that the Bulls have is with Temple. Hey, it’s a Philly thing so get over it.
The Owls show up with an attitude and South Florida better be ready to match their physicality. If USF doesn’t, they could end up not only getting beat on the scoreboard but getting beat up on the field.
The Bulls need to be prepared to be punched in the mouth. More importantly, the need to be ready and willing to punch back. If the Green & Gold is not willing to go blow-for-blow with the Owls, or say no mas, it will be a long evening on the gridiron for the home team.
3RD DOWN – TOTE THE LEATHER
If the Bulls got one huge takeaway from the East Carolina contest, I hope it was that the Bulls need to run the football. They need to ground and pound early and often against Temple and her’s why.
This will serve a dual purpose. First, it will keep the Temple offense off the field. Second, it will allow South Florida to control the clock.
Both of these factors reduce the number of possessions that the opposition will have. That’s a big plus for USF.
4TH DOWN – DON’T LEAVE POINTS ON THE FIELD
When the Bulls have a chance to put points on the scoreboard, they have to be successful. South Florida must capitalize on any scoring opportunity that presents itself.
Normally, in this game, points have been at a premium and I don’t expect this contest to be any different. USF must convert every scoring situation into additions to their side of the scoreboard.
So, it’s my time to make a call. I’m going to go out on a limb here and pick South Florida. I believe that HC Charlie Strong and his staff will have their charges chomping at the bit to get another victory but it won’t be easy. USF, 30-23, with a late TD to seal the deal.