BULLS WRAP UP – NOTRE DAME – SEPTEMBER 21
By Leo Haggerty
The Irish scored early and often in route to a 52-0 whitewashing of the Bulls. Notre Dame with the victory improved to 2-0 on the season and South Florida fell to 1-1 on the campaign.
ND scored on their opening possession and did the same the next three times they had the pigskin. The Irish would add one more touchdown right before halftime and went to the dressing room with a 35-0 advantage.
The USF offense reached the Notre Dame side of midfield five time during the tilt with four occurring in the second half. The Green & Gold wasn’t able to convert any of those opportunities into points. The main reason being that USF was 2-of-15 on third down conversions and 1-of-5 on fourth down efficiency.
The South Florida defense didn’t fare much better. Notre Dame rushed for 281 yards on 45 carries with six of those attempts finishing in the end zone.
The Bulls special teams had a sub-par outing as well. USF gave up a 54 yard punt return along with a blocked punt that was returned for a TD.
Overall, it was a game that ND dominated from the opening kickoff to the final gun. The Irish showed why they are the seventh-ranked team in the nation and will be in the hunt for one of the four playoff spots.
So what did the Bulls learn from the defeat? Coach Jeff Scott put it rather bluntly when he stated that all this proved was that South Florida was not a playoff caliber team.
Below are postgame quotes from HC Jeff Scott and DB K.J. Sails and QB Jordan McCloud.
Now, it’s back to drawing board as USF prepares to go to hit the road again. The Bulls travel to Boca Raton to take on Florida Atlantic this Saturday and a couple familiar faces will be on the opposite sidelines. Former South Florida HC Willie Taggert is now the Owls head coach. He is joined by Jim Leavitt, who was the first Green & Gold HC, as the Defensive Coordinator.
Here’s hoping for a better outcome this weekend. See you around the TV Saturday night.
LH : Was there a point in the game where you thought it was getting away from you?
JS : I really thought we had a chance to come back. We got down 14-0 really quick and Johnny Ford broke out in the open. I thought he had a chance to score and he fell down. Slipped on the turf. That would have made it a 14-7 game. That would have got us back into it. Really, after that, I felt that they played very well. It got to a point where we wanted to get our guys to respond and continue to play hard. Not to give up. That stuff isn’t going to really show up on the scoreboard. The scoreboard is what it is but I did see some positive signs from our guys. There were a lot of guys out there playing because we didn’t have anyone else. They kept playing and that’s all you can ask them to do, as a coach, is to continue to play. I didn’t see a lot of guys just walking around or any of that stuff. I just felt that Notre Dame dominated the game from the very beginning.
LH : What do you do this week to make sure this one loss doesn’t become two?
JS : I think it’s more mental than it is the physical part. Honestly, we’ll get back to doing what we do from a physical perspective. Really, it’s a mindset and we talk about the windshield and the rear view mirror all the time. If you look in that rear view mirror, that loss is going to be there. It’s something that we do need to remember. We need to learn from it that it’s not OK. It’s not acceptable but it’s in the rear view mirror. It’s about six inches right in front of us but the windshield is where are eyes should be to move forward. We have a lot ahead of us. It’s very, very early in the season. My mindset with the team is going to be let’s learn from what happened today. Let’s set our eyes straight ahead as to what we have in front of us and how we can play better the next time we get that opportunity.
LH : Did Notre Dame do anything you didn’t expect?
KS : They ran a route that we didn’t expect. They just tried to work their stuff. They pretty much did what they do. We knew they were going to come out and try and run the ball and that’s what they did for the most part during the game.
LH : Is that the biggest line that you’ve played against since you’ve been at South Florida?
KS : Between them and Wisconsin, I would say yes.
LH : Did that game remind you of any game you had played before where the opponent just lined up and came downhill at you.
KS : I wouldn’t say so. We came into this game the same way we come into every game.
LH : The hardest thing to judge on film is the speed of a team. Was Notre Dame faster than you thought after watching the film?
JM : For sure. They were faster and physical. That made them hard to play against in all aspects of the game. Every single player was fast and physical.
LH : Did they show you anything different that you hadn’t seen before?
JM : No. They did what we thought they would do
LH : You don’t want one loss to become two losses. How do you do this week at practice to make sure this loss doesn’t fester?
JM : The 24-hour rule. Just forget about this game. Have to do things that will help us win and move on to next week.