By Leo Haggerty


Just a quick note before I get into the South Florida contest against Southern Methodist in Dallas.  This week was supposed to be my 50th high school reunion in New Jersey  Sadly, Covid forced us to postpone the large group get together until September of 2022, 50 plus 1 so to speak, but five of us had already rented a house at the Jersey shore.  We were all vaccinated so I spent the last week soaking up the sun in Sea Isle City with a group that have been my friends for just shy of 60 years.

With that being said, there won’t be the normal daily Q & A that graces our coverage of Bulls football.  Just a recap of the game so here goes.

SMU, behind four touchdown passes by QB Tanner Mordecai (29-of-42 for 301 yards and 4 TD plus 1 INT), found pay dirt twice in the fourth quarter to pull away from USF 41-17. The win improved the Mustangs to 5-0 and 1-0 in the American Athletic Conference. The loss dropped the Bulls to 1-4 overall and 0-1 in the AAC.

Southern Methodist sprinted to a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter.  The Ponies took the opening kickoff and posted the first points at 10:50 of the opening period.  Mordecai found WR Reggie Roberson (5 for 54 yards and 1 TD) who completed the 21 yard pass and run into the end zone.  That ended a 12 play drive that travelled 80 yards in 4:10.  Kicker Blake Mazza converted the PAT and SMU was off to an early 7-0 advantage.

After forcing a USF punt, the Blue & Red added to their lead at 4:40 of the first period.  Mazza connected on a 26 yard field goal that finished off a 4:21 drive that took 11 plays to go 65 yards.  That put SMU up 10-zip and the Mustangs weren’t finished.

After another Green & Gold punt, Southern Methodist stretched their advantage at 12:05 of the second stanza.  This time Mordecai connected with WR Rashee Rice (8 for 71 yards and 1 TD) for a 10 yard score that concluded a 87 yard drive that traversed 87 yards in 4:41.  Mazza hit the extra point and that put USF in an early 17-0 hole.

South Florida took the ensuing kickoff and finally dented the scoreboard with 4:34 left before halftime.  K Spencer Shrader polished off a 7:28 drive that went 73 yards in 14 plays with a 29 yard field goal that trimmed the SMU lead to 17-3.

USF took the second half kickoff and put more points on the board at 12:50 of the third quarter.  RB Jaren Mangham (11 for 21 yards and 2 TD) bullied his way into the end zone from a yard away that completed a 75 yard drive in seven plays and 2:10.  Shrader booted the PAT and the Bulls were now within a score at 17-10.

The Ponies immediately extended their margin at 8:56 of the third period.  Mazza split the uprights from 30 yards to finish off a 12 play drive that went 48 yards in 3:54 to push the SMU lead to 20-10.

The Mustangs lit up the scoreboard again at 4:25 of the third stanza.  RB Tre Siggers (20 for 86 yards and 1 TD) carried the mail home from 13 yards out.  That ended a 43 yard drive that took 2:30 and covered 43 yards.  Mazza again converted the PAT and the Blue & Red increased their lead to 27-10.

South Florida answered that score with one of their own with just 29 ticks left in the third quarter.  Again it was Mangham with another one yard plunge that ended a drive that took 3:56 taking 10 plays to go 60 yards.  Shrader made the PAT and the Green & Gold crept closer at 27-17.

Sadly, that’s the closest the Bulls would get as SMU put up two fourth quarter scores.  The first was at 9:38 when Mordecai hit WR Danny Gray (7 for 74 yards and 2 TD) with a four yard aerial that terminated a four play drive that went 50 yards in 1:44.  Mazza converted the extra point and the Mustangs moved out to a 34-17 lead.

Southern Methodist completed the scoring with 5:09 left in regulation.  Again it was Mordecai find Gray this time from five yards out.  That completed a 25 yard drive that took 3:04 and six plays.  Mazza was true and that made the final arithmetic 41-17 in favor of SMU.

Now, USF gets a much needed bye week.  Then the Bulls will take on Tulsa at Raymond James Stadium on October 16.