A Special Day at RayJay… Bulls 2-0 in AAC

By on October 8, 2016

 

Marlon Mack scores! Mack had a game high 158 rushing yards on 18 carries and two TD's (photo by Vicki DiAddezio)

Marlon Mack scores! Mack had a game high 158 rushing yards on 18 carries and two TD’s (photo by Vicki DiAddezio)

Today was Homecoming at USF as the Bulls hosted the East Carolina Pirates.  I think it went beyond that, a special day as the Lee Roy Selmon family were the honorary captains along side the Bulls team captains Quinton Flowers and Auggie Sanchez.  The Bulls also honored the inaugural 1997 team today as this year marks the 20th anniversary of USF football.

The week of the Northern Illinois game this season in a press conference Willie Taggart made reference to the great Lee Roy Selmon vision for this USF football program…………“The vision that Leroy, Leroy Selmon had… coming and taking this job, it was really important to me to try to… continue that vision and make it a reality.  What he (Lee Roy Selmon) thought this program could be, it can be that.” said Taggart.

After a 35-17 loss at Maryland in 2015,  the next week the Bulls lost to Paxton Lynch and the Memphis Tigers 24-17 on Friday night October 2nd… then the following week something special happened.  October 10th was homecoming and the Bulls (1-3) were hosting the Syracuse Orange.  USF rolled up 540 yards of total offense en route to a 45-24 Orange crushing which triggered an offensive explosion and the Bulls finished the 2015 season winning six of their last seven regular season games making a Miami Beach Bowl appearance.   Quinton Flowers and Marlon Mack vaulted to the next level as collegiate football players.

Quniton Flowers stepped up when the Bulls needed him most. In the 4th quarter. (photo by Vicki DiAddezio)

Quniton Flowers stepped up when the Bulls needed him most. In the 4th quarter. (photo by Vicki DiAddezio)

Since the Syracuse game in 2015, this Taggart led team has been filling that vision.  Taggart has had USF playing some of the most consistently good football in the country.

The Bulls picked it up against the ECU Pirates in bend but don’t break fashion.   In a game which the hometown Bulls were a 14 point fav, the fans that braved the sweltering fall Tampa heat must have been expecting a blowout.   The Pirates (2-3, 0-1) coming were number four in the nation in passing offense, with the two non-conference losses (AAC loss vs. UCF) at N.C. State and at Virginia Tech.  So I was thinking the Pirates were a little perturbed at that 14 point handicap.

The next natural progression of the vision I believe is to win the conference… and a 2 and 0 start would go a long way.

 The Pirates set an good offensive tone on the opening series of the game driving 61 yards in 13 plays eating up 5:29 of the clock but the drive stalled at the USF 23 when a Phillip Nelson pass fell incomplete and the Purple clad Pirates from Carolina (Greenville, NC… eastern side of the state) had to settle for a 40 yard Davis Plowman field goal, 3-0 road team.

A questionable targeting call set up a D'Ernest Johnson 6 yard TD catch from Quinton Flowers.  (photo by Vicki DiAddezio)

A questionable targeting call set up a D’Ernest Johnson 6 yard TD catch from Quinton Flowers.  (photo by Vicki DiAddezio)

With 51 seconds left to go in the first quarter D’Ernest Johnson scores from six yards out on a pass from Quinton Flowers.  Emili Nadelman adds the 1 and the Bulls lead 7-3.  The Bulls would never trail again.   The TD which ended a 11 play, 45 yard drive which was started by a crushing punt return block  by Hassan Childs springing D’Ernest Johnson for a 15 yard return setting up the Bulls at the East Carolina 45.  The TD drive was aided by which might be the controversial targeting call I have ever seen.  Not that I have seen that many since the game has just,  in recent years,  gone to this flag football style play.  Pirate safety Colby Gore hammered Bulls wideout Rodney Adams perfectly timing the hit break up the play.  The ball rebouned off the legs of an East Carolina player, intercepted and returned to midfield.  A flag was thrown for targeting by the back judge Eric Hermick and also he whistled it incomplete.  A disastrous chain of events for the Pirates.  And after the old, or should I say new video review, targeting was upheld and Gore was tossed.  The drive continued at the ECU 8, three plays later, Johnson and the Bulls hit pay-dirt.   ECU coach Scottie Montgomery, in his first year at ECU,  was extremely displeased.

“I’m very disappointed that we lost a kid for a game. When we are coaching him to lower his target and use the shoulder. You coach a kid to do that and then that happens. He even asked questions as to why, and as a coach you have to be able to give him those answers. The call was made and I respect the call. It went upstairs, it went to re-play. Unfortunately, we’re not on the right side this time.”  SCOTTIE MONTGOMERY

Marlon Mack added to his career rushing total with 152 yards on 18 carries and 2 TD’s.  The Mack day was hi-lighted by a 65 yard scamper to the ECU nine.  The next play, ball on turf and it’s recovered by ECU’s DB Travis Phillips.  Mack had a slight hole and was able to gain a couple when a hit by Dayon Pratt force the ball loose.

“To be honest with you I didn’t say anything to Marlon. I think Marlon was pretty upset with himself. I think he knew he let his football team down. Marlon is one of those guys who you don’t have to say much to him. He knew he let his team down, he knew how important that is to us, holding the ball.” WILLIE TAGGART

“We all just let it go and I let it go and went on with doing what I had to do.” MARLON MACK

The Bulls do find the endzone again before the intermission when that fantasy hook-up Flowers to Johnson do it again this time from 11 yards out.  The quick strike,  1:20 drive for 75 yards and 6 plays was set up by a Mitchell Wilcox 41 catch and run down to the Pirate 6.  Mitch also had four kickoff returns for 23 yards.

“Mitch played well. He made some plays for us. To be the only tight end that played in that ballgame, I thought he played well. I thought he made some bonehead mistakes, had some penalties in there that we just can’t have, but overall I thought he played well for us.” WILLIE TAGGART

“I had an idea they were going to kick it short, not kick it far every time, not necessarily to Mitchell. We have to work on his juke, get Marlon to show him how to juke a little bit and get us some more yards there.” WILLIE TAGGART

“I’m running out of things to say about the kid. He does it all for us. He’s awesome. I’m glad he’s on our football team. The kid just loves to play football. I think D’Ernest is our best football player on this team. He’s that guy. He finds a way to get into the end zone. Maybe we need to change his name to ‘TD’.” - WILLIE TAGGART (photo by Vicki DiAddezio)

“I’m running out of things to say about the kid. He does it all for us. He’s awesome. I’m glad he’s on our football team. The kid just loves to play football. I think D’Ernest is our best football player on this team. He’s that guy. He finds a way to get into the end zone. Maybe we need to change his name to ‘TD’.” – WILLIE TAGGART (photo by Vicki DiAddezio)

The 17-6 halftime lead for USF seemed on this hot, homecoming day,  a narrow margin.  Not because of the 14 point handicap event but the Mack fumble deep in plus territory and four Bulls penalties for 43 yards really regressed the offense.

The second Bulls possession of the second half produces a Mack one yard TD run and now the fans see the separation that may have been foreshadowed.

With the lead 24-6 for the home team you could feel the collective sigh of the Bulls fans in attendance… this is what we came to see.  Not so fast, the Pirates go 75 yards in 8 plays in just 2:17 to be that proverbial underdog that is hanging around. Zay, Zay, Zay Jones with a 1 yard TD reception and a Plowman PAT and just like that it’s 24-13.

The Pirates add a Plowman FG to cut into the Bulls lead with 11:49 left in the fourth quarter, Bulls still lead but only by eight.

The Pirates D is up to this underdog comeback task and they force the Bulls three and out.  After a Jon Hernandez 53 yard punt, ECU takes over on their own 31 yard line.   That’s when back-up QB Gardner Minshew and James Summers got this underdog comeback mentality.  Minshew who filled in when starter Phillip Nelson left the game, finished with 220 air yards, going 21 of 33 and a TD.  Minshew was also sacked twice.   East Carolina cuts the lead to two with 6:58 left. Minshew completed 3 of 4 passes for 46 yards on the drive.  Summers carried the ball the last three plays of the drive for 26 yards which the last was the three yard TD run.   And the Bulls lead is two… but the air leaves the ECU sideline when Minshew’s pass attempt to tie falls harmlessly incomplete.

The big time USF Bulls players Quinton Flowers, Rodney Adams and Marlon Mack would not buy into this underdog, hang around comeback.  Flowers to Adams on a 62 yard TD pitch and catch and a Mack 9 yard TD run which he finished with a graceful gazette-like leap into the endzone (photo at top).  2-0 in the AAC, there is no reason why this team can’t win the conference this year.

The vision train continues next week right here at the stadium formerly known as Tampa Stadium with the UCONN Huskies.  The Bulls look to move to 3 and 0 in the AAC.

ROCKET SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK FACEBOOK PAGE HAS  FULL VICKI DIADDEZIO PHOTO GALLERY

East Carolina Passing
C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT QBR
Gardner Minshew 21/33 220 6.7 1 1 68.3
Philip Nelson 12/23 88 3.8 0 0 63.9
TEAM 33/56 308 5.5 1 1
South Florida Passing
C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT QBR
Quinton Flowers 21/29 250 8.6 3 0 86.7
TEAM 21/29 250 8.6 3 0
East Carolina Rushing
CAR YDS AVG TD LONG
James Summers 18 114 6.3 1 31
Philip Nelson 5 28 5.6 0 11
Anthony Scott 8 20 2.5 0 14
Devin Anderson 1 6 6.0 0 6
Gardner Minshew 3 0 0.0 0 3
TEAM 35 168 4.8 1 31
South Florida Rushing
CAR YDS AVG TD LONG
Marlon Mack 18 152 8.4 2 65
Quinton Flowers 16 115 7.2 0 17
D’Ernest Johnson 7 36 5.1 0 13
Trevon Sands 1 3 3.0 0 3
TEAM 42 306 7.3 2 65
East Carolina Receiving
REC YDS AVG TD LONG
Zay Jones 18 145 8.1 1 20
Deondre Farrier 3 86 28.7 0 46
Quay Johnson 4 31 7.8 0 15
James Summers 4 25 6.3 0 17
Anthony Scott 2 11 5.5 0 6
Terrell Green 1 7 7.0 0 7
Jimmy Williams 1 3 3.0 0 3
TEAM 33 308 9.3 1 46
South Florida Receiving
REC YDS AVG TD LONG
Rodney Adams 7 113 16.1 1 62
D’Ernest Johnson 5 53 10.6 2 28
Mitchell Wilcox 2 52 26.0 0 41
Tyre McCants 2 12 6.0 0 9
Ryeshene Bronson 1 10 10.0 0 10
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 1 5 5.0 0 5
Marlon Mack 3 5 1.7 0 7
TEAM 21 250 11.9 3 62
East Carolina Fumbles
FUM LOST REC
Travis Phillips 0 0 1
TEAM 0 0 1
South Florida Fumbles
FUM LOST REC
Marlon Mack 1 1 0
Quinton Flowers 1 0 0
TEAM 2 1 0
East Carolina Defense
TACKLES MISC
TOT SOLO SACKS TFL PD QB HUR TD
Dayon Pratt 12 8 0 1.5 0 0 0
DaShaun Amos 7 6 0 0 0 0 0
Jordan Williams 6 3 0 0 0 0 0
Travon Simmons 5 4 0 0 1 0 0
Cam White 5 2 0 0 0 0 0
DaShawn Benton 5 2 0 0 0 0 0
Terrell Richardson 4 2 0 0 0 0 0
Travis Phillips 4 2 0 0.5 0 0 0
Yiannis Bowden 3 3 0 0 0 0 0
Devon Sutton 3 2 0 0 0 0 0
Fred Presley 2 2 0 0 0 0 0
Anthony Gutierrez 2 2 0 0 0 0 0
Colby Gore 2 2 0 0 0 0 0
Chris Love 2 1 0 0 0 0 0
Joe Carter 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Bobby Fulp 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Deondre Farrier 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Kendall Futrell 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Kiante Anderson 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Mike Myers 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
TEAM 67 45 0 2 2 0 0
South Florida Defense
TACKLES MISC
TOT SOLO SACKS TFL PD QB HUR TD
Nate Godwin 10 9 0 1 0 0 0
Deatrick Nichols 7 6 0 1.5 1 0 0
Auggie Sanchez 6 3 0 0 1 0 0
Khalid McGee 6 2 0 0 0 0 0
Hassan Childs 5 5 0 0 0 0 0
Deadrin Senat 5 5 0 0 0 0 0
Mike Love 4 4 0 1 0 0 0
Bruce Hector 4 3 1.5 1.5 0 0 0
Cecil Cherry 3 3 0 0 0 0 0
Nigel Harris 3 2 0 0 0 0 0
Jaymon Thomas 3 2 0 0 0 0 0
Tajee Fullwood 2 2 0 0 0 0 0
Kirk Livingstone 2 2 0 0 0 0 0
Johnny Ward 2 1 0 0 1 0 0
Kevin Bronson 2 1 0 0.5 0 0 0
Vincent Jackson 2 1 0 0 0 0 0
Juwuan Brown 1 1 1 1 0 0 0
Jalen Spencer 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Daniel Awoleke 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Nate Ferguson 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Nico Sawtelle 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Mazzi Wilkins 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Garry Cadet 1 0 0.5 0.5 0 0 0
Danny Thomas 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Greg Reaves 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Trevon Sands 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM 76 56 3 7 3 0 0
East Carolina Interceptions
INT YDS TD
No East Carolina Interceptions
South Florida Interceptions
INT YDS TD
Nigel Harris 1 34 0
TEAM 1 34 0
East Carolina Kick Returns
NO YDS AVG LONG TD
Chris Love 6 103 17.2 20 0
TEAM 6 103 17.2 20 0
South Florida Kick Returns
NO YDS AVG LONG TD
Mitchell Wilcox 4 23 5.8 8 0
TEAM 4 23 5.8 8 0
East Carolina Punt Returns
NO YDS AVG LONG TD
Quay Johnson 1 6 6.0 6 0
TEAM 1 6 6.0 6 0
South Florida Punt Returns
NO YDS AVG LONG TD
D’Ernest Johnson 2 22 11.0 15 0
TEAM 2 22 11.0 15 0
East Carolina Kicking
FG PCT LONG XP PTS
Davis Plowman 3/4 75.0 49 1/1 10
TEAM 3/4 75.0 49 1/1 10
South Florida Kicking
FG PCT LONG XP PTS
Emilio Nadelman 1/1 100.0 26 5/5 8
TEAM 1/1 100.0 26 5/5 8
East Carolina Punting
NO YDS AVG TB IN 20 LONG
Worth Gregory 3 141 47.0 0 0 61
TEAM 3 141 47.0 0 0 61
South Florida Punting
NO YDS AVG TB IN 20 LONG
Jonathan Hernandez 4 137 34.3 0 0 53
TEAM 4 137 34.3 0 0 53

 

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