An Ugly Win is Better than a Pretty Loss

By on October 21, 2018

Tampa, Fla. – If you were hoping for USF to finally return to form and steamroll UConn – the nation’s worst defense – on Saturday night, then I sure hope you didn’t tune in to the Bulls’ 38-30 victory over the Huskies.

UConn opened the scoring early when RB Kevin Mensah punched in a 10-yard score on a run to the right side.

The USF offense was stagnant early, continued to lack creativity and – despite gaining an astonishing 611 total yards of offense– repeatedly stalled out, leaving the team forced to punt or leave points on the field.

“We got the victory, but we didn’t play as well as we’re capable of playing,” Head coach Charlie Strong said. “We allowed this team to stay in the game. . . You look at our team and we’re a better team than that. We can play better than that.”

It’s truly astounding that we can look at a team that’s undefeated through seven games now and entered tonight ranked 14th in the nation in total offense and rake them over the coals, right? Well they’ve executed the offense just that poorly.

Acknowledging the previously mentioned 611 total yards of offense in the game, this is how each of the Bulls’ first half drives ended:

  • Interception

  • Interception

  • Punt

  • Punt

  • Punt

  • Touchdown

With the first two drives ending in a turnover, the next three ending in a punt and their final drive of the half ending on a 15-yard touchdown run from freshman RB Johnny Ford, the team had still gained 243 yards of total offense.

“If we haven’t played our best football game, imagine when we do play our game,” Ford said. “That is going to be lights out. . . We’re just going back to practice to correct the mistakes we made. That’s basically it.”

Going against a UConn defense that had allowed over 53 points per game entering the night, USF entered the locker room at halftime tied with the Huskies at 7-7.

“I sound like a broken record saying it,” QB Blake Barnett said. “We should have come out better in the first half but I’m really proud of how the team played once we got the momentum. Once we got our guys rolling I feel like we were executing and doing our job.”

Barnett finished the game with 265 passing yards, two total touchdowns and two interceptions.

Execution was right as the second half started with a bang. On a screen pass from Barnett, USF WR Randall St. Felix took the first play from scrimmage 75 yards to the house, giving the Bulls their first lead of the night, but they could never truly pull away with this one.

After a quick 20-yard run on their first play, UConn’s drive would quickly stall out and they would punt back to USF.

USF quickly rushed down the field, completing passes of 20 yards to Tyre McCants and 48 yards to St. Felix within the drive’s first four plays, but three plays later would settle for just three on the field goal from Coby Weiss. USF led 17-7.

UConn would immediately drive down the field, going 80 yards in seven plays to answer with a touchdown of their own.

By the time the fourth quarter rolled around USF had built a 31-14 lead on the back of rushing touchdowns from Barnett (his seventh rushing touchdown of the season) and another from Ford. The win appeared safely in hand, but the Huskies and QB David Pindell (197 rushing yards, two TD’s) weren’t ready to roll over just yet.

UConn scored on their next drive but couldn’t convert on the extra point and USF’s lead was cut to 31-20.

Two plays after getting the ball back, USF RB Jordan Cronkrite put the ball on the ground and UConn was able to tack on another three points with the short field. It was now a one-score game again.

Both teams traded touchdowns and now trailing 38-30 with just over two minutes left, the Huskies were forced to attempt an onside kick and unbelievably enough, they recovered.

Luckily for USF the kickoff was replayed due to an offside penalty called on the Huskies and the Bulls’ were able to recover and run out the clock, securing their seventh victory of the season in ugly fashion, once again.

“It’s not just the offense,” Strong said. “We have to play good in all three phases and if you don’t play good in all three phases… it’s amazing that we can sit here and complain that we’re because 7-0 and know we can play much better than the way we’re playing.

If there is a bright spot for USF, other than their undefeated record, it’s that the run game continues to show up on a weekly basis. Two weeks ago the Bulls’ saw their star transfer Cronkrite break a school and conference record with 302 rushing yards. Last week the duo of Cronkrite and Ford combined for 210 rushing yards. Tonight Ford collected 164 yards and three touchdowns on seven carries for an unreal average of 23.4 yards per carry.

USF returns to action next Saturday, October 27th, as they head to Houston to take on the University of Houston Cougars. The game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ABC.

“The first half the offense couldn’t get it going and in the second half the defense couldn’t stop them,” Strong said. “That’s where we’re not complete, we have to be complete in our game. We know this is a big test next week in Houston, we’re on the road and if we play like we played tonight we’ll really get embarrassed.”

UConn Passing
C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT QBR
David Pindell 10/21 133 6.3 0 1 50.6
TEAM 10/21 133 6.3 0 1
South Florida Passing
C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT QBR
Blake Barnett 20/28 265 9.5 1 2 81.3
TEAM 20/28 265 9.5 1 2
UConn Rushing
CAR YDS AVG TD LONG
David Pindell 28 197 7.0 2 28
Kevin Mensah 19 120 6.3 2 34
Zavier Scott 4 5 1.3 0 2
TEAM 51 322 6.3 4 34
South Florida Rushing
CAR YDS AVG TD LONG
Johnny Ford 7 164 23.4 3 78
Jordan Cronkrite 16 103 6.4 0 36
Blake Barnett 10 78 7.8 1 20
DeAngelo Antoine 1 6 6.0 0 6
Team 3 -5 -1.7 0 0
TEAM 37 346 9.4 4 78
UConn Receiving
REC YDS AVG TD LONG
Hergy Mayala 5 61 12.2 0 22
Kyle Buss 1 36 36.0 0 36
Aaron McLean 2 28 14.0 0 24
Keyion Dixon 1 5 5.0 0 5
Kevin Mensah 1 3 3.0 0 3
TEAM 10 133 13.3 0 36
South Florida Receiving
REC YDS AVG TD LONG
Randall St. Felix 2 123 61.5 1 75
Tyre McCants 6 49 8.2 0 20
Mitchell Wilcox 4 43 10.8 0 15
Ryeshene Bronson 2 15 7.5 0 11
Stanley Clerveaux 2 14 7.0 0 10
Darnell Salomon 1 8 8.0 0 8
Jernard Phillips 1 7 7.0 0 7
Jordan Cronkrite 1 5 5.0 0 5
Blake Barnett 1 1 1.0 0 1
TEAM 20 265 13.3 1 75
UConn Fumbles
FUM LOST REC
No UConn Fumbles
South Florida Fumbles
FUM LOST REC
Jordan Cronkrite 1 1 0
TEAM 1 1 0
UConn Defense
TACKLES MISC
TOT SOLO SACKS TFL PD QB HUR TD
Oneil Robinson 9 7 0 2 0 0 0
Tyler Coyle 7 7 0 0 0 0 0
Omar Fortt 7 6 0 1 0 0 0
Darrian Beavers 5 4 1 1 0 0 0
Ryan Carroll 5 3 0 0 0 0 0
Santana Sterling 4 3 0 1 0 0 0
Travis Jones 4 2 0 0 0 0 0
Eddie Hahn 3 2 0 0 0 0 0
Keyion Dixon 2 2 0 0 0 0 0
Robert P. King III 2 2 0 0 0 0 0
Tahj Herring-Wilson 2 1 0 0 0 0 0
Marshe Terry 2 0 0 0.5 0 0 0
Carlton Steer 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Philippe Okounam 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
T.J. Gardner 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Kevon Jones 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Messiah Turner 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Caleb Thomas 1 0 0 0.5 0 0 0
Dante Black 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jonathan Pace 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM 60 44 1 6 0 0 0
South Florida Defense
TACKLES MISC
TOT SOLO SACKS TFL PD QB HUR TD
Mekhi LaPointe 11 7 0 0 0 0 0
Nick Roberts 10 8 0 0 0 0 0
Greg Reaves 8 5 0 0 0 0 0
Mazzi Wilkins 6 5 0 0 0 0 0
Khalid McGee 6 2 0 0 0 0 0
Ronnie Hoggins 5 5 0 0 1 0 0
Kevin Bronson 5 2 0 0 0 0 0
Kirk Livingstone 5 1 0 0.5 0 0 0
Tyrone Barber 4 2 0 0 0 1 0
Kevin Kegler 3 1 0 0 0 1 0
Josh Black 3 0 0 0.5 0 0 0
Mike Hampton 2 2 1 1 2 0 0
Juwuan Brown 1 1 1 1 1 0 0
Jaymon Thomas 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Mitchell Wilcox 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Bentlee Sanders 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Tony Grier Jr. 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Odunayo Seriki 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Vincent Jackson 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM 75 46 2 3 4 2 0
UConn Interceptions
INT YDS TD
Santana Sterling 1 0 0
Omar Fortt 1 0 0
TEAM 2 0 0
South Florida Interceptions
INT YDS TD
Nick Roberts 1 61 0
TEAM 1 61 0
UConn Kick Returns
NO YDS AVG LONG TD
Keyion Dixon 4 66 16.5 20 0
TEAM 4 66 16.5 20 0
South Florida Kick Returns
NO YDS AVG LONG TD
Jernard Phillips 2 90 45.0 69 0
Johnny Ford 2 50 25.0 32 0
Trevon Sands 1 0 0.0 0 0
TEAM 5 140 28.0 69 0
UConn Punt Returns
NO YDS AVG LONG TD
No UConn Punt Returns
South Florida Punt Returns
NO YDS AVG LONG TD
Tyre McCants 2 -8 -4.0 0 0
TEAM 2 -8 -4.0 0 0
UConn Kicking
FG PCT LONG XP PTS
Clayton Harris 1/1 100.0 38 3/4 6
TEAM 1/1 100.0 38 3/4 6
South Florida Kicking
FG PCT LONG XP PTS
Coby Weiss 1/2 50.0 30 5/5 8
TEAM 1/2 50.0 30 5/5 8
UConn Punting
NO YDS AVG TB IN 20 LONG
Luke Magliozzi 6 281 46.8 0 3 58
TEAM 6 281 46.8 0 3 58
South Florida Punting
NO YDS AVG TB IN 20 LONG
Trent Schneider 3 131 43.7 1 1 54
TEAM 3 131 43.7 1 1 54
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