Bulls Play Their Hearts Out But Fall To The Alabama Crimson Tide 17-3

By on September 17, 2023

Coming into Saturday’s game with the Crimson Tide, no one except the Bulls thought they could stay with them for 4 quarters. Well the USF Bulls proved everyone wrong as they were in the game until late in the forth quarter when Bama Quarterback Ty Simpson punched it in from the 1 yard line to give Alabama a 17-3 lead late in the game.

The Bulls fought all game long and weathered a hour rain delay in from of over 65,000 fans. It was the most fans I have see in the stadium for a Bulls game since I started covering them 15 years ago. It was also great to see Alabama fans worry about losing the game as their team struggled.

Bulls QB Byrum Brown was great with 23 carries for 92 yards but struggled mightily with his accuracy and finished by going 14 for 28 for 87 yards and 1 costly pick as the team was moving the ball in the forth quarter trying to tie the score at 10.

Bulls fans, the coaches and the national media could not say enough about the Bulls defense who held Alabama QBs to 107 yards in the air with Buchner and Simpson throwing for a combined 10 for 23. The Bulls defense was led by Daquan Evans who had 8 tackles with 4 for loss, 3 sacks and 1 pass deflection. He was in Bama’s backfield all day long and had an amazing game.

Other Bull players who stood out in Saturdays contest were linebacker Jhalyn Shuler, who led all players with 11 tackles; receiver Sean Atkins (six catches, 42 yards); and running Nay’Quan Wright, who rushed 15 times for 62 yards and ignited the entire stadium with an early bull-dozing run of an Alabama defender.

With 6:54 left in the third and the game tied at 3, Alabama got things going as expected late in the game. Taking over at their own 16, the Crimson Tide went 84 yards on 6 plays with Roydell Williams diving in from the 1 yard line.

After Alabama scored, The Bulls got momentum and drove into Bama territory.  On 1st and 10 at the Alabama 41-yard line, Golesh decided to go for a bomb towards the end zone. Brown threw a corner post route but the receiver ran a middle post and Malachi Moore intercepted the pass to thwart USF’s comeback attempt.

You could feel the air come out of the stadium and many fans departed after the play. Golesh said “Because we were moving it, we were chunking down the field on that drive. That was a critical drive in the game for us to make it 10-10 and I don’t know if I got impatient as much as I saw an opportunity. … In every imaginable way that’s my fault, and I told Byrum that and I told (the receiver) Michael Brown-Stephens that.”

With Alabama having 4-5 star players for backups, its tough for a club like the Bulls to keep up with SEC powerhouses when backups have to get rotated in. Its just a size situation but keeping with Alabama for the whole game, the talk of moral victory was said by many but Bulls Head Coach Alex Golesh wasn’t having it.

“Valiant efforts are for losers,” he said. “Moral victories are for losers. Winners win. So there are no moral victories. … You can say that’s an SEC team. You can say the No. 10 team in the country. You can say whatever you want. They’re on our schedule. They are playing us at home. We’ve got to go win football games. I’ll own it. We weren’t as good as we had to be tonight to win.”

Nick Saban after the game said he was most proud of how the team competed. Says they didn’t play great but kept answering the bell and was his happy with how team competed.

Up next for the Bulls, their conference schedule kicks in with a home game against Rice at 4pm.

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