Tuberville “Panicked…Stunned”

By on November 23, 2015

Cincinnati took a shot to the gut (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Cincinnati took a shot to the gut (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Panicked.” “Stunned.” These were just two of the verbs used by Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Tommy Tuberville on Friday night, before admitting what all 26,522 fans in attendance at the South Florida-Cincinnati game already knew, “They (USF) had the better team tonight.”

In fact, if there was a verb best to describe the performance of the Bulls on Friday night, it would be Attack.

We came out in attack mode from the beginning and our guys didn’t let up,” head coach Willie Taggart said.

 

(Travis Failey/RSEN)

(Travis Failey/RSEN)

Attack is what they did and it wasn’t for just one quarter, it was all four quarters. The offense attacked. The defense attacked.

It was hard to find anything the Bulls did wrong on Friday night. Yes, they only scored 14 points in the second half, but that’s what happens when you put your reserves in after leading by 48 at halftime.

After starting the year 1-3 and averaging 4.73 yards per play, the Bulls offense has seen a bit of a resurgence. The “Gulf Coast Offense,” as coined by coach Taggart, has averaged 6.86 yards per play the last 7 games and seen its total yard production triple from 951 yards to 3182 yards, `including two games in a row of 500 plus yards of total offense.

(Travis Failey/RSEN)

(Travis Failey/RSEN)

From the very first play on Friday night, all 26,522 fans in the stands knew there was something special in the air.

Maybe it was the very first play of the game, a 67 yard pass from Quinton Flowers to Rodney Adams that only took 15 seconds and gave the Bulls a 6-0 lead. Or maybe it was the sack and fumble recovery by Jamie Byrd on the Cincinnati Bearcat 10 yard line, setting up an automatic first-and-goal opportunity for the

"BEARCAT"

For educational purposes.  We had to look it up… This is a “BEARCAT.”

Bulls (The Bulls would score three plays later on a Quinton Flowers pass to Sean Price. Flowers second TD pass of the game). Maybe, just Maybe, it was the third touchdown of the game, which was set up by a Jamie Byrd interception. Two Bearcat offensive possessions, two turnovers. Then again, maybe it was the Pick Six INT by Deatrick Nichols in the second quarter, giving the Bulls a 34-0 lead just barely 16 minutes into the game.

Whatever it was, it was fun to watch. Or as Quinton Flowers said: “We’ve got guys that can run. We’ve got Rodney Adams, we’ve got Marlon Mack, those guys that can move…”

 

Eric Lee and Ronnie Hoggins chase down and Lee recovers the fumble (Travis Failey/RSEN)

Eric Lee and Ronnie Hoggins chase down and Lee recovers the fumble (Travis Failey/RSEN)

 

It was a first half that saw the Bulls absolutely dominate the Bearcats in rush yards (235-36), total yards (388-189) and forcing four Cincinnati turnovers including three interceptions. If there was one thing to nit-pick over in the first half, it was the INT thrown by Quinton Flowers at the end of the first quarter as he pressed a little too much trying to put the exclamation point on an absolutely dominating opening quarter.

The 51 points scored by the Bulls were the most in a half ever scored by a Bulls team.

By the end of the game, the Bulls would have scored the most points in a conference game (65), a season high 361 rush yards and Marlon Mack as well as Rodney Adams would see their names added to USF record books. For Mack, it was his seventh 100 rush yard game of the season, while Adams touchdown in the first quarter gave him the single season record with eight touchdown receptions.

(Travis Failey/RSEN)

(Travis Failey/RSEN)

This was a dream night for the Bulls and the only thing that could top this would be beating UCF on Thursday and Temple losing to UCONN Saturday, giving the Bulls the AAC Eastern Division Title. As Willie Taggart said in his postgame conference “Anything that’s going to help the USF Bulls, I’m a fan of right now.”

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