USF Crumbled in Week Four
Following a close loss to Florida, USF fans believed that game was the start of a turnaround for the team. The Bulls proved otherwise as they were beaten badly by Louisville resulting in a final score of 41-3. What looked to be a close game on paper shows differently and the Bulls yet again fall in horrible fashion. USF crumbled in week four and now looks to ECU and conference play.
An Offensive Shutdown
The Bulls opened this game as a 14.5 underdog against Louisville but fell by 38 points. What played a big factor for USF was not being able to get anything going on offense. Gerry Bohanon struggled early on and was eventually pulled for backup quarterback Katravis Marsh. Bohanon ended his day early throwing nine out of 17 for 62 yards and two interceptions.
After four games Marsh finally got his first chance under center but also struggled. Marsh came into the game in the third quarter and ended up throwing four for 11 with just 48 yards.
Unlike how they dismantled Florida’s defense with the run, the Bulls couldn’t run the ball against Louisville. The dismal run game was highlighted by K’wan Powell a second or third-string back for the Bulls who had eight carries for 45 yards.
A Defensive Letdown
USF from the start of the game had trouble stopping Louisville. To partner with a bad offensive showing, the USF defense also played a very poor game. Malik Cunningham was smoothly able to pick apart the USF defense like it was nothing. The Bulls who prepared for Cunningham couldn’t stop him in the passing or running game. Cunningham went 14 for 22 with 186 passing yards and one touchdown. On top of that Cunningham also ran for nine carries for 113 yards and three touchdowns.
The Cardinals’ run game as well as their passing game proved to be way too much for USF. The Bulls struggled to show any resiliency in this contest. The game slipped out of the Bulls’ hands with every touchdown Louisville scored. As the Louisville offense persisted with its scoring the USF defense lost more and more confidence.
What This Loss Means
As USF crumbled in week four and now falls to 1-3 heading into conference play USF looks to ECU with hopes that the team can bounce back. Furthermore, beliefs that the Florida game was the turnaround USF needed even though they lost have now washed away. Plucking positives from this game will be a challenge for the team, but a date with East Carolina will be the determinant to see if this loss has woken up the USF squad.
Preparing for First Conference Matchup
With the Bulls now heading into conference play, one thing going for this squad is that their next game will be at home. Considering the Bulls have dropped three of the first four games in their route to AAC play could be an issue.
The contest with ECU will be the Bulls’ first AAC test. East Carolina is 2-2 entering the game against USF. It will not be a cakewalk for the Bulls. ECU is coming off an overtime loss against Navy and will be looking for a huge bounce back. Holton Ahlers will be under center for the Pirates so you can expect the secondary to be very busy for USF. Ahlers already has over 1,000 passing yards in this young season with nine passing touchdowns and three interceptions. USF needs to find a way to capitalize on turnovers.
As the Bulls prepare for a matchup with ECU a big topic in the locker room will be restoring the confidence. The Bulls week after week have shut down on both sides of the ball at different times in different games which has cost them. Restoring the culture of this team as well as the will to win is going to be something to look at moving forward. As ECU becomes the first conference matchup of the year for the Bulls a win would be huge continuing into conference play for the guys in green.
A Needed Response
After USF crumbled in week four, the team looks to ECU. The Pirates become the new focal point for the team and the biggest thing following this loss will be to respond. For the Bulls to get off on the right foot in conference play you hope for them to at least compete with the Pirates.
The Bulls must improve the passing game if they hope to compete with ECU. USF over the course of the season thus far have proven they can run the ball. One thing the Bulls have struggled with is throwing the ball. Whether the quarterback under center is Bohanon or Marsh on Saturday, October 1st you just hope to see some type of success passing the football.
Despite East Carolina being a brewing challenge, a bounce-back game will be needed for this team to see positive results in future conference games. With both teams looking for a rebound a very competitive game for the Bulls could be in their near future. Even though a bad loss like this to the Cardinals could be discouraging a big game for the Bulls could put them back on track. Regardless, the Bulls’ coming battle will tell a lot about this team’s perseverance.