USF’s Final Loss Proves the Future is Bright

USF's Final Loss Proves the Future is Bright

USF’s Final Loss Proves the Future is Bright

After what looked to be a promising effort from USF in its final game, the Bulls fell just short in the War on I-4 by a final score of 46-39. Even though USF struggled in the first half the team’s resilience to battle back proves that the Bulls are only trending upwards. USF’s final loss proves the future is bright for a team who struggled most of the season.

A Hard-Fought Battle

In the first half, USF was down 28 points after UCF had scored four straight touchdowns on their first four drives. A Bulls touchdown to end the half made the score 28-7 heading into the locker room. Despite being down three scores at half USF didn’t give up in a game that truly showed the team’s heart.

Out the gates in the 2nd half, USF started rough with a fumble which resulted in a UCF field goal. Following the fumble, a huge comeback by USF was kickstarted by three straight touchdown drives in the third quarter. Two of these drives had been accommodated by the USF defense who forced two fumbles. Soon enough the score went from 31-7 to 31-29.

USF eventually gained the lead 39-38 with roughly 7 minutes to go. The lead proved to be too small though as UCF prevailed with a touchdown in the last minute of the game. Despite the loss, USF’s effort demonstrated that this team was better than 1-11.

A Moral Victory

The Bulls may have fallen in the War on I-4, but the team as a whole took a moral victory from this game. USF didn’t just show they could compete with teams like UCF, but furthermore proved that the team is only getting better. This win might not reflect in the win column for the season, but for the team going further this game meant more than that.

A Season Reflection

Following the loss to UCF, the Bulls drop to 1-11 on the season, 0-4 in non-conference, and 0-8 in the American Athletic Conference (AAC). USF’s tough season came with a lot of downs that didn’t help the team. The loss of Gerry Bohanon, Katravis Marsh, Antonio Grier, and Xavier Weaver throughout the season played a big effect in that. Despite the issues though, the Bulls in their final stretch started to show why this team has a future ahead of them.

USF’s downward spiral from Game three and on was due to multiple factors. For example, the Bulls had trouble finding a rhythm early in games. USF proved throughout the season that they were a better second-half team. Even though this was the case, in tight games the Bulls also had trouble finishing. All in all, USF had a lot of problems when it came to playing a full 60-minute game.

On the other hand, the Bulls managed to show some positives throughout the season. The main one being the ability to run the football. USF’s run game which consisted of Brian Battie and Michel Dukes was impressive all year. Brian Battie especially had a statement year and showed a lot of people why he is one of the best backs in the AAC.

Moving Into the Off-season

Going further, the Bulls will now look to prepare for the off-season. Furthermore, the Bulls will be looking to hire a new coach and by then the start of a good offseason will begin. Once USF finds a new head coach the recruiting process will be big to hopefully add some more skill to the depth chart.

On top of recruiting, USF heading into the off-season will be looking to fix a lot of issues that were prominent during the season. Considering the team went 1-11, both sides of the ball had problems that will have to be addressed. First and foremost, the team will have to investigate who’s going to be the starting quarterback. USF got a taste of three different quarterbacks this whole season so figuring out who the starting quarterback will be at the beginning of the season will be big.

Another issue that will have to be talked about is the defense. In nine games out of the 12 that USF played this season the defense had let up 40+ points. The Bulls’ defense was the biggest issue all year. Each week the defense continued to struggle and was unable to show any improvement from week one.

Expectations

As the season ends, during the off-season you can expect to see USF hire a new coach who will need to do a good job recruiting. For this coming off-season, the biggest questions surround the premise of whether USF can recruit.

On top of recruiting, you can expect to see some guys transfer considering they want to play for a better program. Depending on who transfers during the off-season the Bulls will opt to put the next man up to fill any open spots. Furthermore, the Bulls will ultimately look to improve their play by adding more skilled players to the roster. The players who stay have formed a foundation from which to build.

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