Bulls fall to unbeaten Cincinnati

by Gary Shelton on November 13, 2021

in general

USF's Timmy McClain flexes after touchdown./Tim Wirt

Saturday 3 a.m.

They won easily ... but did they win by enough?

They handed one more loss in a dreadful stretch for USF ... but how would they have done if they were playing a traditional powerhouses from a strong school.

They had some highlight moments -- and some moments that didn't measure up. But did they impress those who vote for the College Football Playoffs?

The Cincinnati Bearcats ran their season record to 10-0 Friday night. On the other hand, they simply beat a bad USF team 45-28. Who knows how the committee will say that stacks up against other top teams (the Bearcats were sixth coming into the game).

In seven of their eight losses, the Bulls have given up 30 points or more.

Things have sputtered somewhat for Cincinnati lately. The Bearcats were coming off a game when they beat a 3-6 Tulsa team (28-20). Yes, Cincinnati has a big win on the road against Notre Dame, but most of its other victories are fairly non-impressive.

Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder threw for 304 yards and two touchdowns. For USF, Timmy McClain threw for 245 yards. Joe Horn Jr. caught five passes for 108 yards for the Bulls.

“I think, unfortunately for us, that we just dug too big of a hole there in the first half," said USF coach Jeff Scott. "We had an opportunity in the first quarter. We got off to a great start, ending the first quarter tied at 7-7. In the second quarter, we just couldn’t get enough going on offense and couldn’t stop them on defense. The guys were disappointed at halftime. We put a lot into this game and we really expected to go out and play better in the first half than we did. I just asked our guys, ‘how are you going to respond?’”

“All I can do is watch and grade the response, and our offense went out and scored on a 75-yard drive after really not doing anything in the first half, then went 80 yards for another touchdown. My biggest takeaway is that, while I’m disappointed we didn’t win the game, ultimately, the room for error is very small when you’re playing a top-five team like we played today. We knew that and we made too many mistakes. What I’m going to take from this game is that our guys have their backs against the wall on first-and-goal at the three, where they’re up 17 so a touchdown pretty much puts the game away, against the number two team in the country, and our guys fought for four straight plays, held them out and got the ball on the two-yard line, and the offense went 98 yards against the number three defense in the country.”

USF, 2-8, plays at Tulane on Saturday, Nov. 20, at noon.

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