USF plays rival UCF close, but loses again

by Gary Shelton on November 27, 2021

in general

Jaren Mangham rushed for 93 yards./Tim Wirt

Saturday, 3 a.m.

They played their fiercest rivalry to the wire. On the other hand, they lost.

The game ended prematurely with the clock running out on an instant replay when the Bulls were nine yards from the end zone. Still, they lost.

The defense, so horrible all year, held an opponent to 17 points. And they lost.

They lost, because these days, that is what the USF Bulls do.They have won three times in the last two years -- the low mark of the franchise. They still made crippling mistakes -- a delay of game penalty in the last minute of play, a sack with eight seconds to play (and the clock ran out).

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The Bulls wrapped up a simply dreadful season Saturday with a 17-13 loss to Central Florida -- a program they have seen surpass their own in recent seasons. And if you are thinking, well, at least it was close, isn't that the harshest statement you can make about USF.

Say what you want about the Skip Holtz years. Holtz never won less than eight games over two years. Willie Taggart started slow, but his worst two-year total was six wins. Charlie Strong's fewest wins was 11 over two years.

In two years, Jeff Scott has three wins.

Timmy McClain threw for 222 yards, but he was sacked six times. It was his mistake on the sack (he was ruled down before throwing an interception). Running back John Mangham had 93 yards.

In the last five seasons, UCF has won 48 games. USF has won 25, and 10 of those were in Strong's first season.

“I don’t understand that part of the rule with a 10-second runoff,” USF coach Jeff Scott said. “I understand what a 10-second runoff is meant to be, but in that situation, there would have been eight seconds on the clock. If they had not let the play go on and all the people running on the field and all that stuff, there would have been eight seconds, we would have had a chance to get [set] and spike the ball and have one more throw to the end zone.

“What their explanation was, if the time ever expires, then there’s automatically a 10-second runoff if they go to put the time back on. I don’t know the reasoning for that, but I will give them credit that they stated that from the very beginning … and ultimately that’s what it was at the end.”

The Bulls had driven from their own goal to the UCF 3 with 27 seconds to play. An incompletion and a sack stopped the Bulls howeverr

“Timmy’s a guy who’s made a lot of plays,” Scott said. “[We would have been happy] if he would’ve squirted through there and scored before it would’ve happened … He’ll learn from that, but we would’ve liked if it wasn’t there to be able to throw it away and live for one more play.

“That was just the last play, there’s a lot of other plays leading up to that offensively that we could’ve executed, maybe got a touchdown instead of a field goal, [but] that one hurts because it’s right there at the end.”

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