USF escapes with another close victory

by Gary Shelton on October 21, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, USF

Randall St. Felix caught only two passes, but both were deep./STEVEN MUNCIE

Sunday, 3 a.m.

If it was a fish, you'd throw it back.

It wasn't big enough to eat. It wasn't impressive enough to mount. All it all, it wasn't special enough to keep.

All that the USF Bulls can say about Saturday night's opponents, the befuddled University of Connecticut, was that outlasted them. USF won, 38-30, to stretch its unbeaten streak to seven. But once again, the Bulls kept their season-long journey of outlasting bad teams alive, which leaves them unbeaten, untied and unimpressive.

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Strong's team keeps squeaking by./CARMEN MANATO

:We got the victory but we didn't play as well as we're capable of playing," coach Charlie Strong said. "We allowed this team to stay in the game. From the defensive side, we didn't control the line of scrimmage.

"It's amazing that we can sit here and complain 'cause we're 7-0, knowing we can play much better than what we're playing.We haven't (put a full game together) all year long," Strong said. "The first half, the offense couldn't get it going, and the second half the defense couldn't stop 'em. We're not complete."

To get a sense of how awkward the Bulls' victory was, consider: UConn came into the game with the nation's worst defense by 117 yards. They were worst in scoring defense and in total defense. They were next-to-last in passing yards surrendered per game, first downs allowed per games, rushing defense and third down conversions allowed.

"If we play (at Houston) like we played tonight, we'll really get embarrassed," Strong said.

And despite all of it, the Bulls were almost as bad. They did not tackle, they did not shut down the Huskies and they did not put them away.

Consider this: USF got 164 yards from Johnny Ford and 103 from Jordan Cronkrite. They got 123 yards receiving from Randall St. Felix and 265 yards passing from Blake Barnett.

All that, and they still gained 47 fewer yards than UConn's average.

Ah, but the problem wasn't so much the USF offense (although two interceptions and a fumble didn't help). The problem was a defense that, once again, barely hung on. UConn got 197 yards rushing from David Pindell and 120 from Kevin Mensah to stay close, and there were times the Bulls looked as if they were three men short on defense.

All of that doesn't portend well for the future. The Bulls now travel to Houston, and after a game at Tulane, play Cincinnati, Temple and UCF. If the Bulls play the way they did Saturday night -- and most of the season -- their unbeaten record won't hold long.

The Bulls travel to Houston Saturday to face the Cougars. The game will begin at 3:30 p.m.




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