South Florida Bulls vs Temple Owls Observations

Here are observations from watching the South Florida Bulls run past the Temple Owls 43-7 in the Bulls’ conference opener.

  1. First quarter offensive woes….again

This is a recurring theme. The offense is flat out stagnant in the first quarter. Temple is not a good team. They struggled against FBS bottom-feeder Temple’s defense was able to keep the Bulls in check in the first quarter before the game got away from them. The Bulls are still way better than this. They proved it on the very first play of the second quarter

  1. Quinton Flowers’s passing

It needs work. All season, Flowers has thrown a lot passes high and it has killed drives. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a shiftier quarterback than Quinton Flowers, but better teams are going to key on his weaknesses. He made multiple mistakes when he got a bit frustrated. Flowers’ struggles in the air cost the Bulls on 4th and goal because the Temple defense keyed in on the run. Flowers can certain run though. He’s now the all-time leading scorer in school history.

  1. Penalties

Good lord. The offensive line can’t get their act together enough to not false After last week’s penalty-laden debacle, you’d think this would be cleaned up. The Bulls finished with 9 penalties, which is an improvement, but they need to settle down more quickly when facing better teams.

  1. This is a good team. No, really

The Bulls, when they get out of their own way, are really good. It’s very realistic that the Bulls could be 10-0 when they meet their in-state rivals UCF for the regular season finale. The two were picked to be 1-2 in the East division of the American Athletic Conference and it could be a winner take all in that game. They struggle with finishing, scoring only 26 points on 7 trips into the red zone. That breaks down to 2 touchdowns and 4 field goals. In the short field, the running game became more ineffective since the passing game was so inconsistent.

  1. Darius Tice still needs to be focused on more

This has been a recurring message here. Darius Tice is a hard runner and needs more touches. With the offensive line still needing work, Tice is a workhorse bruiser who can wear down defenses. It routinely takes 3 or 4 players to take him down. D’Ernest Johnson is good, and the two work off each other with some thunder and lightning, but Tice has ended up being the more efficient runner. Tice and Johnson each finished with over 100 yards.

  1. The defense is brutal

Temple’s offense got destroyed by the South Florida defense. Temple finished with 85 yards of total offense with 6 turnovers and 5 sacks. Temple lacked experience behind center and the Bulls feasted on it. The defense has helped the offense big time by keeping opposing drives short. Temple only scored by a Bulls offensive blunder.

  1. Attendance, or the lack thereof

This was bad. This was really bad. This wasn’t the season opener against an FCS school on ESPN3. This was prime time on ESPN. It’s bad enough that local and national media are pointing it out and message boards are being even less nice about it. The announced crowd was 24k, but the school uses tickets distributed when announcing their numbers, not actual butts in seats. In the season opener, the announced was 26k and the actual was 18k. For a top 25 ranked program coming off their best season in program history and a 3-0, now 4-0 start, there is no viable excuse to not have some fan support. Tampa/St Petersburg is in the top 20 in media The school has over 50k student and the campus is 10 miles from the stadium. Is it the distance? They have had years of opportunities to explore an on-campus stadium. Get some busses. Do something. Is it the schedule? As Brett McMurphy wrote years ago about the demise of the old Big East, this was something that was largely brought upon themselves. The prices are already very affordable, so there isn’t much the Bulls upper brass can do at this point. When was the last game over 50k that was not against an in-state team? It hasn’t been since the Big East crumbled. These kids deserve better.

  1. Herd of Thunder

Let’s call this season a washout at this point.

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