USF has never had a five-game losing streak of any kind in football. Here's what they'll need to do to give themselves a chance to avoid that fate tonight in Syracuse.
1. Block somebody! The offensive line didn't block much of anything in last year's meeting. The Bulls averaged just 2.6 yards per carry, and had serious issues picking up the Orange blitz when they were forced to throw. It was their worst game of the year, by far, and this could be one of this year's worst games unless they're able to open up running lanes and keep the pass rush from overwhelming them.
2. Tackle somebody! Syracuse doesn't have an offense that generates a bunch of big plays, but they can grind you down with long, clock-killing scoring drives. I'm expecting USF to have enough trouble scoring as it is, so they can't miss tackles when it means getting off the field
3. Do not give away field position every time you punt the ball. With the Bulls taking both Justin Brockhaus-Kann and Chris Veron with them to tonight's game, you can bet this is a priority for the coaches. One or two poor punts by JBK will lead to a change, and maybe even a permanent one.
4. You don't have to be a hero on your own. Trying to do too much is how you end up making mistakes, or taking bad penalties. Hopefully this was something that came up during the players-only meeting. They have to keep trusting each other or things will really fall apart.
5. If there's time, enjoy some yummy Chipotle food products, conveniently located a half-mile north of the Carrier Dome. I screwed this up back in February before USF and Syracuse played in basketball. Any semi-regular reader of Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician is aware of the Chipotle Curse, which goes back to the 2010 Big East tournament. I was going to go to Chipotle the day before the game and document the whole thing as some kind of evil hex against the Orange. But then we got something like six inches of snow, and it all stuck to the roads for the only time in the 9+ years I've lived here. No one has snow plows in Texas, so I never got to Chipotle. Naturally, the Bulls got steamrolled the next day. You're not getting so lucky this time, Syracuse.