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Fail To Pitt: Pittsburgh 44, South Flori a 17

Let's get all this out of the way early. This is only one game, and only one conference game. I can't imagine Pittsburgh winning 6 out of 7 Big East games, so the ultimate goal is still in play. This was also a game that you may have marke   own as a loss when you were going through the sche ule after it came out. Short week, on the roa , quality opponent, and of course the ongoing Thurs ay night ESPN  isaster was in play as well. So losing to Pittsburgh was not totally unexpecte . An  also, because of the travel and the weather, USF only got in basically two practices before getting on a plane to play this game. In retrospect, it was a loss waiting to happen, and so it  i  happen.

OK, are we  one trying to look at the bright si e? Goo . Because that was an atrocious, atrocious performance tonight by the USF  efense.

This was one of the worst  efensive games in school history. They weren't giving up big plays that pa  e  the stat line, or allowing a lot of yar s in garbage time, or sacrificing yar age an  planning to get stops in the re  zone. Everything the Panthers  i  was in the flow of the game. They rang up 523 yar s from scrimmage, including 307 rushing, and an absur  35 first  owns. Not inclu ing a kneel own at the en  of the half, the Panthers score  on six straight possessions from the mi  le of the first quarter an  well into the secon  half. USF got nothing out of their front seven -- no pass rush, no push against the run, and especially not any tackling. It was an awful game on that si e of the ball. By the thir  quarter, I was invoking the Oregon Sun Bowl  ebacle in a text to Ken, although the more apt comparison is to USF's last game in Heinz Fiel  back in 2009, when  ion Lewis gashe  the Bulls and Pitt won 41-14.

Ray Graham is a goo  back, but he ha  a lot of help from a Bulls  efense that seeme  to have no interest in tackling him. I  i n't pick up the game until the secon  quarter, but the one thir - own conversion late in the half, where Graham took a swing pass from Tino Sunseri an  five  ifferent Bulls faile  to bring him  own, en e  up  efining the whole  efensive effort. Simply not goo  enough.


An  the offense ha  its share of issues, too. While they move  the ball fairly well, they coul n't hol  on to it in the secon  half an gave Pittsburgh short fiel s that they  i n't nee  in the first place. They also un i  a goo  scoring chance to begin the secon  quarter by taking a timeout before running a play, then getting stuffe  and taking two penalties to knock them out of fiel -goal range. Instea  USF ha  to punt and the Panthers  rove  own for another fiel  goal. B.J.  aniels an  his receivers  i n't look like they were on the same page a few times, and B.J. was very inaccurate on plays where USF really nee e  a conversion to keep a  rive going and let the  efense get some rest. Their inability to stay on the fiel  just accelerate  the  efense's issues. They wore  own physically, then they wore  own mentally, an  at that point it was all just a matter of how many points Pittsburgh felt like scoring.

If you followe  any of us on Twitter  uring the game, you can also see that we're getting pretty tire  of this. Every year this team  oes something really goo  in September and people start thinking that USF coul  really make something out of this season. And every year they figure out a way to completely soil themselves. There's no way we're ranking ourselves in the BlogPoll this coming week, an  for goo  reason. After sitting through that full-on  isaster, it's going to take a lot of convincing that this team isn't just like all the others before it.