clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

USF 36, Western Carolina 31: Bulls Carried By Big Mack Attack

The Western Carolina Catamounts had lost 21 consecutive road games before coming to Tampa. In the first half, it looked like they might break their losing streak, until Marlon Mack happened.

Starting from the 8 yard line Western Carolina began their short-yardage passing attack, which got them 30 yards in four plays. When they went to run the ball, Nigel Harris forced a fumble and Todd Chandler recovered. Things looked fine as the Bulls offense took the field. True freshman Marlon Mack (remember that name) ran for five yards, then Mike White threw three incompletions to turn the ball over on downs. After an exchange of interceptions, it was clear something was not right on defense or offense. Western Carolina comfortably drove the ball down the field with short passes and quarterback keepers that baffled the young USF defenders.

Down by a touchdown, USF managed to grind out 58 yards on the ground and come away with a field goal. Western Carolina took the ball back and up-tempoed it down the field again for a touchdown. USF's defense was stretched, caught off-guard and struggling to figure things out.

Following lots of incomplete passes and three yards and a cloud of dust on the ground, USF managed another field goal. Down 14-6, the crowd was sickened by deja-vu. Then, the story of the game emerged. With Darius Tice injured, a young man named Marlon Mack was getting the ball carrying responsibility, but had only squeaked out three, four, and five yarders. With a drive starting on the 38 yard line, Mack got the ball, cut through the line and broke away for a 62 yard touchdown. The fans went crazy and the Bulls were back in the game. With another Kloss field goal, the Bulls were down by a point at halftime.

The third quarter was fairly uneventful, other than a 60 YARD TOUCHDOWN RUN FROM MARLON MACK to give the Bulls the lead. Mack got bigger and bigger chunks of yardage going into the fourth, and some faith was restored in Mike White when he threw to Deonte Welch for 40 yards to get the Bulls to the five yard line. Marlon Mack punched in the ball for the touchdown.

Holding the Catamounts scoreless until six minutes left in the game, USF's defense seemed to settle in and adjust to Western Carolina (they pretty much run the same three plays over and over). After MARLON MACK RAN 52 YARDS FOR ANOTHER TOUCHDOWN, the game was out of reach. By the end, Western Carolina managed one last effort: a touchdown with nine seconds remaining. The Bulls breathed a sigh of relief as the clock expired with the scoreboard 36 - 31 in USF's favor. By the end of the game, Marlon Mack tied the USF single game rushing record with his 275 yard effort and broke the single game all purpose yard record with 280.