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EMOJICAP: USF 49, Memphis 42

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In this week’s edition: Flowers goes 200/200... consider the ant... and is this defense completely hopeless?

NCAA Football: South Florida at Memphis Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Time for our newest feature, the EMOJICAP, looking back at USF’s insane 49-42 win over Memphis on Saturday night.

For Quinton Flowers, our new football king.

This was only the 17th time that an FBS player has thrown for 200+ yards and run for 200+ yards in the same game. Denard Robinson did it three times. Vince Young did it twice, including his legendary Rose Bowl win over USC. Johnny Manziel is on the list. Lamar Jackson is on the list. Now Flowers has joined that exclusive club.

The picture above lists all the players who have 200 passing yards and 200 rushing yards in a game since 2000, with their stats. The other members of the 200/200 club are:

  • Reds Bagnell of Penn in 1950: 276 passing yards, 214 rushing yards vs. Dartmouth
  • Steve Gage of Tulsa in 1986: 209 passing yards, 212 rushing yards vs. New Mexico
  • Brian Mitchell of Louisiana-Lafayette in 1987: 205 passing yards, 271 rushing yards vs. Colorado State
  • Marques Tuiasosopo of Washington in 1999: 302 passing yards, 207 rushing yards vs. Stanford

It’s a crying shame Flowers isn’t up for any national awards, but he should be a serious contender for the conference player of the year.

The race car is for Rodney Adams, who looked like he was in one on his 92-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. By the time he got to his own 30 he was gone. He actually pulled away from the Memphis players trying to catch him. I wish the Usain Bolt looking back and smiling photo from the Olympics was an emoji so I could have used that.

There were a few savage blocks by USF backs and receivers Saturday night while Flowers was busy improvising. Marlon Mack flattened a defensive back in space as Flowers scrambled up the left sideline for a first down in the third quarter. There was an even bigger block by Tyre McCants in the fourth quarter, which someone commemorated on Twitter:

McCants gets another emoji to himself, though.

(extremely Gavin Belson voice) Consider the ant. A small, powerful little creature who works tirelessly for the team and can carry up to 100 times its own weight. We don’t know if 5’11”, 219-pound Tyre McCants can carry 21,900 pounds over his head. Still, the rest of this analogy fits him perfectly. He doesn’t get his number called that often, but McCants is a big contributor with his blocking on runs and bubble screens. It was great to see him get rewarded with a 40-yard touchdown pass. Nice dive into the end zone, too.

As if it wasn’t hard enough to stop all the athletes in the Gulf Coast Offense, USF has even turned tempo into a weapon. They went at warp speed on a 4th down near midfield in the second quarter, and Flowers ran 48 yards for a touchdown while Memphis was still trying to figure out how to line up. Then in the fourth quarter, when it was obvious the Bulls’ defense was getting gashed, the offense slowed the tempo down to bleed the clock as much as they could. USF’s winning touchdown drive lasted almost five minutes. In terms of time elapsed, it was their second-longest touchdown drive of the season.

OK, here’s our question with the defense. Does Raymond Woodie actually know how to work with the 4-2-5? The Bulls threw it in the trash against Navy last week, opting for a 46 look, and they found a little bit of success. The 4-2-5 was back against Memphis’s spread attack, and once again it was gashed to the tune of 608 total yards. How many times are we going to see running plays where no one is in the middle of the field and the running back doesn’t get touched until they’re in the secondary? How many receivers are going to get free down the field behind the corners? And that doesn’t even start to address the tackling, which was terrible Saturday night. There’s far more talent on the defensive side of the ball than is apparent when you watch them play. I think it’s pretty much a lock that USF will be looking for a new defensive coordinator at the end of the season.

And that’s why Memphis’s surprise onside kick recovery was so scary after they took their first lead at 24-21. The defense didn’t look like it was ever going to get a stop, so going down two scores would have been doom. Fortunately Deatrick Nichols stepped up with an interception to prevent the Bulls from falling further behind, and the offense promptly went 81 yards for a touchdown to get USF the lead back.

This emoji is for the end of the game, for two reasons. One... seriously Memphis? You looked at USF’s trash run defense, the one you had lit up for almost 300 yards on the ground, and decided not to try and run it in with three tries from the 3-yard line? Honestly, there were some strange play calls by the Tigers all night. You have to try pretty hard to only be 4 for 12 on third down against this defense.

And second... you better believe Nichols got away with one on fourth down. I guess the refs didn’t want to decide the game.

We’re glad Memphis’s B.J. Ross is going to be OK after a scary scene on the opening kickoff. Jake Elliott boomed the ball through the end zone with the wind at his back, but Ross took a big and frankly pretty unnecessary hit from Cecil Cherry and stayed down on the field for about 10 minutes. He was immobilized and taken off on a cart. Fortunately he was moving his extremities at the hospital.

This play ended up on Twitter and a few USF players seem to be celebrating it among themselves. Unless there’s something that went down between Ross and USF that we don’t know about (maybe in last year’s game?), this isn’t a good look. Actually it’s not a good look regardless. C’mon man.