Time to take a closer look at USF’s easy win over Cincinnati using America’s fastest-growing language*, emojis.
* May actually be true. I weep for the future.
I’m not a real big fan of the “run it up the middle, then hurry up and run it up the middle again” sequence from Sterlin Gilbert. Not because it’s boring and uncreative (although it is). I think more often than not, USF’s execution is not good when they hurry up to run.
Let’s look at that goal line situation in the second quarter where USF ran quickly up the middle on second down for almost no gain and the crowd got mad. They were mad because the play didn’t work, but why didn’t it work? We thought of three possible reasons.
- THAT CALL SUCKS STERLIN SUCKS EVERYTHING SUCKS: Well, no, we’ve seen this play work plenty of times. Like later in the second quarter, when they did the same thing after Temi Alaka’s long catch and Darius Tice popped one for a touchdown on the next play.
- USF got very little push on this play. Here, watch it again. There’s no hole for D’Ernest Johnson to find. Mitchell Wilcox gets knocked off his spot by a linebacker and D’Ernest runs into the back of him. Then the Bearcats all rally to the ball.
- Are there some other options on this play? Tyre McCants is on the outside waiting for a quick screen, with Marquez Valdes-Scantling blocking. It would be a 1-on-1 matchup for a touchdown if Flowers throws him the ball. In our Facebook Live after the game, Collin implied that some of these plays have pass options or other runs available. Quinton Flowers could pull the ball and run himself, or he might have a quick pass he can throw instead. Have there been some misreads by Flowers? Are they going too fast for Q to read the defense pre-snap and have enough confidence to throw the ball? We don’t really know the answer.
- Should Gilbert change something up? It seems like defenses know USF is going to run up the middle when they hurry to the line of scrimmage like this. Look at how Cincinnati crashes down on the line and the linebackers creep up to fill the gaps. This might be the biggest negative change from last year’s offense. The Bulls hurried up to run a lot around the goal line before, but I think there was more variety in the runs they called when they got there. It wasn’t all iso and dive plays. Some combo breakers might do their goal-line execution a world of good.
Not only were Saturday night’s referees incredibly ticky-tack (25 accepted penalties), but they were also making some terrible calls. Let’s review a few of the calls that went against USF:
- USF had a chop block penalty called that nearly derailed a touchdown drive. You’re not allowed to engage a defender with one blocker high and another one low. They called it because Tice cut a defensive lineman while left tackle Eric Mayes grazed him with his hand.
- The Bulls picked up a sideline interference penalty in the second quarter. If an official running down the sideline collides with anyone in the white six-foot perimeter around the field, it’s 15 yards. But it looked like the only person in the area when the official went down was defensive coordinator Brian Jean-Mary, and USF had the ball. Why would BJM be that close to the field? Either it was really dumb by him, or the official got confused by the tarp on the USF sideline (which is also white) and phantom flagged him.
- After Auggie Sanchez’s tremendous buzzer-beating pick six, the refs had the absolute nerve to flag USF’s bench for excessive celebration. Are you kidding me? After that amazing play, you expect them to keep their emotions in check? Man, go to hell. That’s the most rules-stickler ref-show actually-there-are-three-teams-on-the-field I-am-the-law dickhead call I’ve seen since our good friend John McDaid flagged Clemson for a Gatorade shower for Dabo Swinney after they won the Orange Bowl. (Yes, that actually happened. I have proof.)
They also fell for a flop by a Bearcats player when Greg Reaves was extracurricular-ing early in the game. There’s 60 of USF’s penalty yards right there.
They say it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. Luke Fickell must have used every muscle in his body to make this face. It is positively Manningesque.
Luke Fickell wasn't happy about a #Pick6 #CINvsUSF pic.twitter.com/n3lrC5DRcy— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) October 15, 2017
One of the followers on our Facebook page found this. Check out the Bearcats’ 310-pound lineman Kyle Trout taking flight to try and bring down Auggie near the end of his return. He came up a liiiiittle bit short.
Posted by Matt McGuire on Saturday, October 14, 2017
While we’re talking about that play, can we discuss what an idiotic decision that was by Hayden Moore? He had five receivers all running for the end zone. None of them appeared to have any idea he threw the ball as early as he did. His intended receiver didn’t look for the pass or put his arms up to catch it. All the other receivers kept running upfield even as Auggie intercepted the pass, and none of them got anywhere close to him while all the Bulls DBs hustled ahead to form a convoy. It was basically 11 against 6 coming back the other way.
The Rutgers screen pass getting tackled for a safety will forever be the funniest play in USF football history, but this play has to be the new runner-up.
As you know, USF tied an FBS record in the poll era (which goes back over 80 years) by scoring at least 30 points in their 23rd straight game. The last time the Bulls failed to hit 30 was November 7, 2015, at East Carolina. The Bulls won anyway, 22-17.
The most impressive thing about the streak is how USF isn’t getting garbage points at the end to barely creep across the line. In 16 of these 23 games, including Saturday night, the Bulls have reached 30 points before the end of the third quarter. The latest the Bulls have left it was against Stony Brook a few weeks ago, when Darius Tice scored a touchdown with under two minutes left. That was the only game this season where it took until the fourth quarter to hit 30 points.
USF has also scored at least 40 points in 16 of these 23 games.
We need to know more about this fan. A lot more.
I found the greatest #bulls fan in #USF history. #CHAMPS @StampedeSBN @USFFootball pic.twitter.com/ZNn9qS8SjM— Anthony Vito (@anthonyvito_) October 15, 2017
Personally, I want to know where he found that retro shirt. I would wear the hell out of that. Russell Athletic made them, and that design was the hotness when I was in the third or fourth grade. (Where would you have bought a shirt like that before the Internet? The USF Bookstore? The University Mall Burdines?)
Bless you, Boise State.