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Box Score EMOJICAP: USF 47, Illinois 23

A look through the numbers and the emojis from Friday’s win over Illinois.

NCAA Football: Illinois at South Florida Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Finally USF looked like the USF team we’ve been accustomed to seeing the last two years. In a 47-23 win over Illinois, the Bulls racked up the most yards they’ve ever gained against an FBS team and extended their streak of 30+ point games to 20.

To the emojis!

For only the second time in school history, USF had three 100-yard rushers. Quinton Flowers went for 106, Darius Tice came in with 105, and D’Ernest Johnson racked up 101. The three of them gained most of the 376 total rushing yards USF put on Illinois’ defense.

juggler

There’s been a lot of complaints about Sterlin Gilbert’s offense early in the season, compared to what we saw last season. Too many runs up the middle, not enough outside running, not letting Flowers cook, etc. Things were a lot better Friday night. There were designed runs for Flowers, screens, jet sweeps, even some play action. Along with the three 100-yard rushers, Flowers threw for 280 yards and four TDs, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Deangelo Antoine each had four catches for over 90 yards and a touchdown. It was a really good mix, and very welcome.

This is for the play call that led to D’Ernest Johnson’s touchdown reception. A little play fake, Flowers shuffled right, then threw back to Johnson on a screen. It was niiiiice.

lightning

OK, look. I am terrified of lightning. I came pretty close to getting hit by a rogue bolt as a kid. When a storm rolls through, I am more than happy to go to the hallway and comfort our dog, who is also terrified of lightning.

All that said, maybe the NCAA’s lightning delay rules are a little ridiculous? The opening kickoff was delayed for 30 minutes for a storm that never came anywhere near the stadium, but apparently put down a lightning strike somewhere in Oldsmar or wherever. The rules say that there’s an automatic 30-minute delay for any lightning strike within 8 miles of the stadium. The clock resets every time there’s another strike in that distance. It leads to some horrible weather delays that kill everything about the game. (See also: Navy-FAU finishing up while the cleaning crew swept trash out of the empty stands.)

It’s a night game in Florida in September. We can’t be stopping the game for every little storm that pops up and fizzles out. Look, if there’s a Notre Dame-style thunderstorm coming for the stadium, get everybody off the field and out of the stands. But this shouldn’t be an automatic call or we’ll never finish games on time. Maybe you could have a meteorologist look at the situation when a lightning strike in the 8-mile radius happens. If they say stop the game, stop the game.

Any time USF has to punt the ball or kick an extra point or field goal. We’re up to four blocked kicks in three games. I asked Nate if he’d seen anything that could be causing the problem, and he said the snaps seem to be taking a little too long. The Bulls have a new long snapper this year, Zach Dietz. Maybe if the timing isn’t off, he’s giving some kind of tell that he’s about to snap the ball and letting the defense time their rush to get a jump on the protection. But this needs to get fixed fast.

OH MY GOD BIG TEN REFS ARE YOU THE FEDS OR SOMETHING. The huge disparity between penalties in the first half (26!!!) and the second half (just five) tells me that Rod Snodgrass and his crew, not the players, were mainly responsible for that shitshow of flags and ejections. For awhile there were more penalties than Illinois plays from scrimmage. When they’re calling offensive pass interference and clipping and multiple penalties on extra points, they need to chill.

If we’re asking the season ticket holders to wear white on the tickets, and barely following up on that request, and then we give out green Florida Strong T-shirts to the students... um, come on guys.

(Side note - can we all collectively as a nation stop with the #NameOfPlaceStrong hashtags? We can do a lot better. This is like naming every little scandal in the news by putting “-gate” on the end of it.)

Here comes Temple... and they are not nearly as good as they have been... and USF has a lot of pent-up anger from the whipping they took in Philly last year... this could be fun. I’m looking forward to Thursday night already.