Outmatched, unprepared, uninterested are ways you can describe the South Florida Bulls’ humiliating 41-15 blowout loss to the Tulane Green Wave in front of 31,388 (OK, Batman) on Saturday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium.
“For us to come out and play the way we did, it’s just...it’s on the coaches,” head coach Charlie Strong said. “We didn’t play hard at all. We’re not ready to play, we’re not focused and it’s the little things that catch up to you.”
After grabbing an early 3-0 lead on a 65-yard drive that saw quarterback Blake Barnett take off for a career-long 39-yard run on the Bulls’ first offensive play from scrimmage, USF allowed 34 unanswered Green Wave points.
Barnett completed 29-of-49 attempts for 332 yards and led the Bulls rushing “attack” with 59 yards and a touchdown. Running backs Jordan Cronkrite and Johnny Ford were held to just 46 total yards on 16 carries.
“We really needed to score in the red zone on the first drive...we needed to finish it,” Barnett said. “From that point on, it was a lot of details and little things that we should have done better.”
Tulane (4-5, 3-2 AAC) rushed for 364 yards on 52 attempts, racked up 429 yards of total offense, and grabbed a commanding 27-3 lead at halftime and never looked back.
“We were 7-0 but skating by, really, how good are we?”, Strong added. “We’ve got to have leadership, we’ve got to be a mature team to really wake up.”
Junior wide receiver Stanley Clerveaux was the lone bright spot for a struggling USF offense, matching his career high with five catches for 50 yards.
“We just weren’t focused...we took Tulane for granted,” Clervaux said. “We were playing around the first seven games to be honest...we thought we could come back again but it ended up haunting us today.”
After posting at least 200 yards on the ground in 31 of of the last 37 games, the Bulls totaled up just 110 yards and turned it over three times, including two lost fumbles.
“We gotta get the ball in the right people’s hands,” Strong added. “We need to find out how to run the football.”
It’s the first time USF has lost consecutive games since 2015 and the first time the Bulls have dropped back-to-back conference contests since the 2014 season.
With a conference title just about out of reach, USF will try and rebound on Saturday at Cincinnati. Kickoff time is TBA.
“We will not quit, we will go out and compete,” Strong said. “We have to play better and show better, the sense of urgency and how we go about things is critical.”
- Senior wide receiver Tyre McCants moved into fourth place on USF’s career receptions list (119) after hauling in nine catches for 85 yards
- The Bulls nation-long streak of consecutive 20-plus point games was snapped at 38.