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NCAA 14 Summer Series: USF Football Destroys FCS Southeast, 70-7, in Head Coach Willie Taggart’s Debut

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This is exactly what happened IRL, too. Don’t look it up.

Nathan Bond/The Daily Stampede

So, it’s the offseason. Nothing is really happening around USF Athletics this time of year, and we need #Content.

With that in mind, I tweeted out that I was starting a new NCAA Football 14 dynasty with USF, one thing led to another and now I will be covering my first season inside the dynasty as if it was actually happening.

I’m using my very old Xbox-360, and before you ask, yes it’s on Heisman. If my life was on the line and I had to beat someone in any video game, it’d be any iteration of NCAA football.

Also, whenever the game comes back (if it does), I really want the features it had for NCAA Football 07 on the Playstation 2, like suspensions so I can dole out Urban Meyer level punishment. ‘Oh, you got a DUI and hit a parked car, then fled the scene? You’re suspended for a quarter.’

First order of business, who will be my starting quarterback: Penn State transfer Steven Bench or true freshman White Mike? I let Twitter decide.

With 57% of the vote, Bench is now QB1. White Mike even endorsed the selection.

With the QB battle taken care of, we turn our attention to our game one opponent, FCS SE. (note: in real life, this was the McNeese State game and yeeeeaaahhh, let’s not talk about that.)

After not one, but two glitches where running back Marcus Shaw was the holder for the PAT and pulled a Lucy on Charlie Brown then just refused to get tackled, I had to restart the game for the third time. Prior to having to restart the game, Bench was 15/15 for 199 yards and two total touchdowns combined, smh.

USF won the toss and began their first drive season at their own 23-yard line. Bench connects on his first three passes, including a vital hook up with wide receiver Andre Davis for four yards on 3rd and 3 to keep the drive alive. Bench’s only incompletion was on an angle route to Shaw that the senior from Arcadia dropped. But, on the very next play Shaw took a simple stretch run to the left side 33-yards for the first score of the game.

FCS SE responded quickly with a 48-yard run followed by a 20-yard touchdown run of their own aided by poor tackling from just about everyone on the USF defense. Defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan must’ve given the defense the pep talk of his life because they responded the rest of the game and allowed Bench and the offense to get comfortable and become an explosive threat.

The defense recorded five (5) interceptions led by Mark Joyce’s two and sacked the opposing QB seven times, including three sacks from Ryne Giddins. Senior linebacker Dede Lattimore returned an interception 46-yards for a touchdown.

While the defense was flying around, Shaw was having himself a first half. He scored from three yards out on fourth down to cap the second drive of the game. He would end up with 142 yards on 16 carries and three TDs. Fellow back Michael Pierre rushed for 59 yards and a score on seven carries.

Bench was impressive in his debut, completing 24-33 passes for 292 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. He also chipped in a rushing touchdown. On Bench’s first INT, he had Davis one-on-one vs a CB in the endzone and the corner made a good play, and the second was an end of the first half hail mary. The Bainbridge, GA native showed why he was named the starter prior to the game.

Davis paced the receivers with eight catches for 140 yards and two TD’s. Junior receiver Stephen Bravo-Brown hauled in five catches for 107 yards, including a 61-yard catch-and-run TD early in the game.

It was a complete team effort displayed by the Bulls. Due to a weird scheduling quirk, USF will face FAU next, instead of Michigan State.

Final Stats:

Final stats for USF/FCS SE

Notables:

  • True freshman QB White Mike completed his first collegiate pass to senior Jonny Sitton for 48-yards.
  • Elkino Watson (RIP) and Aaron Lynch were selected to the preseason All-AAC first-team. Reshard Cliett and Fidel Montgomery were selected to the second-team.
  • TE Sean Price caught three passes for 27 yards and a score.