Seven straight games. Seven straight losses. This time 49-0 to the No. 17 Wisconsin Badgers.
The South Florida Bulls football team opened their 2019 campaign with an emphatic thud as they couldn’t do anything on offense, put the defense in awful situations, and suffered the worst loss in program history in front of an announced crows of 46,704 fans inside Raymond James Stadium on Friday night.
“Very disappointing and embarrassing loss,” head coach Charlie Strong said after the game. “When you have the crowd that we had, and they had to wait for over an hour-and-a-half, and we go out and play the way we played, there’s no reason for that. As a head coach, I thought I had them ready to play. I guess I didn’t.”
USF didn’t get into Wisconsin territory until late in the fourth quarter, and ended up settling for a 43-yard field goal attempt by Coby Weiss that never came close. Basically just like the entire night.
The Bulls defense—while playing hard—had no answers for Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor, who accounted for 183 total yards and four touchdowns. One of the lone bright spots on the night was Oklahoma State transfer linebacker Patrick Macon who had 15 tackles and four TFL in his USF debut.
Under new offensive coordinator Kerwin Bell, the offense couldn’t string back-to-back good plays to together. Either a penalty, drop, or missed block would derail any sort promise to a drive. The Bulls finished with just 157 total yards on the night with 40 of those yards coming on their final drive of the night down 49-0.
Senior quarterback Blake Barnett was 13-for-30 for 109 yards, two interceptions, a fumble, and three sacks. Drops and poor blocking didn’t help his cause tonight. Jernard Phillips dropped what may have been Barnett’s best throw of the night, and Michigan transfer Eddie McDoom dropped what would have been a huge chuck play with USF backed up in their own territory.
USF will need to self-assess their entire program on the fly and adjust for next week’s game against Georgia Tech. Will the doubt creep in after losing seven straight games? Time will tell, but this was not the start Strong needed to convince the fan base that this team is changed from the one we saw in 2018.
But, again, congrats on the history!