The SMU Mustangs raced out to a 34-0 halftime lead as they coasted by the South Florida Bulls 48-21 inside Raymond James Stadium on Saturday night. SMU quarterback Shane Buechele connected on his first 13 passes of the night to help give the Mustangs an insurmountable lead.
“It comes down to execution,” head coach Charlie Strong said after the game. “We’ll get it corrected because we’re better than that.”
The Bulls have lost nine straight games to FBS opponents by a combined score of 357-152, and have lost by 18 or more points in six of those games. The Bulls have only been within a touchdown during the fourth quarter in two of those nine games. At some point, you are who you are.
Buechele finished the night 21-of-25 for 226 yards and three touchdowns. Backups Terrance Gipson and Derek Green went 3-for-4 for 26 yards and an interception. Wide receivers James Proche and Reggie Roberson Jr. combined for 12 catches for 142 yards and three touchdowns, while running back Xavier Jones ran for 155 yards (10.4 yards per carry) and two scores.
The USF offense couldn’t put any drives together until the game was well out of reach.
First half drive chart: Punt, Interception in end zone, Interception, Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt, end of half.
On the final four punts of the first half for the Bulls they totaled negative 21 yards on 12 plays, all three-and-outs. Conversely, SMU scored on five straight possessions in the first half to blow the game wide open.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Jordan McCloud was sacked six times in the first half, and didn’t play in the second half due to a wrist injury. His replacement, Blake Barnett, was sacked four times and hit at least four more times.
McCloud finished the night 8-of-19 for 66 yards and two interceptions. Barnett went 13-of-21 for 222 yards and three touchdowns in mop up duty with the game well in hand. Barnett was seen getting help off the field after the final whistle. So, that’s both scholarship quarterbacks hurt in one game for those keeping score at home.
The offensive line was somehow worse after the bye week, and couldn’t pass protect or open holes in the running game all night.
The Bulls will travel to UConn next week in what might be Charlie Strong’s final game as a USF head coach if they lose.
- Slot receiver Bryce Miller caught his first career touchdown.
- Tight end Mitchell Wilcox caught four passes for 77 yards and touchdown.
- Randall St. Felix dropped both targets and was held off the stat sheet.