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Turnovers, Horrific Late-Game Time Management Cost USF in 39-37 Defeat at Temple

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The last 1:03 of the game was Strongesque.

South Florida v Cincinnati Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

For all the flashes of competence, effective play-calling, and spunkiness from the South Florida Bulls today, it went up in smoke late as head coach Jeff Scott wasted a vital timeout in the Bulls 39-37 loss to the Temple Owls.

“This one hurts. Lotta guys hurting in the locker room right now,” Scott said.

Withstanding poor third down defense, and three fumbles by Jordan McCloud, the Bulls had a chance to tie the game at 39 with 1:03 left in the fourth quarter after Leo Parker ran in for the score, but Scott decided to use a timeout which effectively ended any chance for the USF offense to get the ball back with time remaining.

“I knew the game was on the line, and I wanted us to have enough time to decide what we wanted to do.” Scott said. “That was the game right there. We knew it was basically do-or-die, and we wanted to talk about it.

Now the two-point conversion play call was equally as brutal. Backup quarterback Noah Johnson ran a QB sweep to the short side of the field and was dropped for a loss on the play.

“It’s a play that we’d had success with in the past. Tried to do it a little different, and it didn’t work. That’s on me as a coach. We didn’t give our guys a chance on that play,” Scott said.

McCloud got the start this week, and completed 15-of-26 passes for 182 yards and threw three TDs. But, the story for him was the three fumbles, the last of which gave the Owls (1-1, 1-1 AAC) the lead late in the game. It’s his fourth fumble in two games.

Running back Johnny Ford was electric once again accounting for over 200 all-purpose yards (68 rushing, 54 receiving, 84 kick return). He left late in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury, but was seen walking around in the locker room after the game.

Once again, Temple WR Jadan Blue hurt the Bulls. He led the Owls with nine catches, 60 yards, and two scores. He had 11 catches for 121 yards in the 2019 meeting.

USF (1-4, 0-3 AAC) will have to figure out a way to put this game behind them quickly as they welcome in Tulsa on Friday night.

Notables

  • Right tackle Jarrett Hopple was benched after Jordan McCloud was sacked, and lost the ball in the first quarter.
  • USF “technically” recovered an onside kick for the first time since 2001.
  • Temple was 9-of-17 on third down, including 5-of-6 late in the game.
  • USF was penalized 11 times for 111 yards, both season highs.