The poet O’Shea Jackson once explained what a good day entailed. No where in all his musings did he mention anything resembling USF’s game against Notre Dame. Unless you consider messing around and getting a triple double could include three different failed punts, and two bad long snaps. Regardless, I still have some takeaways from yesterday’s lopsided loss.
1. Week one the Bulls defense passed the mental test against the Citadel and their triple option attack. They had no such luck in week two against the physical test posed by Notre Dame. The Irish moved the ball with little resistance on the ground all day, even with their backups. The Bulls tried to do some different things up front, but it didn’t matter. Styles make fights and this was about as poor a matchup as USF could have gotten. There are several future pros on the Irish offensive line and possibly two more at tight end/ h-back. Tommy Tremble (a perfect name for a reluctant superhero) put his stamp on the game as a blocker and a receiver. The Bulls had no answers.
2. Special teams giveth and special teams taketh. After benefiting from one of the most bizarre plays of all-time last week, the Bulls had the strange special teams play go against them this week. This included two snaps over the punter’s head and a failed fake punt that wasn’t as bad as it looked. These failings on special teams contributed to a massive starting field position discrepancy. Especially in the first half.
Stats I like to track every week are turnovers, third downs and field position. No turnovers, but USF has yet to convert a third down and Notre Dame has a roughly 30 YARD advantage in starting field position. That’s a recipe for a blowout. pic.twitter.com/hRtNB0rMY7— Seth Varnadore (@SethVarnadore) September 19, 2020
3. Last week I mentioned that I was hoping to see some more out of the passing game. We’re gonna have to wait another week. The inability to run the ball put the offense in a lot of third and longs. This leads to a low third down conversion rate (2-15) and somewhat limits the passing concepts you can call. The Bulls ran for 106 yards but 64 of those yards came on two Johnny Ford carries. The other 31 rushes went for 42 yards, an average of 1.35 yards per carry. This passing game is going to struggle without a great running game to complement it.