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Poor Tackling, Mistakes Cost USF in 41-17 Loss at SMU

A step in the right direction in some areas.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 02 USF at SMU Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Another week of poor tackling compounded with multiple mistakes by the players and coaching staff cost the South Florida Bulls in their 41-17 loss at SMU on Saturday.

The clues were there early in the game for the Bulls after on 2nd and 5, freshman quarterback Timmy McClain ran out of bounds two yards shy of the first down when he could’ve gotten an extra five yards on the scramble. The Bulls were stuffed on third down, and they punted the ball away at midfield trailing 7-0.

On the next USF possession, McClain missed a wide open Xavier Weaver for what would’ve been a walk in touchdown. ead coach Jeff Scott then decided to punt again, but this time on 4th and 5 from the SMU 34-yard line. SMU proceeded to score on the very next drive as they went 97-yards to give themselves a 17-0 lead.

It was an uncharacteristic game from McClain who was just 2-for-7 on passes 15 or more yards down the field. He finished the night 14-for-22 for 223 yards, but it could’ve been a bigger day (and closer game) had he hit one of the three throws he missed downfield to Weaver and Omarion Dollison.

The depleted defense did what they could against the 5th ranked offense in the country, but the Mustangs scored points on seven of their 11 drives to pull away from the Bulls in the second half. The tackling remains a major issue, and led to an easy touchdown on the first SMU possession of the game.

USF has a bye week to help solve some of their issues, and get healthier before they welcome in Tulsa.


  • Running back Jaren Mangham scored two touchdowns. He now has nine rushing scores on the year, which is tied for 10th all-time for USF in a single season.
  • Freshman receiver Jimmy Horn, Jr. caught five passes for 102 yards. His first 100-yard game in college.
  • USF was 3-for-11 on third down. SMU was 9-for-16.
  • SMU ran 64% of their plays in USF territory.