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USF Football Falls 17-13 in War on I-4

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So god damn close...

Morgan Tencza/The Daily Stampede

With a chance to take the lead with 12 seconds left and the ball on the Central Florida three-yard line, South Florida Bulls quarterback Timmy McClain dropped back to pass, and did the one thing he couldn’t do in that moment—take a sack. Time expired (after much consternation), and the Bulls fell 17-13 at C. Florida on Black Friday.

USF got the ball back at their own 11-yard line with 2:43 remaining in the game, and drove down the field for the chance to win. Running back Jaren Mangham caught a pass from McClain on 3rd and 13 and rumbled down field for a 30-yard gain to give the Bulls some hope. The Colorado transfer added another 93 yards on the ground tonight. Wide receiver Xavier Weaver added a 35-yard catch of his own to get the ball down to the Knights’ 15 yard line.

After a McClain sack, and back-to-back scrambles to get the ball to the CFU 3, McClain took one too many sacks as time expired.

USF got their most complete defensive performance of the season as they held the Golden Knights to the second-fewest points they’ve scored all year. Interim defensive coordinators Ernie Sims, and Daniel Da Prato did a fantastic job creating a gameplan to slow down a CFU offense who had averaged over 33 points per game, and over 410 yards of offense. The Knights totaled just 285 on the day.

The Bulls (2-10) shot themselves in the foot just enough times for ucf to escape with the win. Multiple false starts, ineligible man downfield’s, and general confusion at times doomed USF.

McClain finished the night 18-for-29 for 222 yards and added the lone Bulls’ touchdown on a five-yard rush in the first half. He and offensive line struggled for chunks of the night handling the exotic pressures CFU brought, and it ultimately cost them at the worst possible time.

USF got the ball back at their own 11-yard line with 2:43 remaining in the game, and drove down the field for the chance to win. Running back Jaren Mangham caught a pass from McClain on 3rd and 13 and rumbled down field for a 30-yard gain to give the Bulls some hope. The Colorado transfer added another 93 yards on the ground tonight. Wide receiver Xavier Weaver added a 35-yard catch of his own to get the ball down to the Knights’ 15 yard line.

The Bulls end year two of the Jeff Scott era 2-10, and 1-7 in AAC play. The wins will come. The team showed improvement from game one to game 12. The defense showed signs of life with some competent playcalling. McClain showed flashes and should only get better in year two. It seems bleak right now, but this team is turning the corner.

Notables:

  • USF finished 8-4 ATS in 2021. Jeff Scott is 13-8 in two years ATS.
  • The Bulls have gone winless in November for the fourth consecutive season.
  • USF hasn’t won a road game since 2019.
  • Reedy Creek has the series lead for the first time ever.
  • 281 days until the 2022 season opener versus BYU.