Opponent: No. 24 Cincinnati Bearcats
2022 Record: 4-1 (1-0 AAC)
Head Coach: Luke Fickell (52-16 at Cincinnati; 58-23 overall)
Date/Time/Location: Saturday, October 8, 2:30 p.m., Nippert Stadium (38,088), Cincinnati, OH
How To Watch/Listen: ESPN+, 102.5FM, Bulls Unlimited
Series History: Cincinnati leads series 12-7. Last: Bearcats won 45-28 in Tampa in 2021
Well, folks, we’ve made it to another USF football game day! yay.
The Bulls are fresh off getting run out of the gym at Louisville and vs ECU (but won the second half vs ECU) and look to somehow right the ship against arguably the best team in The American. Good luck.
The Bearcats had to replace nine (9) NFL Draft picks from last season’s team including QB Desmond Ridder, RB Jerome Ford, and first round pick Sauce Gardner, and yet, they haven’t missed a beat.
Cincinnati QB Ben Bryant has been more than serviceable as Ridder’s replacement this season and has thrown for over 1,300 yards, including 13 TDs to just four interceptions while completing 65% of his passes. He’s found a great connection with WR Tyler Scott (28 catches, 500 yards, six TD), who’s done a terrific job of replacing second round NFL Draft pick Alec Pierce. Fellow wide out Tre Tucker has 22 catches, 323 yards, and two touchdowns of his own.
If those aren’t good enough weapons, the Bearcats sport two 6’5, 250+ tight ends in Josh Whyle and Leonard Taylor who’ve combined for 24 catches, 213 yards, and four touchdowns in 2022.
For a USF team who couldn’t stop a nose bleed through the air last week against an mediocre passer in Holton Ahlers, it’s going to be a tall task for the Bulls to contain the passing attack of the Bearcats.
Get to know UC linebacker Ivan Pace. You’re going to hear his name a lot on Saturday. He leads the Bearcats in tackles (56), tackles-for-loss (13.5), sacks (6), and forced fumbles (2). 18 different players have accounted for 50 TFL, and 13 have been a part of 23 sacks.
This will be the best defense the Bulls face all season. It’s not close. Which leads us to...
The wheel of USF offensive playcalling.
- QB run
- Jimmy Horn Touch
- Xavier Weaver Touch
- Brian Battie Touch
Weaver leads the team with 25 catches, and 307 yards. Horn had a career day last week with eight catches, 180 yards, and two scores. Battie has been consistently the best offensive player all season, and Gerry Bohanon has been effective running the ball on designed plays.
This should be the offense. The offense isn’t terrible (when not shooting themselves in the foot). Everyone had their go-to plays when they played NCAA Football 14. The four are the go-to plays. Utilize them.
I guess this is where we pile on head coach Jeff Scott, who if VH1 still had the Best Week Ever show going, he’d be in the running for the Worst Week Ever award. The obvious: 1-22 in FBS games. Down two or more scores after the first quarter in 12 of 23 FBS games. One FBS win in over 1,000 days. 1-16 trailing after one quarter. 0-16 trailing at halftime. Outscored 66-7 in the first quarter this year. OK, I’ll stop. 0-18 trailing after three quarters.
The growing number of fans, local media, and national media are about ready—if they haven’t already—push that reset button on the Jeff Scott era. No one thinks the Bulls will win, let alone compete at Cincinnati. If there was ever time to put together a complete game, it’d be now, Jeff. You damn well better not get blown out again in the first half, because no amount of Steiner Math will save you from that.
Cincinnati 55, USF 17