USF has not been a good 1st half team all season long. The Bulls have found themselves trailing heading into the 4th quarter in the majority of their games, but they have been able to dig themselves out of that hole. Saturday the hole the Bulls found themselves in was too big to get out of. USF’s offense was stagnant in the 1st half and then turnovers plagued them in the 3rd quarter to the point that they trailed a lowly Tulane team by 31 points. USF started to dig themselves out of that hole, but it was far too little, too late as they fell 41-15 for their 2nd straight loss.
Tulane did a good job on their 1st drive to get into USF territory. They got close to the redzone, but a dropped pass on 3rd down forced them to settle for a field goal attempt. Merek Glover was nowhere close on the 41 yard attempt and the Bulls offense took over at their own 25. USF drove down the field largely due to the running of Blake Barnett, but they stalled close to the goal line. Barnett was sacked on 3rd and goal from the 5, but a Coby Weiss field goal got the home team on the board 1st. The teams traded some punts on the next few drives, but once again the Bulls found themselves down in the 1st quarter. Tulane quarterback took off on a 33-yard touchdown run on a 3rd down to put the Green Wave on top, 7-3.
The Green Wave looked like they had a double digit lead early in the 2nd quarter, but a holding penalty took a McMillan touchdown pass off the board. Glover though, was good on a 38-yard attempt to put Tulane in front by a touchdown early in the 2nd. The bleeding didn’t stop there. The Bulls offense couldn’t get anything going on their next drive and gave the ball back to the Green Wave in great field position. 3 plays later Corey Dauphine found the endzone and the Bulls went down 17-3. The ugly 1st half would continue for the Bulls. Johnny Ford would muff a punt to give Tulane great field position once again and Dauphine’s 2nd touchdown run of the game had the Bulls down 24-3 with just under 6 minutes remaining in the opening half. Tulane was able to add on 3 more points with a field goal in the final seconds of the half to take a 24 point lead to the locker room.
USF looked to finally have something going in the 2nd half when Barnett connected with Darnell Salomon on a bomb, but the receiver had the ball knocked out of his hands and Tulane was able to recover and get it back into Bulls’ territory. The USF defense kept the Green Wave off of the board and got the ball back to the offense. The Bulls had another promising drive going, but once again it was halted because of a turnover. A Barnett pass went off the mitts of Salomon and into the waiting arms of Zachery Harris for an interception. One play after that interception the scoreboard was even more in favor of Tulane. Darius Bradwell was untouched and he took it up the gut for a 73 yard touchdown run. Johnny Ford finally got the Bulls into the endzone in the final seconds of the quarter, but the extra point was blocked to keep it a 4-score game heading to the 4th.
USF was able to cut into the lead fairly early in the quarter. Barnett scored on a quarterback sneak to make it a 3 score game with just under 10 minutes to go. USF couldn’t recover an onside kick, but a McMillan fumble recovered by the defense gave the Bulls a glimmer of hope. USF tried as they might to get a miracle comeback going but it was beyond too little, too late.
USF heads out on the road next week to take on another AAC foe. The Bulls will be in Ohio to face the surprising Cincinnati Bearcats in an important game for the Eastern division in the American. Kickoff time has not yet been announced.