From the beginning of the year November was circled on the USF Bulls calendar. The Bulls close out the season with 4 games against 4 of the best teams in the AAC. That gauntlet started against the Temple Owls in what many viewed as a must-win for bowl eligibility. The Bulls defense was up to the task. They came up with big plays all night long to give Jordan McCloud and the offense a chance. The offense just couldn’t live up to their end of the bargain. The Temple pass rush was relentless all night long as they sacked McCloud 9 times in their 17-7 victory. With the loss the Bulls hopes to become bowl eligible take a serious hit. USF (4-5) now needs to win 2 out of their last 3 against Cincinnati, Memphis, and UCF.
The 1st drive for USF was aided by a great break. They were forced to punt after mustering 1 first down, but got a 2nd chance thanks to a roughing the kicker call. The Bulls pushed the ball into Temple territory, but a Jordan McCloud fumble gave the ball back to the Owls. Temple took advantage of that turnover and drove into the USF redzone. Tyrone Barber said that was as far as they were getting. He came up with a huge tackle for loss on a 4th and 1 play to get his offense the ball back. Neither team could get on the board in the rest of the quarter and we entered the 2nd with goose eggs on the board.
The 2nd quarter was filled with the most controversial call in sports, targeting. The 1st call was upheld, but the 2nd one, a hit against Mitchell Wilcox was overturned. Wilcox spent time in the injury tent, but emerged running up and down the sidelines and appeared to be ready to go back into the game. The 1st truly big offensive play was from Temple.Jager Gardner took off on a 57-yard run. KJ Sails tripping him up was the only thing that kept him from getting into the endzone. 2 plays later the Owls were able to get the scoring going. Back-up QB, Todd Centeio found Kenny Yeboah for a 1-yard touchdown pass. The Owls entered the locker room with a 7-0 lead.
Temple started the 2nd half with the ball and their drive looked promising, until the Bulls defense came through with yet another big play. This time it was Bentlee Sanders intercepting Russo to get his team the ball back without the lead being extended to 2 scores. The Bulls defense was doing their best to keep the team in the game, but the offense continued to sputter. They did more than sputter when Terrence Horne Jr. fumbled the ball after making a catch. Sam Franklin was there to scoop and take it back 39 yards for a touchdown. The USF offense answered with their best drive of the game. McCloud led his team on a 90-yard drive that was capped off by a 14-yard touchdown pass to Bryce Miller.
The Owls answered on their 1st drive of the final quarter. They added a 44-yard field goal that brought their lead back to 10. The outcome became academic when USF was called for a roughing the kicker penalty that let Temple extend their drive and bleed the majority of the time left on the clock.
USF continues their November gauntlet Saturday November 16th against Cincinnati. The Bearcats are currently ranked in the top 20 of the college football playoff rankings and their only loss on the year came at the hands of Ohio State. Kickoff time is not yet set, but will either be at 3:30 or 7:30. No matter the time you will hear it from start to finish on 95.3 WDAE and AM 620.