Saturday was an afternoon when nothing seemed to go wrong for Willie Taggart and the South Florida Bulls, who are now undefeated on the season after invading Central New York and rolling over the Syracuse Orangemen by the score of 45-20.
Dino Babers' program struck early, and even held a 17-0 first quarter lead, but that's about all you want to remember if you're representing the 'Cuse sideline.
The Bulls ended up regrouping once the first quarter hit all zeros, and manufactured a second quarter to remember with an eye-popping 28 points going up on the scoreboard, led by receiver Rodney Adams, who was responsible for three of those second quarter scores.
“The thing I liked about our guys is nobody flinched on the sideline," Willie Taggart told reporters. "They stayed wide-eyed and they looked adversity in the face and said, ‘Bring it on.’ That was great to see our guys respond that way.”
It was quarterback Quinton Flowers who kicked things off with a 27-yard dart to Adams, who journeyed into the end zone with less than a minute into the start of the second quarter. The seasoned pass catcher has a reputation for stretching defenses out on the perimeter, but also accumulated two scores on the ground, with a long of 19 yards that gave USF a 28-17 lead heading into halftime.
Adams, a St. Petersburg native who signed with Toledo out of high school, certainly left his mark and finished today's contest with 154 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns.
South Florida managed to outscore the Orange 45-3 over the final three quarters, despite being outgained 549-454 in total yardage. Star running back Marlon Mack also did his part after being sidelined with a concussion for last week's triumph over NIU, accumulating 115 rushing yards and two scores on just nine carries.
Mack was also responsible for USF's lone score of the third quarter, after breaking loose for a 52-yard run that officially put the nail in the coffin. Saturday was also the 14th career game where Mack eclipsed the 100-yard mark.
Syracuse won the battle when it came to time of possession with their near 38 minutes to USF's 21:22, but serving up three turnovers can do that to you. 'Cuse quarterback Eric Dungey had his moments, tossing the pigskin for 350 yards and two touchdowns on 32-of-48 passing, but also provided a pair of costly interceptions, including one to all AAC cornerback Deatrick Nichols.
Sophomore cornerback Ronnie Hoggins chipped in with a career-high 12 tackles and one forced fumble, while defensive tackle Deandrin Senat manufactured the game of his collegiate career with an all-time high 12 tackles.
South Florida, who's won 10 of their last 12 games dating back to the 2015 season, has also battled out to their first 3-0 start in the past five seasons.
The Bulls will now return home for next Saturday's highly-anticipated matchup with the second-ranked (for now) Florida State Seminoles.