South Florida suffered their second loss of the season at the hands of Temple on Friday night, losing to the Owls 46-30. The numbers were reminiscent of most other USF games, but the Bulls found themselves on the wrong end of it all by the time the last whistle blew.
The Owls managed to tally 528 total offensive yards, 319 of which came on the run. Owls’ sophomore running back Ryquell Armstead had a career game against the Bulls, running for 210 yards and two touchdowns on 20 attempts. Armstead’s night was highlighted by a 76-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, rushing up the gut and avoiding USF tacklers.
This is the second game that the ‘Bull Shark’ defense has allowed an opposing running back to accumulate 200+ rushing yards, the first being against Florida State, and both have resulted in losses. The defensive unit bounced off of the Owls’ players, not completing their tackles and failed to turn the ball over even once in game. On the other hand, this was South Florida’s worst offensive showing since starting their nation leading, 11 game streak of at least 35 points and 440 total yards.
Running back Marlon Mack picked up his 10th rushing touchdown of the season, but had a relatively pedestrian game (by his standards) otherwise, running for 67 yards on 13 rushing attempts. Mack also led the team with three receptions as quarterback Quinton Flowers struggled make any meaningful gains through the air.
Flowers was able to connect with his receivers for two touchdowns and 187 yards on 11 completions, but was also sacked three times on the night; the most he’s been sacked in a single game this season. The offensive line broke down against the Temple defense, allowing the Owls’ defensive line to penetrate the Bulls’ offensive line with a three man front. The line was without veteran left tackle Kofi Amichia for a time after injuring his right leg, but was able to come back into the game a few drives later.
With the offensive line’s woes, Flowers stretched plays by running for 90 yards which was highlighted a 50-yard run down the field. Flowers also ran in his 20th and 21st career rushing touchdowns in the game.
Unfortunately, Flowers had to come out of the game at what was the most crucial point of the game for the Bulls as Flowers injured his leg in the last minutes of the game, down by just a touchdown. The injury sidelined Flowers for the Bulls’ last two offensive drives, forcing redshirt freshman Brett Kean to take the helm. Kean was only on the field for the two drives, being sacked for a safety and throwing an interception on his lone passing attempt.
Tonight’s loss will keep USF out of the top 25 for another week and will make their road to the conference championship that much harder now that they have picked up their first loss in conference. Next week the Bulls will be back in Tampa to host 24th ranked Navy at Raymond James Stadium and will have to improve on their run defense as they will be facing Navy’s extremely efficient triple option attack.