USFNation Game Grades: Cincinnati

The Bulls lost a defensive battle against Cincinnati on Sunday night 23-6. hands out game grades position-by-position. Read on to see how they graded out. Also included in this weeks grades are the average grades from the message board. Only on!

QB: Matt Grothe struggled under center on Sunday for the first time this season. He passed for a season low 47 yards and one interception while completing 11 of 21. He also added 30 yards rushing on only seven carries but fumbled once. Pat Julmiste played a decent game as the replacement for Grothe, who left in the fourth due to a laceration on his nose. In the fourth quarter, Julmiste completed 8 of 15 for 80 yards including an 11 yard touchdown pass to Amp Hill with under a minute remaining in the game. At the same time, neither quarterback had time to breathe let alone throw the ball.
USFNation Staff Grade: D+
Message Board Avg. Grade: C-

WR: This was the worst game of the season for the Bulls' receivers, who dropped more passes then they have in the previous six games combined. The biggest miscue of the day came during a Bulls' drive with 1:09 remaining in the third quarter. On their first possession of the second half, USF drove all the way down to the Bearcats' 12 yard line. After Matt Grothe connected with Taurus Johnson, Trevor Anderson caused a fumble at the USF 43. The ball was immediately picked up by linebacker Kevin McCullough who then returned it 39 yards for a touchdown to extend the Bearcats' lead to 9-0 lead. Ean Randolph was the top receiver on the Bulls with four catches for 35 yards while Amp Hill had three catches for 26 yards and one score.
USFNation Staff Grade: D+

Message Board Avg. Grade: C

RB: Benjamin Williams once again was awarded the start for the Bulls with Ricky Ponton coming of the bench. Neither back had a successful day thanks in part to a Bearcats' defense that dominated the USF offensive line. Midway through the first quarter, the Bulls gave up the opening points of the game when Benjamin Williams was dropped in the backfield for a safety. This was a constant problem for the Bulls who never seemed to establish any type of running attack. Ricky Ponton was held to only 39 yards rushing on nine carries while Benjamin Williams could only add 27 yards on six carries.
USFNation Staff Grade: C-
Message Board Avg. Grade: C-

Offensive line: The front five of the Bulls quite frankly got their butts whooped on Sunday night. They were blown off the line of scrimmage for most of the game and were haunted by a tough Cincinnati defense. The Bulls quarterbacks were sacked a combined four times and the number would have possibly doubled if not for the Grothe's agility. After the Bearcats' special teams unit forced the Bulls to start their drive on their own two yard line, it took only one play for the Bearcats to record a safety. On the play, the defensive tackles barreled through the middle of the line of scrimmage, and smashed Benjamin Williams before he was even given a chance to get back to the line of scrimmage. The offensive line of the Bulls were completely overwhelmed and run over by a Bearcats defense that sacked Grothe four times.
USFNation Staff Grade:
Message Board Avg. Grade: C-

D-line: The front four of the Bulls had a rocky performance on Saturday night. They provided some pass rush at times but seemed to be blown off the ball during rushing plays. The Bearcats rushed for 198 yards on 46 carries and two scores off of a one yard run as well as a 27 yard scamper. George Selvie played the best out of the starters by registering eight tackles including one tackle for a loss and one sack. Josh Julmiste, who started his first game of the season after missing the previous six due to a suspension, added five tackles, forced a fumble, and had one pass deflection.
USFNation Staff Grade: D
Message Board Avg. Grade: C-

LB: Once again the linebackers for the Bulls played an excellent game. They made some huge stops during third and fourth down conversions to keep the Bulls in the game. The only offensive points given up by the defense came in the fourth quarter after a failed fake punt attempt by the Bulls gave the Bearcats the ball at the 26 yard line. Stephen Nicholas led the game with 12 tackles including one and a half tackles for a loss and half a sack. Patrick St. Louis was second on the team with nine tackles while Ben Moffett had seven tackles for the game. 
USFNation Staff Grade: A-
Message Board Avg. Grade: B+  

DB: Although they were beaten deep on a few plays, the defensive backs never gave up any sort of deep pass. In fact the longest completion for the Bearcats went for only 19 yards. Jeremy Burnett lived up to his hard hitting reputation and completely flattened some of Cincinnati's receivers. He also added seven tackles throughout the game. The secondary only allowed 105 yards passing on the day, but were unable to record any much needed interceptions. Trae Williams only had two tackles but provided great coverage downfield. Jerome Murphy and Tyller Roberts each had two tackles as well.  
USFNation Staff Grade: B+
Message Board Avg. Grade: A

Special teams: In the previous six games of the season, the special teams unit have always been a thorn in the Bulls side. Although Ean Randolph could always be relied on as being the team's human highlight reel. On Saturday, Randolph was in rare form and never seemed too comfortable on the field. Randolph had three punt returns for 18 yards while four different players rotated returning kicks. The mistakes just can not be overlooked though. Randolph fielded a punt, which he should have let go, at the Bulls two yard line and nearly was tackled for the second safety of the day. The most talked about play from the Bearcats came early in the fourth quarter with the Bulls trailing 9-0. Justin Teachey ran a fake punt on a fourth and four from the Bulls 26 yard line. While some may say it was a horrible call, I believe the opposite. One lone missed block resulted in Teachey being tackled for a one yard gain instead of a possible 20 yard gain. A few plays later, the Bearcats scored on a one yard run to extend their lead to 16-0 .
USFNation Staff Grade: F
Message Board Avg. Grade: D


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