11 Things I Learned...USF at UCONN

USF (6-2, 1-2 Big East) followed its most impressive start in school history and a No. 2 BCS ranking with two straight Big East road losses including a 22-15 loss at UCONN Saturday. Now the Bulls are very close to being on the outside looking in at the BE race. With that in mind, the following are random thoughts from the Connecticut game. Only On USFNation.com – Get it first Get it Fast!


  1. USF still has trouble on the road.
    The Bulls have an impressive home record (4-0), but still has difficulties on the road. Even though they won at Auburn, they were had troubles offensively and needed OT to close the tigers out. Against FAU they needed to play a full 4 quarters to beat the Owls. Over the last two weeks against Rutgers and UCONN, two games in which the Bulls controlled their own destiny against teams that they should have handled, they didn't rise to the occasion and get the job done. In both games they had the Ball late and came up short.
  2. Andre Dixon is an underrated special running back.
    The redshirt sophomore amassed 210 all purpose yards with 168 yards on the ground on 32 carries. So far this season he has 610 yards on 108 carries (5.2 avg.) and two TD's. He also has 185 yards receiving and a score.
  3. UCONN is a team that needs to be taken seriously.
    When the Huskies beat the Bulls 22-15, it secured their ranking as the No. 1 team in the Big East. Even though it was the first ever for the team against a ranked opponent, it's impossible to ignore their 7-1 record and now being ranked No. 16 in the AP poll and No. 20 by the coaches just adds to it. The Big East has a new player, and the conference's competition just heated up..   
  4. USF has trouble stopping the power running game.
    After not allowing a 100 yard rusher through six games the Bulls have been gashed for 357 yards the last two weeks by Andre Dixon and Ray Rice. It seams like an eternity ago when they held in check Kevin Smith of UCF and the vaulted rushing attack of West Virginias Steve Slaton and Pat White. Over the last tow weeks there were gaping holes and missed tackle, while the running backs fell down for 5 yards a clip.
  5. What a difference two weeks make.
    Two weeks ago, the Bulls had high hopes of playing in the BCS national title game and seemed could do no wrong. But after losing consecutive games and dropping into a tie for last place in the Big East have played like a totally different squad. However, even being 1-2 the Bulls aren't out of the conference race just yet. If they can turn it around and start winning again, coupled with others losing, they could be right back in the thick of the conference title race.
  6. The Bulls have got to be more prolific in the red zone.
    This season the Bulls have had their difficulties inside the twenty, but at UCONN it became even more prevalent. Against the Huskies the Bulls had five trips that got inside the 5-yard line, with only 10 points to show for it. A Fumble, an interception, a missed chip shot field goal, and a turnover on downs to end the game were the other results.
  7. Matt Grothe is a true warrior, but is only human.
    There is no denying that the Bulls sophomore quarterback is the heart and soul of the USF squad, but at times the staff relies too much on Matt, and in return he is forced to try and make things happen. Against UCONN, Grothe threw for 189 yards and rushed for 146 including a 53 yard run that lead to a 10 yard rushing score by Matt. On the other side of the coin, Grothe threw a pick that was returned for a TD, and under threw a wide open Marcus Edwards that was easily intercepted. 
  8. Other play makers on the roster need to step up their game.
    Grothe sailed a few passes and threw two interceptions, but receivers also dropped key balls against Connecticut. A contributing factor is probably the injury to T.J. Johnson, but Amarri and others have got to pick up the slack. Jessie Hester has become a sure handed receiver the last few weeks, but besides a few big plays from Freshmen Carlton Mitchell & Dontavia Bogan there hasn't been much to cheer about. Tight end Cedric Hill who has improved his game this season had a quasi weak holding penalty that negated a Ford Touchdown and then drop an easy TD that bounced off his chest a few plays after.
  9. Penalties and mistakes continue to haunt USF.
    There has been a lot said about the play calling by offensive coordinator Greg Gregory, and the naked bootleg at the end of the game was definitely questionable.  However the Bulls had 440 yards against the Huskies and 362 yards the week before.  Gregory can't control countless mistakes and penalties by the players, dropped balls by the receivers, quarterback taking sacks and not throwing the ball away, turnovers, missed field goals and all around poor execution.
  10.  The Bulls are a young team and at times play like it.
    Many leaders on the team, especially the offensive side of the ball, are underclassmen. In fact, only 2 players on offense against UCONN were seniors. Amarri Jackson who left early injured, and Jared Carnes who is filling in for injured senior OT Walt Walker. On defense the Bulls have only five starters that are seniors, but have mostly underclassmen as back-ups. The Bulls play like a young team at times, but on a good note that youth will continue to grow and get better.
  11.  You knew the Bulls were in trouble……
    When on the first drive Grothe fumbled and Alvarado's missed a chip shot FG that spoiled a 54 yard run by Jamar Taylor. There were many other moments in between the first drive and the Bulls last offensive play that sailed high over Dontavia Bogan, but The first drive miscues were a first of many for a horrible first half that turned out to be too much for the Bulls to overcome.  

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