Marcus Shaw Is Doubtful Against The Huskies This Week
The South Florida Bulls head up to Connecticut to take on the Huskies and look to double the checkmarks in the win column.
The Bulls, coming off of their first win of the season hope to keep the ball rolling against the 0-4 Huskies. The schools are very similar in that they have both been down over the past few seasons, due mostly to inept coaches who are currently not employed at either school but left heaping piles of dung for the program to clean up and move on from. The Bulls terminated Skip Holtz in the offseason, while the Huskies let go of Paul Pasqualoni after 2+ years and compiling a 10-18 record. Both coaches did bad jobs at recruiting and left voids in critical positions – like Quarterback and the offensive line, which could harm the program for more than just a few years.
One thing that could harm both school for more than just a few years, is that USF and UConn were left in the dust when it came to realignment. UConn was hoping to get a big to the ACC but lost out to Louisville. The Bulls were hoping to get into ____(Insert Anything But The AAC Here)___ but are stuck in Conference USA 2.0, also known as the AAC. The future of both of these schools was somewhat left dangling in what could be considered a mid-major conference, which will severely hurt any attempt at national provenance.
Moving on to the battle this week, USF pulled off the win against Cincinnati without scoring an offensive touchdown. The Bulls scored a touchdown off of a blocked field goal and also on defense, but the lack of offensive firepower is concerning. Granted, the Bulls kicker Marvin “#LikeAKloss” Kloss was the Bulls best offensive weapon last week and he should be….He is a kicker that can bench 405lbs and also kick your kicker’s heinie.
The problem with your kicker being the best offensive player, is that you’re only scoring three points at a time. The Bulls best offensive player through the first 4 weeks of the season, Marcus Shaw, went down early in the 2nd quarter with a hamstring injury and was on crutches for the second half of the game and his availability is doubtful. Mike Pierre, who subbed in for the Bulls when Shaw went down carried the majority of the reps in the 2nd half totaling 16 carries for 64 yards. The Bulls will also use true freshman Darius Tice, who ran for 8 yards on three carries against Cincinnati.
The Bulls also lost QB Steven Bench with a knee injury and his return this week is also unknown. USF subbed in senior Bobby Eveld who managed the game and committed zero turnovers while completing 10 of 16 passes for 122 yards. Eveld was able to locate both of the tight ends, Mike McFarland and Sean Price and for the first time this season they were effective weapons.
Head coach Willie Taggart wanted to place an emphasis on using tight ends this season, something he leaned heavily on while as an assistant at Stanford and also as the head coach at Western Kentucky. One of the most important keys for the Bulls on Saturday is to get the ball into the endzone, something they failed to do offensively. It will be tough for the Bulls to rely on defense and special teams scores if they want to beat UConn.
Defensively, the Bulls played their best game of the year against the Huskies. Aaron Lynch, the heralded transfer from Notre Dame played his best game as a Bull, even if it didn’t translate onto the stat sheet. Lynch only recorded two tackles, but played as a rover position and rarely rushed the passer from the traditional three-point stance. Lynch seemed to be more disruptive and was more effective when used this way because he couldn’t be double teamed as easily as if he played solely as a rush end.
Safety Mark Joyce had two interceptions, which is the same amount as the entire team logged in all 12 games of last season. Joyce rebounded well from a tough game against the Miami Hurricanes the week before in which he was routinely burned on the deep ball.
The Bulls hope to get their second win in a row, which would also put them at 2-0 in the AAC. With winnable conference games against SMU, Memphis and Houston still on the schedule and a rivalry game against UCF the Bulls are still potentially bowl eligible, which would be impressive after suffering an 0-4 start. This game is key to see how the Bulls react to coming off of a big win and how realistic those bowl game aspirations truly are.
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