USF’s offense nearly identical to last season

USF will have its hands full with Wisconsin, which rushed for 644 yards against Bowling Green on Saturday.
ORACLE FILE PHOTO/ADAM MATHIEU

USF’s offense scored a Football Bowl Subdivision-low 11 touchdowns for all of last season, and with one third of the season complete, this year’s stats are looking eerily similar.

Statistics certainly don’t tell the whole story of a team or even a specific unit, but the USF offense is putting up nearly identical numbers to those from last season.

In the first third of last season, coach Willie Taggart used three quarterbacks who combined for 594 yards on 47-for-117 passing with four touchdowns and five interceptions. 

Taggart has played three quarterbacks this year as well, but last season’s quarterback carousel was due more to a lack of production than anything else. 

This season, junior quarterback Steven Bench has seen time on the field filling in for sophomore quarterback Mike White after he fractured his arm playing against Maryland. 

Freshman quarterback Quinton Flowers was briefly introduced because the coaching staff said they believe he adds another element to the offense: speed from the quarterback position. 

But regardless of injury, weather or any other extenuating circumstances, these quarterbacks have combined to throw for 567 yards on 40-for-102 passing with two touchdowns and five interceptions.

Judging from those stats, the Bulls’ passing offense has been slightly worse this season, throwing for 27 yards and two touchdowns fewer than last season. 

The Bulls can’t use a difficult schedule as an excuse for the lack of offensive production.

USF’s first four games last season included Michigan State – Rose Bowl winners – and Miami – ranked 15th at the time. Those two teams are certainly more formidable than any team USF (2-2, 1-0) has played so far this season. 

The only team the Bulls have faced this season that had more than four wins last year is Maryland, which won seven games, but finished the season winning two of its final seven. 

USF has had success in its rushing attack this season, with the emergence of freshman running back Marlon Mack.

The Bulls have rushed for 605 yards and six touchdowns, benefiting from Mack’s 502 yards and five touchdowns, excluding quarterback rushes. 

USF has put more of an emphasis on running the ball this season, attempting 39 more runs than last season so far, but it has only 34 more yards to show for it. 

Despite the lack of notable improvement in offensive production, USF has scored 29 more points this season.

These extra points have been generated by the defense, as well as senior kicker Marvin Kloss.

USF’s defense has forced three more turnovers this season and has kept the offense in the game by allowing 8.25 fewer points per game. 

Kloss has excelled for the Bulls this season, hitting 6-of-7 field goals and kicking for 27 points compared to only three field goals and 16 points last season. 

USF has already matched its win total from last season and has had explosive games from Mack, who has two games with over 100 yards. However, the offense has put up nearly identical numbers as the first third of last season and last season’s Bulls made it clear that performance isn’t something to hang your hat on. 

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