Notebook: Time of possession potentially wore down USF’s defense

By John Black, Correspondent
On October 22, 2017


The Big Easy was anything but easy for USF on Saturday. While the Bulls started quickly — scoring on its first possession in under three minutes — its defense struggled to stay consistent in the second half.

USF allowed 21 unanswered points in one and a half quarters. For a defense that had previously not allowed a touchdown in six quarters, it seemed as if they were trying to catch its breath in the second half — potentially due to being on the field so much in the first half.

Operating in offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert’s fast paced offense, USF possessed the ball for only eight minutes and three seconds in the first half, leaving the defense on the field for nearly 16 minutes.


Flowers throws uncharacteristic interception:

Quinton Flowers doesn’t catch a lot of slack for his errant passing, but despite the senior quarterback’s inconsistencies, he has only thrown two interceptions this year. The second of which happened on a pressured pass to tight end Mitchell Wilcox that was swatted and kicked into the hands of a Tulane defender. Flowers doesn’t have the best reputation as a passing quarterback, but he has a 132.1 passer rating in 2017.


Historic Weekend for USF: 

The Bulls rumbled into New Orleans with program and NCAA history on the line. USF was looking to go 7-0 for the first time in program history and to take sole ownership of the NCAA record for most consecutive 30-point games. Although USF accomplished the latter with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter, Tulane was able to rally themselves back into the game. But after Tyre McCants recovered Tulane’s last-hope onside kick, Flowers and the offense sealed the deal and brought home a program-best 7-0 start. The Bulls’ win also extended their win streak to 12, Division I-A’s highest active streak.


Scoreless streak ends:

The Bulls came into the game having not allowed a touchdown in five consecutive quarters — they extended it to six quarters before letting up 28 to Tulane’s offense in the final three.


Season high rushing for Flowers: 

Flowers had his best rushing performance of the year with 138 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. His previous high was 106 yards against Illinois. In 2016, Flowers had eight games with 100-plus yards in the 2016 season.


Individual defensive records in sight: 

Senior safety Devin Abraham snagged his fourth interception Saturday and brought the Bulls to a nation leading 18-total interceptions on the year. With at least six games to play, Abraham is now only four interceptions away from passing J.R. Reed (2003) and Trae Williams (2006) for the most interceptions in a single season.

Linebacker Auggie Sanchez recorded nine tackles against the Green Wave, bringing him within 16 of the USF career record.

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