Mack’s status for Saturday uncertain

Despite being taken out of the game early in the second quarter, starting running back Marlon Mack still led the Bulls in rushing with 58 yards on nine carries. ORACLE PHOTO/JACKIE BENITEZ

After leaving Saturday’s opener with what was reported as an “upper-body injury,” Bulls standout junior running back Marlon Mack is officially “questionable” for this weekend’s home game against Northern Illinois. 

Mack left the game early in the second quarter against Towson after a collision with two Tigers defenders caused him to fumble the ball and stay down for several minutes.

Speaking with the media during Monday’s weekly AAC coaches’ teleconference, USF coach Willie Taggart was brief when discussing the 2015 AAC leading rusher’s current state.

“Right now, Marlon is going through concussion protocol,” Taggart said. “He’s questionable for the ball game on Saturday.”

Mack, a candidate for the Doak Walker Award, was a statistical monster for the Bulls in 2015, scoring nine touchdowns and setting the USF single-season rushing record with 1,381 yards. After Saturday, Mack only needs 252 yards to surpass Andre Hall as the program’s all-time leading rusher.


AAC on the rise


Just like the Bulls, the AAC entered the 2016 season with high expectations for becoming a more competitive and respected football power.

Although they’re not part of a “Power 5” conference, the Bulls helped the AAC get off to a 10-2 start for the league overall in the opening weekend of college football. The conference caught even more momentum Saturday when conference-foe No. 15 Houston knocked off No. 3 Oklahoma 33-23 before USF’s home opener.

With schools like USF and Houston on the rise, Taggart said the conference believes it can continue to build on the opportunity of a moment in the national spotlight.

“(The AAC) had a pretty good weekend,” Taggart said. “Our conference is getting better each and every week, we just need to continue to get better.”


While fans were sleeping


While Taggart remarked during Saturday’s postgame press conference that it was “getting late” — with his 1-year-old daughter Morgan in hand — Week 2 opponent Northern Illinois had yet to kick off its season opener.

After being delayed two hours due to weather, NIU and host Wyoming finally kicked off at 11:20 p.m., over an hour after USF’s win. 

If the extended lightning delay was not enough, the Huskies fell 40-34 in a triple-overtime thriller that was capped off by Cowboys’ quarterback Josh Allen’s game-winning touchdown in the 3rd overtime at just after 2:30 a.m. local time.