Takeaways from USF’s 33-3 win over Cincinnati

  1. Emilio “Moola” Nadelman is the best kicker in Tampa. He can’t miss a field goal — at least not in his last 13 attempts. During Saturday night’s game, Nadelman hit four out of four field goals while the Bulls struggled to get the ball into the end zone. Over the course of the season, the kicker from Miami has become one of USF’s leading scorers and most reliable offensive options.

  2. Offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert refused to call a pass play when the Bulls were within scoring distance. During their six trips to the red zone USF only threw the ball once. On one drive, the Bulls ran the ball eight consecutive times from the Cincinnati 16-yard line. Gilbert’s offensive scheme has restricted the athleticism and explosiveness of quarterback Quinton Flowers. “I’m not gonna say I want the ball every time,” Flowers said. “But I want to get in the end zone.” If the Bulls want to see their offense return to last year’s greatness Gilbert is going to have to let Flowers work.

  3. Penalties have become a problem for the Bulls. “Too many penalties, when you play a good team you’re going to get beat,” Coach Strong said. USF finished with 14 penalties for 137 yards, but Saturday’s struggles aren’t a first-time occurrence. Against Illinois, the Bulls racked up 16 penalties for 140 yards. If the Bulls want to be treated as a legitimate team, both sides of the ball need to clean up their act.

  4. The USF defense didn’t allow a touchdown for the second time this season. “Holding anyone to three points is a big deal,” linebacker Auggie Sanchez said. In 2016, the Bulls defense was the Achilles' heel of the team, but so far in the 2017 season the defense has carried the team to a 6-0 start. USF is second in the nation in turnovers and forced two more on Saturday. Sanchez’ pick six before the half and Juwuan Brown’s strip sack toward the end of the game raised the Bulls' total to 18 on the season.

  5. 6-0. USF has tied the program’s fastest start in history, becoming immediately bowl eligible. Despite their undefeated start, Strong is frustrated with his team’s inability to put together a complete game. “We gotta play much better than we played tonight,” Strong said. “We can get much better — we haven’t arrived yet.” When this USF team starts playing to their full ability on all sides of the ball they can become a dangerous team.