After waiting out a weather delay to the tune of almost an hour, USF football trails No. 19 Wisconsin 28-0 at halftime.
We’ll keep things short here: things could be going better for the Bulls.
Blake Barnett went deep a few times during the first quarter — once to Eddie McDoom and another time to Randall St. Felix — and both seemingly sure catches were dropped.
Early in the second quarter, the Bulls were dinged for silly back-to-back penalties — one a delay of game and the other a false start.
The debut of new offensive coordinator Kerwin Bell could be going a lot better, to say the least. USF has only 53 yards of total offense — including -4 rushing yards — through the game’s first two quarters.
But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and perhaps there are some opening-night jitters.
Don’t freak out yet. Don’t freak out if it doesn’t get better in the second half, even.
It’s just the first game.
He’s exactly who he thought he was
In our pregame Facebook video, we mentioned the one key to the game for USF was stopping Wisconsin’s back-to-back Heisman Trophy finalist RB Jonathan Taylor.
Taylor has rushed for 80 yards, including a 37-yard run to open the scoring on the Badgers’ first drive. He’s also accounted for 48 receiving yards, including a 36-yard and a 12-yard touchdown reception. On both 30-plus-yard touchdowns, he broke multiple tackles on his way to the endzone.
Doing the math, Taylor has accounted for more than 47 percent of the Badgers’ total offense (270 yards) thus far.
Mission not accomplished — at least in the first half.
Shortly before the game, it was revealed that running back/slot receiver Johnny Ford would not be playing due to what was being called a “coaches’ decision” or “team decision,” depending on the source reporting the news.
The lack of Ford is certainly a contributing factor to the lackluster Bulls’ offense to this point.
But more importantly, it raises the question of “why?”
Coach Charlie Strong will certainly be asked during his postgame press conference. It’ll be interesting to see what — if anything — he says regarding Ford.
How does USF respond?
That was an ugly half of football, and it’s very easy to be down on the Bulls’ season right now, even though only 30 minutes have been played.
When things looked rough during 2018, everything continued to spiral out of control until the once-7-0 Bulls became the 7-6 embarrassment.
If the team has truly turned the corner from last year, they’ll be able to put this poor performance behind them quickly. It may be too late for tonight, but there are still 11 other games, including another Power Five opponent in Georgia Tech next weekend.