Analyzing USF football after 3 games

The Bulls have the same 1-2 record as last season after three games. It’s a different season with COVID-19, but USF is putting up numbers similar to 2019. ORACLE PHOTO/BRIAN HATTAB

After three games in 2020, USF’s offense continues to struggle and the defense’s run game remains porous.

Of course, it’s been a whole different ball game compared to last season, but the Bulls hold the same 1-2 record as they did after their first three games in 2019 — back-to-back losses against Wisconsin and Georgia Tech and a win over South Carolina State.

With a vastly different season underway, here’s how the team compared to last season after three games.


Bulls quarterbacks average a combined 145 yards per game, ranking 67th in the nation out of the 74 teams playing this season. 

Jordan McCloud leads the way with 269 passing yards in the three games played, and USF ranks second-to-last in the conference in passing yards, ahead of Navy, which averages 109 yards on 38 attempts. 

The Bulls rank second-to-last in passer rating in the nation with 85.1. Five quarterbacks — McCloud, Noah Johnson, Katravis Marsh, Jordan Smith and Cade Fortin — have combined for one touchdown and five interceptions. 

Last year, USF had five touchdowns and two interceptions after its first three games using McCloud and Blake Barnett.

The receiving corps is still struggling. Through three games in 2019, receivers averaged 16.7 receptions and 180.3 yards per game.

Receiver DeVontres Dukes leads the team this season with 100 yards on eight catches and ranks 157th in the nation among all eligible receivers.

USF’s receivers are averaging 17 receptions and 145 yards per game.

The Bulls’ running game has dropped significantly since Week 1, but it’s faring better than where it was last season.

The running game could not find its rhythm against Cincinnati, averaging just 2.5 yards per carry, a stark contrast from when it led the nation in yards per carry with 7.7 after its 27-6 win over The Citadel in Week 1. 

Now USF is averaging 4.68 yards per carry and 163.7 yards per game. Last year, it was not as effective, averaging 3.68 yards per carry and 113 yards per game.

Nationally, USF ranks 65th of 74 teams in total offense.

USF’s offense last year totaled 880 yards on offense through the first three games, with 541 yards passing and 339 yards rushing. 

This year, USF’s offense totaled 926 yards with 435 yards passing and 491 rushing. 


USF’s defense could not stop the run again against Cincinnati, something that hasn’t exactly been its strong suit. Cincinnati ran for 189 yards on 45 carries, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. It also added a touchdown on the ground to top off its dominating run game.

On the season, the Bulls’ rush defense has allowed 223 yards per game on 4.65 yards per carry. It ranks 67th in the nation out of the 74 currently active schools.

Last year, USF allowed 170 rushing yards per game and 3.7 yards per carry through its first three games.

The pass defense presented a tough matchup for quarterbacks this year and has made a significant improvement. The Bulls rank 10th in the nation for interceptions with four. 

Last year, USF also had four through its first three games and allowed 186.7 yards per game.

The Bulls now rank first in the nation in passing yards allowed with 125.3 yards per game.

Linebacker Antonio Grier has USF’s only two sacks of the season, ranking the Bulls 70th in the country for sacks and sacks per game.

Last year, USF had three sacks in the first game, with eight through the first three.

USF ranks 18th nationally in total defense, allowing 348.7 yards per game.