Bulls take a step back in blowout loss to Louisville

Senior linebacker Dwayne Boyles posted seven total tackles against the Cardinals. ORACLE PHOTO/ALEXANDRA URBAN

Despite the high hopes from their performance in Gainesville last week, South Florida football saw no mercy facing powerhouse Louisville in a 41-3 loss on Saturday.

Coming into Saturday’s game, the Bulls (1-3) were hungry to achieve a win they almost had last week against the Gators. Having only four wins under his coaching career with USF, coach Jeff Scott was just as hungry as the Bulls for another win.

Nonetheless, nothing has changed. USF has now seen 14 straight games lost while on the road. The Bulls haven’t seen an away win since 2019 at ECU. To account for Saturday’s loss, the Bulls owe it to the defense.

Both sides of the defense drove the game. The Bulls only had five tackles for a loss of 12 yards and the Cardinals (2-2) had nine tackles for a loss of 47. The contrast between the two was the reason for the blow out.

“We didn’t have our guys in the right position,” Scott said. “And whenever they were in the position we didn’t tackle well.”

USF’s defense fell flat trying to keep up with the speed of the Cardinals. The Bulls posted a total of 78 tackles, but gave up 283 rushing yards to Louisville.

On the flip side, Louisville took away every chance USF had to run down the field. The Cardinal’s defense swallowed South Florida, holding them to 48 rushing yards.

During the first quarter, the Bulls started the game with a three-and-out drive. Sophomore wide receiver Omarian Dollison dropped the ball in the end zone, which could have been their first touchdown. Defensively USF gave up 160 yards to the Cardinals while they snagged two touchdowns, one passing and one rushing making the score 14-0.

By the end of the second quarter, Louisville added two more touchdown passes after breaking through multiple passes by the Bulls. One of those being senior linebacker Dwayne Boyles, who failed to stop Cardinal’s senior quarterback Malik Cunningham before scoring a 68-yard rushing touchdown.

USF was at a loss of nine rushing yards the entire quarter and senior quarterback Gerry Bohanon threw three turnovers. Unable to make any plays happen, the Bulls stayed scoreless 28-0.

South Florida stayed stagnant in the third quarter and didn’t get on the board until the fourth after a 37-yard field goal by junior kicker Spencer Shrader.

Sophomore linebacker DJ Gordon IV stressed the biggest challenge was as a team, players weren’t doing their job to execute the plays.

“People just gotta make tackles,” Gordon IV said. “The whole defense. We got to swarm the ball. So if somebody does miss, there’s no more extra yardage.”

Last week, Scott said he wanted to see a new turning point for USF football. The team entered Kentucky hungry for a good game, but left defeated.

Scott mentioned poor coaching and playing as the reason for their loss. While owning up to their fall, the Bulls begin conference play next week and Scott will not let their performance against Louisville define them.

“The challenge for our coaching staff and for our players is to figure out who we’re going to be,” he said. “This season is not gonna be determined by how we played in the first four games, it’s really going to be determined by how we attack the conference play starting next week.”

Up next, The Bulls will play ECU at Raymond James Stadium on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. The game will be streamed on ESPN+ and broadcast on Bulls Unlimited.