High hopes were revolving around South Florida football for the 2022 season with 15 transfers, including junior quarterback Gerry Bohanon who transferred from Baylor.
However, it seems the Bulls (1-6, 0-3) has turned into a weekly carousel of similarly disappointing outcomes as the team has only recorded one win in the first half of the season.
Coach Jeff Scott has alluded to the challenge of a tough schedule, including then-No. 25 BYU, then-No. 18 Florida and then-No. 24 Cincinnati. It has not been easy for USF.
A lopsided record is also a product of the injuries affecting a large chunk of the roster. As of Tuesday, 21 players have been sidelined due to a variety of ailments. This includes Bohanon who is facing a season-ending injury after falling on his shoulder in Saturday’s loss to Tulane.
Here’s a look at some of the best moments and players of USF’s season so far.
South Florida vs. Howard (Sept. 10)
South Florida conquered Howard 42-20 at home in Week 2, marking its only win of the season. Despite a slow start, they found that running the ball is what worked best.
Senior running back Jaren Magham rose to eighth all time for touchdowns in USF history. USF also scored six rushing touchdowns, which was the most in a single game since 2006.
The Bulls’ performance against the Bisons set up for the top plays the week after in Gainesville.
South Florida at Florida (Sept. 17)
It’s arguable that the Bulls still haven’t fully recovered from their 31-28 loss to the Gators.
USF had doubts surrounding its ability to attack Florida in its home stadium. The Gators were favored by 24.5 points, according to Sports Illustrated Sportsbook. Despite the prediction, the Bulls ended up playing one of their best games of the season. USF bested Florida with 402 total yards compared to the Gators’ 329 yards.
Scott saw the ability in South Florida to snag its second win of the season, but a botched field goal in the last minutes of the game cost them the win.
“We came here to win the game, and I’ve got no doubt in my mind that our team believed that we could win the game before it started,” Scott said.
Sophomore running back Brian Battie has had constant success securing rushing yards. He has posted 493 rushing yards so far this season and scored four touchdowns.
Battie has had to step up as a result of the amount of injured players on the roster, including running backs junior Kelley Joiner Jr. and senior Jared Mangham. He has already surpassed his rushing yards from last season, with a new career high of 493, and produced explosive performances.
Currently leading the defense, senior linebacker Dwayne Boyles has 61 total tackles — 35 solo tackles and 26 assisted tackles — this season.
Scott has spoken about Boyles’ passion to turn the team around. Boyles has earned the respect of the locker room after hosting meetings outside of practice to improve the defense.
“The way he prepares, the way he practices, he brings an intensity and leadership to that group,” Scott said.
South Florida has five games left of the season and are going to have to face them without Bohanon. He joins the list of lost starters including senior offensive lineman Donovan Jennings, senior defensive tackle Rashad Cheney Jr. and sophomore wide receiver Ajou Ajou.
Grade D: So far, the season has not been pretty for the Bulls. While their record isn’t where they want it, the preservation through difficulty while at least showing progress has shown their willingness to fight.
In order to find the best outcomes of the remainder of the season, South Florida needs to develop its offense. Sophomore quarterback Katravis Marsh needs to find a groove with his receivers and running backs. The defense also needs to continue building off the momentum Boyles has set and work on getting quicker when facing speedy opponents.