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Bulls defense clobbered in 56-35 loss against UAB

The Bulls allowed the second most points in a game in program history in their 56-35 loss to the Blazers on Saturday. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

Coming off their first winning streak since 2019, all eyes were on the Bulls to see if they would keep their momentum in a Saturday afternoon game against UAB at Protective stadium.

What resulted was a defensive meltdown where USF allowed 608 offensive yards in a 56-35 blowout.

The Bulls (3-3, 2-1 AAC) aren’t undefeated in conference play anymore while the Blazers (2-4, 1-1 AAC) picked up their first conference victory since joining the AAC.

Bulls coach Alex Golesh said he was disappointed in his defense’s performance, specifically their inability to tackle and stop explosive plays.

“At the end of the day, the stars kind of aligned in a negative way… we didn’t play like us, we didn’t play like how we expected,” Golesh said.

For the second consecutive week, USF found itself down by multiple touchdowns in the first quarter. The team wasn’t able to climb out of that hole this time.

“You can’t get in a hole like that, that can’t be how you live. That’s a really tough way to make a living is to be down two touchdowns and try to dig out of it every single time,” Golesh said.

After USF scored on its first possession, UAB quickly responded with three consecutive touchdown drives. Two of those drives were fueled by turnovers from redshirt freshman quarterback Byrum Brown.

The blowout continued in the second quarter as UAB dominated the Bulls’ defense, holding the offense scoreless while building a 21-point lead at halftime, sitting 35-14.

USF attempted to start the third quarter with a fresh start, but it resulted in a stagnant performance from the offense. The Bulls punted on the first two second-half possessions.

UAB marched down the field with ease throughout the game, with five touchdown drives clocking in under three minutes.

This is the most points the Bulls have allowed since a 58-46 loss against UCF in 2021. The Blazers’ eight touchdowns tie for the most allowed in the Bulls’ program history, which was also set in the same game against UCF.

Blazers senior quarterback Jacob Zeno picked apart the Bulls’ defense, completing 19 of his 25 pass attempts for 353 yards and four touchdowns. Senior Blazers running back Jermaine Brown Jr. ran for 116 yards and four touchdowns, averaging nearly 6.5 yards per carry.

Coming into the game, Zeno was regarded as one of the most efficient passers in the nation. His 31.4 completions per game along with a 75% completion percentage ranked among the top five in the country.

UAB averaged 7.9 yards per play as Zeno threw for three touchdowns over 50 yards.

Bulls junior safety Logan Berryhill said he is confident they can refind their footing after their worst performance of the season.

“We just have to go back to practicing and finding ourselves again. Everyone has those times when you get punched in the mouth,” Berryhill said.

Despite the loss, Golesh reiterated the importance of taking things on a week-by-week basis.

“It’s not all about the response. It’s all about us continuing to perfect how we prepare and what we do as a program,” Golesh said.

USF football will host FAU in its homecoming game at Raymond James Stadium on Oct. 14. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN 2 and BullsUnlimited.