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USF Squanders Marvelous Opportunity


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PITTSBURGH -- Welcome to the blahs. By now you know how many great college football games were played throughout the land Saturday, but this was not one of them.

South Florida had a 10-point lead on the road against a team that isn't very good. The Bulls had blocked a punt, forced a fumble, and were basically kicking Pitt's butt. They had only to put the Panthers away and stay undefeated in the Big East.

That's what championship teams do.

Alas, instead of putting their foot on Pitt's throat, the Bulls grasped their own windpipe and didn't let go until a marvelous opportunity was squandered -- oddly fitting, since it's about the only thing they held onto with regularity all day.

You can focus on any number of targets following Pitt's 31-17 victory at Heinz Field, and you wouldn't be far wrong to aim at any of them.

The offensive line got knocked back all afternoon, killing the running game. Quarterback Pat Julmiste made poor decisions and missed open receivers, finally causing exasperated Coach Jim Leavitt to summon backup Courtney Denson for an ill-fated series in the third quarter. That didn't work, either.

Denson, an option specialist, was called upon with the Bulls trailing 24-17 and backed up at their 8. As if on cue, Denson threw into double coverage for an interception to set up the lights-out touchdown.

Where were the Bulls who routed Louisville?

"I thought we played horrible," Leavitt said afterward.

No argument there.

Now What?

We tend to focus on the quarterbacks, and, lordy, they were bad. We'll get to them in a minute, though. Before we serve up QB au jus, the question must be asked: How in the name of Pop Warner does a team with (alleged) BCS aspirations allow Pitt's Greg Lee to take a swing pass and go 69 yards untouched for a touchdown?

That's what the Bulls did on the first play of the second quarter, and it only helped change the whole game/season around.

To reprise Leavitt: horrible.

The Bulls followed that with a fumble, leading to another Pitt touchdown. Then, yep, another fumble, leading to another Pitt touchdown, but the bumbling wasn't over. Trailing 21-17, Julmiste took off running and had a first down in sight, but was tripped up by several blades of grass and fell. At least that beat the time he slid a yard short of another potential first down.

Look, Pat Julmiste is a great young man and a standup guy, and we don't mean to be overly harsh. But there was an opportunity here that doesn't come along that often, and the Bulls -- particularly their quarterback -- let it vanish in a wave of mistakes that, frankly, shouldn't be happening this late in the season.

"We're halfway through the year. We should be sound on our assignments," Julmiste said.

No argument there, either.

Angry Man

Rarely, if ever, has Leavitt been so angry after a game. He let his team know how he felt, and he is likely to reinforce that when it is time to review the tape of this debacle.

"You can't win with turnovers and missed assignments," running back Andre Hall said.

And then he shook his head.

"We had a 10-0 lead on those guys … we slowed down, rolled over," he said.

The Bulls faced neither a hostile atmosphere nor a daunting opponent in this one, but they weren't up to the job. These are the kind of losses you look back upon with pain when the season is done. The Bulls should have won here, no question.

Horrible. Just horrible.

Anyone care to argue?

http://sports.tbo.com/sports/MGB9OULNUEE.html

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The game just looked so gross yesterday Cubanbull. I don't know if you made it to the SunDome or if you watched it some other way, but we flat out looked disgusting.

I want a team that is going to make us look good in a bowl game. Not one that is going to inspire commentators to talk about how weak the Big East really is when lowly USF can make it to a bowl game, and the fact we lost to Pitt for pete's sake.

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I'd kind of be embarassed if we ended up at a bowl, we suck big time!

Wow!  You rally have been to the smazza school of posting.

As a true fan, how can you say you would be embarrassed?  So what if we make it to a bowl and lose?  At least we made it.  You can not only tell recruits that we have a chance at a bowl, but we have actually been to one.  

and we don't suck.  We may look bad at times, but we also look good at times.  Yes, we are inconsistent.  We have a lot of talent on this team but sometimes they don't always play to their potential.  But we do have a stud on this team and he needs to have the ball as much as possible.  He showed that yesterday.  

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  • Quotes

    "They picked us at the bottom. We're trying to get to the top. We're looking forward to the future, not backward.''

    Vincent Davis, USF JR. DB  

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