Just imagine what a beating this would have been if the special teams hadn't been so wobbly. All 14 of Stony Brook's points came off short fields set up by mistakes in the punt game -- Faron Hornes muffed his first punt, and then fumbled away the second, at which point he left the game. And after the officials blew an illegal formation call on a punt that USF downed inside the 5, Justin Brockhaus-Kann had to field a low snap on one knee on the rekick, instantly killing the play.
But other than that, the Bulls dominated. They outgained the Seawolves 562-249, forced four interceptions of Michael Coulter, and did pretty much whatever they wanted to do whenever they wanted to. The talent gap was obvious from the first USF offensive snap. B.J. Daniels threw a quick hitch to Dontavia Bogan, and all he had to do was make one man miss and then outrun everyone else to the end zone for a 59-yard touchdown. So even when USF briefly fell behind 14-7, I had no concern that they might actually lose the game. Once the special teams stabilized, it was over.
I'll do some more digging into specific parts of the game tomorrow when I chart everything. But some other quick thoughts:
-- Stony Brook has to find a quarterback with a stronger arm. I tweeted that I thought I could throw a football further than Coulter, and I'm not sure that was a joke. They made themselves one-dimensional because their quarterback may not be able to throw the ball more than 25 or 30 yards down the field. He threw one quick out that hung in the air for what seemed like forever, even though he and the receiver were only about 15 yards apart.
-- It looks like USF got out of the game totally unscathed on the injury front. Daniels gave us all a scare diving headlong into the end zone on USF's first touchdown, but he was OK. And Lindsey Lamar got racked up in the two-minute drill at the end of the first half, although he got back in the game later on. I didn't see anyone else get hurt on the Bulls side during the game.
-- Note to Drew Evangelista, who otherwise had a solid game punting for Stony Brook. When the ball goes over your head and into the end zone, just take the safety. You should not try to punt it with three guys at close range running right at you. This is not advised under any circumstances.
-- For a guy who was a running back a month ago, Joel Miller made a great catch on that touchdown at the end of the first half. That play pretty much iced the game at 31-14 with the Bulls getting the ball out of the locker room.
-- It was fun at the time to see the Bulls score 52 unanswered points. But I feel a little guilty. I know they were paid well for their time, but the Seawolves were just totally outmatched. It must be nearly impossible for them to get the kind of athletes you would need to stay in a game like this. USF was faster and better across the board. On the plus side, it looks like the Bulls' talent level is in the ballpark of where it was the last few years.
-- Yeah, we're going to have a nice highlight reel of the outstanding camera work from that game. Fortunately we get the same crew for the Western Kentucky and FAU games. And was it just me, or did it sound like J.B. Long and Shaun King (who has gained at least 100 pounds since his playing days) weren't even in the stadium?
-- We can now start talking about the Gators, who had an... um... let's say interesting game against Miami University this afternoon. A remotely competent team would have beaten them today. If Florida comes out anywhere near as limp next Saturday as they did this afternoon -- who knows?