After watching the team implode last night, I decided not to drunkenly write the recap. I would sleep, gather my thoughts, and try to put together something cohesive in the morning. So where do we start? How about here: USF lost after leading 23-3 at the half.
In the first half USF dominated the clock, ran the ball well, made a few passes when needed and seemed in control. B.J. Daniels, Lindsey Lamar, and Demetris Murray all had great numbers on the ground. The defense made two goal line stands, forcing two field goal attempts, including one that was missed. While it wasn't pretty to watch (Daniels had just 183 yards passing the entire night) the Bulls had the lead and the momentum. And then the wheels came off.
Syracuse stuck to their run game, gashed the defense and drove down for any easy opening score. Then the Bulls went three an out and had the punt blocked, setting up Syracuse for an easy score. The momentum was all on the side of Syracuse, and as I sat and watched the game with friends and saw the punt block, we all agreed that it was over at that point. But we didn't know it would end the way it did.
The very next possession, Demetris Murray fumbled the ball. After a pass interference call, Cuse drove and scored, taking the lead. We ran out of curse words, but would need to create more by the end of the game.
The offense was able to rebound and score a field goal on the next possession to give the Bulls back the lead. Maikon Bonani was five for five last night in field goals, hitting the last three in 40+ yard range. The rush offense ran for 369 yards total on the night, highlighted by Lindsey Lamar who led the team with 10 carries for 144 yards and a touchdown, but was taken to TGH with an undisclosed chest injury late.
The last drive of the game was a microcosm of the last two seasons for the Bulls defense. Syracuse got the ball with under 1:30 to play, drove down the field basically unencumbered by the guys wearing green shirts, and of course were aided by a few penalties along the way. In the final seconds, after a disaster we'll be writing about plenty around here, Ryan Nassib found Alec Lemon for the game winning score, beating the secondary that was out of position and extending the USF losing streak to six games. SIX GAMES.
It is hard to find anything positive from a loss like this, especially after leading at the half and then completely imploding the entire second half. Holtz was quoted after the game saying he needed to look at everything and that things can't stay status quo. He also said:
As the head coach, I've got an obligation to the people who support this program to try and find an answer.
We have been waiting to for those answers all season, and it seems there are even more now after a loss like this. Something has to be done, whether it's shuffling coaches, firing someone, hiring a voodoo priestess... Something. Must. Happen.
I just wonder if Holtz even knows how to do that.