The Voodoo Five Eulogies: USF Football vs. Miami, 2011

The play of the game. Jacory Harris got away for a 10-yard gain and went on to lead Miami to victory on the final play. Guhhhhh. - Al Messerschmidt

Upon further review, we should have left this game in the trash where it belonged.

When this game first happened, it was so awful, so uninteresting, so pathetic that I never wrote a game recap. No one here did. There was nothing to recap because nothing happened. It was anti-football. At least in just about every other USF loss in history, there was something to talk about, or some kind of entertainment value, whether legitimate or morbid. Not this one. The USF-Miami game in 2011 was the worst all-around football game USF has ever played in.

As you may remember, the Bulls started out 2011 brilliantly. They sat back and let Notre Dame beat themselves, then annihilated three straight patsies at home while racking up absurd offensive stats. USF was 4-0 and reached the top 15 in the polls. (That's right. USF FOOTBALL WAS RANKED THREE YEARS AGO. WHAT THE HELL.)

Then absolutely everything started falling apart. Pittsburgh and Syracuse announced they were leaving the Big East. West Virginia soon followed them out the door. The conference and everyone who would remain in it were screwed, and USF sat on their hands and did nothing. Then the football team started losing painfully and often. The Bulls dropped four in a row thanks to the hallmarks of the Holtz New Era - inept coaching, terrible decision-making, and a variety of crunch-time disasters.

But all was not completely lost. For the 2011 season, anyway. After rallying for a 37-17 win over Syracuse, USF needed only one win in any of their last three games, all at home, to go bowling. Their first chance was against a deeply mediocre Miami team that the Bulls had beaten in Miami the previous year.

After a comical exchange of turnovers in the first minute of play, the game quickly became a stalemate. Miami ground out a 16-play drive to get a field goal in the first quarter. USF responded with a field goal of their own to make the score 3-3.

Here are the results of both teams' possessions for the next two and a half quarters:

- Punt (MIA)
- Punt (USF)
- Punt (MIA)
- Punt (USF)
- Punt (MIA)
- Kneeldown (USF)
- Punt (USF)
- Punt (MIA)
- Punt (USF)
- Blocked FG (MIA)
- Punt (USF)
- Punt (MIA)
- Punt (USF)
- Punt (MIA)
- Punt (USF)
- Punt (MIA)
- Punt (USF)

Somewhere in there, future Super Bowl champion B.J. Daniels got clobbered at the sideline and busted up his throwing shoulder. At first it didn't seem like it was time to panic. The year before, Bobby Eveld had come off the bench when Daniels got hurt and led USF to victory against the Hurricanes. Maybe lightning would strike twice.

This time, though, the Bulls' offense completely died when Eveld went in the game. The USF running game that year depended on Daniels' mobility and decision-making. They popped most of their big runs on read and option plays, and were not as good at running downhill. With the much slower Eveld under center, the Canes were free to key on the running backs every time they read run because they knew Eveld would not keep the ball. This made it impossible to sustain drives. USF only had three first downs in the final 24 minutes of the game, one of which came on a personal foul.

USF's offense couldn't keep the ball and no one could figure out how they were going to score. On top of that, Justin Brockhaus-Kann was giving away field position hand over fist with some terrible punts. But Miami wasn't doing any better, though. Their offensive line completely forgot how to pass protect, letting the Bulls rack up six sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss. USF's defense kept going out there and making big plays. Miami's first three drives of the fourth quarter actually lost seven yards.

After another failed USF drive, Miami got the ball at its own 20 with 5:43 to play. On first down, Jacory Harris completed a pass to Travis Benjamin that lost a yard. The next play probably swung the game. Under intense pressure from Ryne Giddins, Harris was almost sacked again, but somehow he got away and scrambled for a 10-yard gain. Had Giddins brought Harris down, it would have been something like 3rd and 25 from their own 5-yard line. Miami would have certainly shut it down and punted again, giving the Bulls such good field position that even a short drive might have led to a winning field goal. Instead, Eduardo Clements converted the 3rd and 1.

The year before, Harris had thrown a terrible interception late in the fourth quarter with the game tied and Miami in field goal range. This time, though, Harris patiently led the Canes downfield with six straight completions to put them in position for a win.

(Skip Holtz got involved here, too, by not calling any of his three timeouts on defense to stop the clock. In reality, his team was in a pretty bad spot here, because Miami had a 2nd and 2 at the USF 20 and one more first down would have made any attempt at managing the clock academic. The way Miami was going on that drive, it looked like they would get that first down, and taking timeouts could spur them on to score a touchdown. If Skip had known the Bulls would somehow stop the Canes short on second and third down, obviously he would have called some timeouts. Also, were the Bulls really going to be able to respond to a score, given how pathetic their offense had been without Daniels? At that point, overtime and its built-in field position was the only conceivable path to victory. So overall, this wasn't the worst decision in the world. Skip saved all the really bad calls for 2012.)

On the last play of the game, Jake Wieclaw kicked a 36-yard field goal and Miami won 6-3.

There, we finally wrote about that game. Now let's bury it again and burn the artifacts and never give any of them another thought.

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