Football notebook: Kudos for Mack, Taggart
Sophomore TB Marlon Mack earned three weekly honors in the wake of his sparkling night (21 carries, 230 yards, two TDs) in Saturday's 44-23 upset of then-No. 21 Temple.
On Monday, Mack, whose 272 total yards included a 20-yard touchdown reception, was named the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week. Mack now leads the conference in rushing (118.3 ypg), surpassing Temple's Jahad Thomas, who fell to No. 2 (103. 5 ypg) after being held to 65 yards by the Bulls.
Mack also was named National Performer of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards, and the AAC's Offensive Player of the Week by College Sports Madness.
"He came out and was fresh, had a great week of practice," Coach Willie Taggart said Monday. "He had great blocks by his receivers on the perimeter and his o-linemen. Just played a great overall game."
Sophomore PK Emilio Nadelman made the AAC's five-player honor roll after converting all three of his field-goal tries -- including a career-best 47-yarder -- Saturday. Nadelman, who nearly lost his job after two misses at Navy, has hit five of six field goals since.
Additionally, QB Quinton Flowers, who totaled 320 yards and three TDs against the Owls, was among the Davey O'Brien Award's "Great 8" performers for Week 11.
PEER PRAISE: Taggart, who has equaled the victory total of his first two USF seasons during this breakthrough autumn, received high praise from at least two peers during the AAC's weekly coaches teleconference Monday.
Temple coach Matt Rhule, while calling out his defense for a series of mistakes Saturday, nonetheless praised Taggart's club (6-4, 4-2 in AAC), bowl-eligible for the first time since 2010.
"We strive each week to try to be the better team, hoping that the better team will win, and USF was the better team this past Saturday," Rhule said.
Meantime, Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville, whose team (6-4, 3-3) faces the Bulls on Friday at Raymond James Stadium, hailed Taggart's resuscitation effort at USF.
"He inherited a mess and he's cleaned it up and he's done it his way," Tuberville said.
"He's made a few changes, he tweaked his offense, got an athletic quarterback (Quinton Flowers) back there now that can make plays. But he's recruiting very well; we recruit against him quite a bit in the state of Florida. Willie's a good football coach and I'm excited for him that he's starting to get it all straightened out."
FOURTH PHASE SHINES: Actual attendance for Saturday's game, per the Tampa Sports Authority, was 18,470, making it the second-largest crowd of the year behind the season opener against FAMU (21,928).
"Earlier in the week we said it was gonna take our best offensively, defensively, special teams and our fans to win that game," Taggart said, "and I think all four of those played a big part in that victory."
Don't look for USF to be penalized after many of those fans stormed the Raymond James Stadium field following the game. AAC spokesman Chuck Sullivan said Sunday the conference has no specific policy that addresses fans on the field, other than a "blanket statement" indicating the field should be cleared of non-credentialed individuals at all times.
ODDS AND ENDS: Because they're on a short week, the Bulls practiced Monday, with DT Deadrin Senat (knee) working out on a limited basis after missing Saturday's game. Taggart indicated he's day to day. ... With 1,065 rushing yards in nine games, Mack is 309 shy of Andre Hall's 10-year-old USF season record. ... With two regular season games remaining, USF's 2,279 rushing yards already is third-most in program history. ... The Bulls' 44 points Saturday were their most in an AAC game, and most in any conference game since a 45-13 romp of Syracuse on Oct. 18, 2008. ... WR Rodney Adams now has a TD reception in five of his last six contests. ... Flowers, 15-for-22 Saturday, now ranks fifth in the conference in pass efficiency (144.9).
AUDIBLE: "Saturday was a case of guys doing the wrong thing. I usually protect the players, and as I told them, this one defensively I'm not gonna protect them. I love our guys; we've got good, tough, hard-nosed kids. We had a lot of guys that did the wrong thing versus a very talented offense that led to explosive, explosive plays." -- Temple coach Matt Rhule, whose defense -- previously ranked 1st in the conference -- allowed 556 total yards to USF