Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF seeks to end three-game skid with trip to Rutgers

TAMPA — Searching for random omens that USF football's three-game losing streak could end on Saturday at Rutgers?

By the time the Bulls kick off in Piscataway, they will have matched the longest in-season drought without a win in the program's 15-year history at 42 days, going back to a home win against UTEP on Sept. 24.

The last time that happened was 2005, when the Bulls won at home on Sept. 24, then didn't win again until Nov. 5 … at Rutgers.

Both of USF's bye weeks this season have come in the middle of the season, so the Bulls will finish the season the same way they started it, with a blitz of five games in 26 days. That don't-blink finish makes it all the more important that USF find some positive momentum Saturday.

"Let's get it rolling, kind of like we did at the beginning of the season," said coach Skip Holtz, who has never lost four in a row in 12 seasons as a head coach.

USF's past two trips to Piscataway have not gone well. The 2007 loss started USF's fall from No. 2 in the national rankings, and the 2009 loss was the first regular-season shutout in USF's history, a 31-0 loss.

The Bulls won 28-27 in Tampa last season to end a four-game losing streak to the Scarlet Knights.

The main thing USF's players are concerned about is getting back on track and getting bowl eligible — the Bulls need two wins in their final five games to extend their bowl streak to a seventh year.

"Bowl eligible. That's the main thing," RB Darrell Scott said. "We've got to start with this team in New Jersey."

NO RETURNS ALLOWED: USF's best unit this season has to be its punt coverage, which is on pace to set an NCAA record. The Bulls lead the nation in allowing a total of minus-2 yards on punt returns this season — of 30 total punts, opponents have returned just five, losing yards on those efforts.

The NCAA record for fewest punt-return yards allowed in a season? That's 2, set by Miami in 1989. The Bulls could tie the NCAA record for fewest punt returns in a season, set three times, most recently by Florida in 2009.

P Justin Brockhaus-Kann is averaging just 39.3 yards, but his net punting is strong, thanks to the poor returns and just three touchbacks compared to eight punts downed inside the 20-yard line.

THIS AND THAT: Senior 1B Todd Brazeal, a key middle-of-the-order bat for 2012, is recovering from surgery on his right knee, though baseball coach Lelo Prado said he should recover in time for the season opener in February. … Of the 11 teams reported to be in the new Big East football lineup, USF ranks second this season in average home attendance at an announced 44,779. Only Louisville (47,981) is higher. … Holtz should have four January enrollees, USF's most ever — grayshirt Alex Mut, plus three commitments in QB Tyler Cameron, CB Chris Bivins and DT J.T. Hamilton.

Times writer Greg Auman can be reached at auman@sptimes.com and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bulls and follow him at Twitter.com/gregauman.

USF seeks to end three-game skid with trip to Rutgers 11/01/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 10:05am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Alex Faedo, Florida advance to face LSU in College World Series finals

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — Alex Faedo pitched three-hit ball for 71/3 innings in a second straight strong performance against TCU, and Florida moved to the College World Series finals with a 3-0 win Saturday night.

    Florida’s Austin Langworthy scores on a single by Mike Rivera in the second inning during a 3-0 victory over TCU.
  2. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  3. Rays journal: Jumbo Diaz falters after getting within a strike of ending rally

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday's game got away starting with a leadoff walk in the seventh inning by Rays LHP Jose Alvarado, who was brought in exclusively to face Baltimore's lefty-swinging Seth Smith.

    Rays reliever Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Orioles score four during the seventh inning to give them a 7-3 lead. Diaz was one strike away from working out of the jam before he allowed a two-run double and a two-run homer on back-to-back pitches.
  4. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  5. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    It was refreshing to see RHP Jacob Faria take the blame after the loss even though he gave the Rays a chance to win. Too often young pitchers are encouraged by what they did and not necessarily the outcome, but Faria, making just his fourth big-league start, came to the Trop to win, didn't, and pointed the finger …