Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. USF Bulls

USF falls to No. 2 Cincinnati in home finale

The Bulls were competitive (again) against a good team but couldn’t close the deal (again).
USF quarterback Timmy McClain and the Bulls were competitive against No. 2 Cincinnati but suffered another close loss.
USF quarterback Timmy McClain and the Bulls were competitive against No. 2 Cincinnati but suffered another close loss. [ CHRIS O'MEARA | Associated Press ]
Published Nov. 13
Updated Nov. 13

TAMPA — USF’s 45-28 loss to No. 2 Cincinnati followed the Bulls’ season-long trend. They were competitive, scoring more points on the Bearcats’ elite defense than any team has so far. But it wasn’t enough, resulting in another loss on senior night at Raymond James Stadium.

“Ultimately the room for error is very small when you’re playing a top-five team like we played (Friday),” Bulls coach Jeff Scott said. “We knew that, and we made too many mistakes.”

Related: Cincinnati doesn’t look like a College Football Playoff team in win over USF

Specifically, they had too many breakdowns in the middle of the game, when Cincinnati (10-0, 6-0 AAC) scored on five consecutive drives to turn a 7-0 deficit into a 31-7 lead. Offensively, the Bulls (2-8, 1-5) netted almost as many yards through Cincinnati penalties (35) as on offense (39) in the first half.

Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder accounted for three touchdowns at USF.
Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder accounted for three touchdowns at USF. [ CHRIS O'MEARA | AP ]

But the Bulls continued to show life that gives Scott optimism that a breakthrough remains on the horizon.

Running back Jaren Mangham rushed for two touchdowns. Quarterback Timmy McClain found Jimmy Horn for an 80-yard catch-and-run that cut the deficit to 31-21 late in the third quarter.

Most impressively, USF responded after it fumbled a kickoff. The Bulls stopped Cincinnati four times inside the 5, then McClain led a 98-yard touchdown drive to trim the deficit to 10 with six minutes left.

USF quarterback Timmy McClain finished with 245 passing yards and 13 rushing yards against Cincinnati.
USF quarterback Timmy McClain finished with 245 passing yards and 13 rushing yards against Cincinnati. [ CHRIS O'MEARA | AP ]

That sequence is what Scott said he’ll take away from the game — another sign of a refusal to quit in another loss.

“I hate that that’s the situation each and every week, but it is what it is…” Scott said. “We’re not a good enough team right now to kind of turn it on and turn it off.”

• • •

Never miss out on the latest with the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida college sports and more. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook.