Jeff Scott after latest USF loss: ‘This is as low as we’ve been’

The third-year coach sees his Bulls get thumped by Temple, another struggling American Athletic Conference team.
After USF's latest loss, coach Jeff Scott says "in the next 24 hours I’m going to do a lot of soul searching.”
After USF's latest loss, coach Jeff Scott says "in the next 24 hours I’m going to do a lot of soul searching.” [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
Published Nov. 5, 2022|Updated Nov. 5, 2022

This season has been full of lows for USF. Coach Jeff Scott acknowledged that Saturday’s latest loss, 54-28 at Temple, felt like rock bottom.

Most glaring, again, were the Bulls’ defensive woes.

Temple (3-6, 1-5 AAC) finished with a whopping 621 yards, including individual runs of 27, 27, 33, 40 and 75 yards while averaging 9.2 yards a carry — alarming numbers given that in their first eight games the Owls averaged 284 yards (ranking 125th nationally), 15.5 points (129th) and 2.6 yards a carry.

The Bulls defense is ranked 130th out of 131 Division I-A teams and allows an average of 488.1 yards a game.

“In Year One and Two when this happens you know it’s part of the building process,” said Scott, who came into the week with a 4-25 record since being hired in December 2019. “But now it’s late in Year Three and yes, this is as low as we’ve been.”

Scott said he takes full responsibility for all of it.

“I told the team in the locker room that there isn’t anything more in life that I want than for them to have success,” Scott said. “Any time you see a group of guys who haven’t quit, who have been through a lot, you want to do everything you can for them. The most frustrating thing for me is that I’m doing everything I know to do for us to have success and it’s not working. … In the next 24 hours I’m going to do a lot of soul searching.”

For a while on Saturday, there were a few USF highlights, including opening the game with a 15-play, 75-yard drive that took 8 minutes, 30 seconds and ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Weaver.

For one of the rare moments this season, USF (1-8, 0-5) led 7-0.

The Bulls defense followed by holding Temple to three field goals on its first three drives, but the dye was also cast: The Owls proceeded to score on all 10 possessions the rest of the way, getting stopped only by the first-half clock and the game’s final buzzer.

USF’s offense — guided by third-year sophomore quarterback Katravis Marsh, who took over midseason when starter Gerry Bohanon when out with a season-ending shoulder injury — showed a few flashes in Brian Battie (19 carries, 129 yards) and receivers Jimmy Horn (55-yard touchdown run) and Weaver (six catches, 119 yards, two touchdowns).

Marsh was solid for much of the game, but faltered a bit down the stretch, losing a fumble and throwing an interception before finishing 11-of-22 for 176 yards and three touchdowns.

Ultimately, the loss extended USF’s losing streak to seven games, left it winless in Philadelphia (0-5) and without a road victory since 2019.

“To be a good football team you have to be consistent and overall we haven’t been a consistent team and that’s what I’m most frustrated about,” Scott said. “And when you have this many inconsistencies that’s nobody’s fault but mine. … There are only two options and the only choice I see is to keep moving forward and keep working at it. We’ll make whatever decisions need to help put our guys in better positions to have success.”

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