South Florida is getting exactly the kind of game I thought they could win and leads Notre Dame 16-0 at the half. It hasn't been pretty, and frankly, Notre Dame has given away as much as South Florida has truly earned, but the lead is two scores as they head to the locker room. One thing to consider, the weather is about to turn terribly bad which might make it even harder for Notre Dame to throw the ball and make up a deficit. Here are some halftime observations:
- Notre Dame has given the game away every bit as much as South Florida has taken it to them. The Irish fumbled inside their own two yard line and South Florida's Kayvon Webster returned it 96 yards for a touchdown. Later, Dayne Crist threw an interception in the end zone to DeDe Lattimore. The Irish also muffed a punt that the Bulls recovered deep in Notre Dame territory. In addition to the turnovers, the Irish have had multiple dropped passes and penalties and have been all out of sorts.
- The South Florida offense looks a little bit sharper, but still is inconsistent. I think the difference between this year and last is that BJ Daniels is at least making sharper decisions and when thinks are breaking down is not forcing throws or turning the ball over. The South Florida offensive line is really having a tough time with that Notre Dame front seven and it has forced the Bulls to go with a ton of screens and misdirection stuff just hoping to make some space to run through. For the most part it's been ineffective. The Irish outgained the Bulls 191 to 144 in the first half.
- The Bulls have to be happy with the pressure and the penetration they're getting from the front four. Crist has been harassed and sacked, and while the Irish have busted a couple of nice runs, they've done well in keeping Notre Dame from being able to establish too much balance.
- I keep having this sinking feeling that South Florida settling for field goals when touchdowns were there for the taking. Lead could easily be 21-0 or 28-0. Of course, if Notre Dame takes care of the ball it could easily be 14-7 or 14-14 as well.
- The game is delayed for heavy rain and lightning. Who does this extended delay help?