South Florida Football: Bulls' defense can't get stops with the game on the line

Joe Robbins

South Florida has allowed three teams to score on their final possessions to win all three games. Here's an in-depth look at just how bad the South Florida defense is with the game on the line.

South Florida and head coach Skip Holtz's struggles the past two seasons have been well publicized. Since the end of the 2010 season, the Bulls have gone a stunning 1-10 in Big East games and have won just three games since they were ranked in week four of the 2011 season. What has been particularly maddening for Bulls fans in 2012 is the way the team has managed to give away late leads on the final possession. Three times, the Bulls have had the lead, only to have the opponent drive for a touchdown on their final possession to reclaim the lead and win the game. Here's an in-depth look at just how soft the South Florida defense has been with the game on the line.

  • Against Ball State, South Florida led 27-24 with 4:12 left in the 4th quarter. Ball State took over at its own 25 and drove 75 yards in 10 plays, taking 3:01 off the clock and threw a touchdown pass to take the lead.
  • Against Louisville, South Florida led 25-21 with 3:09 left in the 4th quarter. Louisville took over at its own 25 and drove 75 yards in 8 plays, taking 1:34 off the clock and threw a touchdown pass to take the lead.
  • Against Syracuse, South Florida led 36-31 with 1:23 left in the 4th quarter. Syracuse took over at its own 25 and drove 75 yards in 11 plays, taking 1:20 off the vlock and threw a touchdown pass to take the lead.
What's striking about these drives is the ease with which teams threw the ball to drive for the winning score. Sometimes in big chunks. Here are the passing stats from the three games, just on the final drives.

Comp Att Yards Yards/Comp Yards/Att
Syracuse 6 8 85 14.2 10.6
Louisville 5 7 58 11.6 8.3
Ball St. 6 7 49 8.2 7
Totals 17 22 192 11.2 8.7

We've been critical of South Florida and pointed out the big part BJ Daniels has played in the Bulls' struggles in the past. However, at least three times this year (including yesterday), South Florida has gotten enough from Daniels and the offense to have the lead late and couldn't hold on.

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