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Beat the Bulls? Teams are finding that hard to do

  • Less than 12 minutes into the 2017 USF season, the Bulls found themselves down 16-0 at San Jose State.
  • For the second time in less than a year, the Bulls had spotted an opponent an early three-score lead and rallied to win by 20 or more points.
  • “It’s been a lot of fun, especially from my first years here,” said fifth-year senior center Cameron Ruff, a redshirt freshman in 2013 when USF finished 2-10 and suffered a season-opening 53-21 humiliation against I-AA McNeese State.
  • Things changed, Sanchez indicated, when former coach Willie Taggart inserted a competitive element into every practice and offseason workout.
  • “We come off the field, we see that it’s the little things we have to adjust, and we know that the next time we get the ball we can go down the field and score.

TAMPA — Dusk, and a debacle, were setting in.

TAMPA — Dusk, and a debacle, were setting in.

Less than 12 minutes into the 2017 USF season, the Bulls found themselves down 16-0 at San Jose State. They could execute neither a power run nor a punt, and their Heisman-hyped quarterback appeared flummoxed. Before picking up their initial first down, their new coach’s name already was trending on Twitter.

“It was pretty funny because everyone started panicking,” senior middle linebacker Auggie Sanchez recalled. “And I kind of brought us all together and was like, ‘Man, you guys have just got to relax. We’ve been here before.’ “

Sure enough, catastrophe evaporated faster than you could say McNeese State. USF, which started 12 seniors that evening, scored touchdowns on four of its next six possessions and rolled 42-22.

For the second time in less than a year, the Bulls had spotted an opponent an early three-score lead and rallied to win by 20 or more points. But for all the confidence Sanchez exuded that night, he seems even more certain of what would have transpired in a similar scenario three or four years earlier.

“It would’ve been over,” he said. “I think once (the opponent) got up, we wouldn’t have had the fight in us.”

It was only 25 months ago — specifically, after an unsightly 35-17 loss at Maryland — that then-coach Willie Taggart was bemoaning his team because it hadn’t learned how to…

Beat the Bulls? Teams are finding that hard to do

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