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November 16, 2013

USF falls to Memphis in lackluster game

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The USF Bulls fell to the Memphis Tigers by the score of 23-10 at home Saturday, marking the team's third consecutive loss and rendering it ineligible for bowl play at the end of this season.

USF (2-7) entered this game with the third-worst offensive in Division I football, and their performance against Memphis (3-6) did little to help those stats. Totaling 325 yards (198 passing, 127 rushing), the Bulls did not find the end zone until the final minute of the game.

Starting QB Mike White, who had a strong performance during his first college start against Houston, struggled throughout this match. Going 11-of-19 for 101 yards, White was unable to find the same rhythm that he had against the Cougars. Turnovers were also an issue for the freshman; White threw four interceptions, three of which were converted into points (two field goals, one touchdown) by the Tigers.

RB Marcus Shaw, who played in his second game since returning from injury, has yet to return to the form he was in prior to going out against Cincinnati. Shaw rushed for 525 yards in his first four games this season; in the two games since returning from his injury, he has rushed for just 91 yards.

Beyond the regular offensive troubles, USF kicker Marvin Kloss had an uncharacteristically poor performance against the Tigers. Kloss, who had not missed a field goal since the first try of this season (13 in a row), went one-of-three on the night. The first miss came at the end of USF's game-opening drive, where Kloss' 49-yard attempt went outside the left post. The second miss, a 55-yard attempt, came nearly midway through the second quarter.

The defense was the bright spot in this game, as it has been in the vast majority of USF's games this season. The unit held Memphis to just six points throughout nearly 56 minutes of play; however, once the Tigers found the end zone off of a Brandon Hayes 5-yard rush at the 4:09 mark of the fourth quarter, the morale of the Bulls' defense seemed to diminish. Memphis scored 17 points in the final five minutes of the game.

With this loss, USF is officially ineligible to play a bowl game at the end of this season as the team will not reach the six wins required. The Bulls will play their final home game of the season next weekend against SMU.



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