133 total yards
8 First downs
Time of Possession 18:17
In today’s age of college football these statistics would be unnerving for the first half of a game, so for them to be final game totals it should create a sense of urgency to make changes offensively.
In the process of losing to the 20th ranked Louisville Cardinals 35-3, Coach Willie Taggart made the first change by removing the redshirt designation from freshman Mike White and inserting him into the game — this was after game starter Bobby Eveld suffered a leg injury and his replacement Steven Bench was benched due to ineffectiveness going 4 of 12 for 68 yards.
White, a native of Ft. Lauderdale, is the fourth player to see action at quarterback and while he was only 1 of 2 for five yards, Coach Taggart hopes that the youngster can be the spark that awakens a struggling offense.
Conversely Louisville had no worries under center as junior Teddy Bridgewater continued his spectacular season going 25 of 29 for 344 yards and three touchdowns. Not only is the Miami Northwestern alum garnering national attention but he is getting respect from former high school teammates as well.
“Teddy is a brilliant quarterback and can sense pressure and knows when to get rid of the ball,” said former Miami Northwestern High teammate defensive tackle Todd Chandler “To be able to stop Louisville offense you gotta get in the head of Teddy and we kinda fell short today.”
While the Bulls fell short in many of the statistical battles, they did do some things right. They sacked Bridgewater four times, two by DeDe Lattimore, and held the Cardinals rushing offense to only 136 yards — but with a struggling offense that hasn’t scored a touchdown in three games, it is only so much a defense can do before they begin to give up big plays.
In addition to the switch at quarterback Coach Taggart hinted at the possibility of playing players both ways if it meant that it would get playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. One playmaker they hope to have back for Thursday’s nationally televised game against the Houston Cougars is running back Marcus Shaw, who has missed the last game and a half due to a hamstring injury.
Since Shaw’s injury in the first quarter of the Cincinnati victory, the Bulls leading rusher had 61, 69 and 41 yards respectively.
And while they were down to their third string running back freshman Darius Tice (who ran for a modest 41 yards on seven carries), Coach Taggart still expected more production out of a position of strength.
With the quick turnaround game against the Cougars on Halloween, it is imperative that the Bulls generate a more consistent rushing attack to make life easier for the offense.
If Marcus Shaw is able to return and play at even an 90% health level, he should be able to create a balanced offense and keep the ball out of the hands of the Cougar’s dangerous duo: true freshman quarterback John O’Korn (also a Ft. Lauderdale native), who has passed for 1858 yards and 19 touchdowns, and sophomore receiver Deontay Greenberry, who leads the AAC in receiving yards with 858 and is second in receptions with 58.
If not, this game could actually be worse than the Louisville and Miami debacles with it being a road game with a true freshman quarterback starting his first game of the season.
Story by Quinne Lowe