Bulls Ready For Ranked Conference Opponent

South Florida Bulls Ready To Redeem Themselves Against Ranked Navy

The South Florida Bulls find themselves under the Friday night lights for the second straight week, against yet another important conference opponent. After coming off a devastating loss to Temple, USF looks to regroup against No. 22 Navy at Raymond James Stadium.

Now tied for first in the American Athletic Conference East Division, USF is looking at the second game of a rough three game streak of conference match-ups. Navy comes into this game sitting in the first place spot in the West Division, 4-0.

“Looking forward to this great challenge we have in front of us this week against Navy here at home,” said Willie Taggart.

“What an awesome opportunity for our football team to have them at home a ranked team, a challenging football team,” said Taggart. “We’re excited about that challenge.”

The Bulls will be looking to bounce back from their second loss of the season and if their first bounce back has any indication of what the Bulls will do this week then Navy might be in trouble. After losing to Florida State in week four the Bulls used 28 unanswered points to roll to a 45-20 win at Cincinnati the following week.

South Florida Bulls
Photo: USF Athletics

“Had two really nice practices this week so far, guys came out locked in with what we have to do and practiced the way we need to practice,” Taggart said in the weekly press conference.

Taggart explained that he loves his team and knows his team and he knows how they will respond.

“We’re 6-1 with only one loss in the conference and we still have a lot to play for and we understand and we’ve got to make sure we are ready.”

Will Worth Continues To Prove His Worth

The Bulls defense had a struggling game against Temple last week and their job doesn’t get any easier this week. Stopping Navy QB Will Worth will be a tough task for the Bull Shark defense, but it’s a task they are ready to take on.

“Will Worth, yes he is worth talking about,” said Taggart. “He’s done an unbelievable job to come in not expecting to be the starter.”

Worth is sixth in the conference with rushing yards and third in scoring with 54 points.

“He can do it all; he is a heck of a runner and is tough as nails,” said middle linebacker Auggie Sanchez. “That offense is dynamic and he is the leader of it.”

Photo: USF Athletics
Photo: USF Athletics

Sanchez will be a key player in Friday night’s game, just as he is a leader in every game. He currently ranks second in the conference with 71 total tackles and with 6.0 sacks he is only half a sack away from the conference lead in that category.

There also may be some changes to the defensive scheme to better stop Navy’s offense. Defensive coordinator Raymond Woodie has spent the first eight games in the coaches box, but where he spend’s Friday night’s game will be a “game-time decision.”

Woodie mentioned they have a good plan in place right now, but if he needs to come down to the sidelines Friday night he will.

Woodie also said that the game will definitely see more linebackers on the field for USF as Navy comes into this game with the fourth-best rushing attack in the country at 293.2 yards per game.

Gulf Coast Offense To Get Back On The Records

The Gulf Coast Offense has been on a roll for the past dozen of games, but that all came to a halt last week against Temple. The Bulls offense said goodbye to their three nation-leading streaks as Temple controlled possession of the ball not allowing the up-tempo offense the chance to get any work done.

Photo: USF Athletics
Photo: USF Athletics

Marlon Mack and Quinton Flowers will look to dominate the offense again. Mack is currently leading the American with 10 rushing touchdowns after a 30-yard scoring run against Temple last week in the fourth quarter. He is on track to break the Bulls’ single-season rushing TD record, held by Andrea Davis with 13 in 2005.

Flowers will look for another 100 yard rushing game. He only had 90 rushing yards against Temple last week and 187 passing yards. The dual-threat quarterback is third in the conference for rushing and second in the conference for pass efficiency. Flowers will be ready to play after exiting the Temple game with an apparent hamstring injury.

Photo: USF Athletics
Photo: USF Athletics

Rodney Adams and D’Ernest Johnson will find themselves being crucial kickoff returners in this weeks game. Adams started last season’s Navy game with a 97 yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Adams currently sits 23rd in the nation with an average of 27.3 yards per return after returning three kicks for 97 yards last week at Temple.

Where To Watch

The Bulls Salute to Service game will be nationally televised from Raymond James Stadium.

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

TV: ESPN2

Radio: 820 a.m. USF IMG Network

Side Notes

The first 2,000 fans through the gates at Raymond James Stadium will receive a free USF Under Armour T-shirt.

The first 500 students in attendance will get exclusive USF student section T-shirts.

USF has won nine of their past 11 games at home, outscoring opponents by an average margin of 43-23.

Ronnie Hoggins will play this week against Navy, per Taggart.

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Allison Leslie is a University of South Florida graduate with a bachelors degree in Mass Communications. She joined Genesis in 2016. With a passion for sports, Allison has interned with 620 WDAE, Pewter Report, Trifecta Team: St. Petersburg Bowl, Bullscast, and many other publications. Being a native to the Bay Area, she has followed and supported Tampa Bay teams her whole life.