Saturday, August 31, 2019

Tale of Two Games

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

If there was ever a game that would be more lopsided than the other, I would  have guessed it would have been the FAU Owls traveling to Ohio Stadium and facing the Ohio State Buckeyes, rather than the Wisconsin Badgers visiting the USF Bulls in Tampa.

Boy, was I wrong!

Wisconsin Heisman Trophy Candidate Junior Running Back Jonathan Taylor put on a clinic as he scored four touchdowns as the No.19 Badgers pounded my Alma-Mater the South Florida Bulls 49-0 in a game that was delayed by lightening.

Two of Taylor's touchdowns were on the ground for 37 and 38-yards, respectively.

Wisconsin (1-0) led USF 28-0 at the half. Taylor also had two catches for 48 yards. Both receptions resulted in two touchdowns and were the first of his career in the air.

Last season, he had eight catches for 60 yards proving that he is a dual threat.

Taylor ran for 135 yards as he picked up where he left off a year ago when he amassed 2,194 yards and 16 touchdowns, for a squad whose mascot is Bucky The Badger.

USF lost its seventh straight game and did so by committing three turnovers.

The Bulls (0-1) lost six straight to finish the 2018 season at 7-6 much to the displeasure of Coach Charlie Strong.

From a statistical standpoint, all you need to know is Wisconsin outgained USF in total yards 433-157.

The Badgers rushing attack, led by Taylor, overwhelmed USF 234-26. The Badgers dominated in first downs 22-9.

The attendance at Raymond James Stadium was 46,704.

The 49 point loss to Wisconsin was USF's largest margin of defeat in program history.
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As for FAU, the Owls (0-1) should feel very good about themselves.

They lost 45-21 to new Buckeyes Coach Ryan Day.

After trailing 28-0 seven minutes into the contest, and being mauled early by the heavy 28-point favored Buckeyes (1-0) , FAU competed and trailed 28-3 at the end of the first half.

But Owls QB Chris Robison let 103,228 Buckeye fans know that this opponent would not be just an early season pushover.

Robison had a solid performance by completing 22-34, for 178 yards and one touchdown and zero interceptions.

His three favorite targets were Harrison Bryant, who had six receptions for 79 yards, Tavaris Harrison four receptions for 57 yards and John Raine, who caught six passes for 29 yards and a touchdown.

Larry McCammon III scored the Owls lone rushing touchdown. He had 11 carries for 22 yards.

In the end, FAU held its own against an opponent that has National Championship aspirations.

Buckeyes highly touted transfer QB Justin Fields scored five touchdowns in his debut.

The Owls can build on this performance as they open their home regular season versus the Central Florida Knights on Saturday, August 28 at 7 pm at FAU Stadium.

Central Florida clobbered the Florida A&M Rattlers 62-0 on Thursday Night in Orlando.

I'm not a big believer in moral victories.

But when you go to Columbus, Ohio, and play in an intimidating venue which is considered the Horse Shoe, and compete against an elite program in OSU, let alone collect a huge payday, it was a good weekend for FAU.

Former FAU Athletic Director Patrick Chun previously worked at OSU and managed to get this contest scheduled.

At the beginning of the game, I thought that with the big lead OSU took, the Buckeyes would easily score above 70 points.

Despite the fact that OSU outgained FAU in total yards 469-228, the Owls outscored OSU 21-17 to end the game.

They showed a FOX National TV audience that the university located in Boca Raton, FL., has an upstart program coached by Lane Kiffin, who is in the photo in the Spring Game.

As for USF, Strong has a lot of work to do after an embarrassing performance on Friday Night.

It will be interesting as a tale of two programs which I'm deeply connected fare not only this season, but will face one another in 2020.

This tale of two games were against two of the best Big 10 opponents in Wisconsin and Ohio State. Both figure to be big contenders to possibly play in the Big 10 Championship Game in December.

Stay tuned!

Scott Morganroth can be reached at www.scottsports33.com and is the Founder and CEO for The South Florida Tribune.

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