MU-USF playing in ‘Reset Bowl’
This is a reset.
Remember having to reset a smart television after a power outage? How about rebooting an iPhone? And, of course, let’s not forget the ever so prevalent matter of having to hit the reset button on the internet modem.
We live in a reset world.
So, why should anyone expect the Marshall University vs. South Florida matchup in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl at 8 p.m. Dec. 20 in Raymond James Stadium at Tampa, Florida, to be any different?
It could just as easily be called the “Reset Bowl,” considering Marshall watched a three-game winning streak go down the drain with a 41-20 loss to Virginia Tech and South Florida’s 38-10 loss to UCF was its fifth consecutive defeat.
But here’s the catch.
Marshall has 18 days to regroup before playing South Florida in the Bad Boy Bowl. The Bulls? Since they played UCF way back on Nov. 23, USF has a whopping 26 days to get its act together again.
That’s a reset, right, Jordan Dowrey?
“I don’t know a whole lot yet,” admitted MU’s senior left offensive guard. “We’ve got a little time off right now, so we haven’t watched any film yet. I’ve seen their record, I’ve seen who they’ve played. ... it’s a weird way to get to 7-5, I’ll say that.
“It’s not the way you would want to get there, but seven straight wins tells you a little something about them. They have a lot of pieces in place. They’ve got to have a good core group of guys — a good solid team at the core of it — and I don’t know what has happened in the last couple of weeks.”
For starters, starting quarterback Blake Barnett, 6-foot-5, 217-pound junior, didn’t play in South Florida’s last two games because of a shoulder injury. Considering Barnett has completed 203 of 327 passes for 2,498 yards (249.8 yards per game) with 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, that a rather significant loss.
“OK, see, that hurts you,” said Dowrey.
“When you have a personnel change like that and they’ve had a strong schedule towards the end of the season, too, I think all those things add up. I don’t think five losses in a row means a whole lot at the end of the day because this is like a reset.”
There it is. A reset.
“When you have this much time in between one game and the next,” pointed out Dowrey, “they’ve got plenty of time to get all their guys healthy and get prepared. I know we know in the games that we play well and we are executing well and everyone is healthy on the field, we’re a different team than when we’re not as focused or whether we have issues and we’re beating ourselves.
“When you have more time to prepare that takes the likelihood of a game like that happening. You don’t have any self-inflicted injuries when you are more prepared.
“When you have this much time to do it, I think at the end of day both teams will be really ready to go. And it will just come down to execution and who has the better players.”
Which is precisely how it should be.
Besides, in this situation neither team has any momentum because neither Marshall nor South Florida is coming off a victory. Welcome to the “Reset Bowl.”
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.