The second year of the Skip Holtz era ended with one of the worst seasons in the history of the program following the Bulls gut-wrenching 30-27 loss to West Virginia Thursday night.
Perhaps more disturbing is how the defense collapsed on the late stages of four heartbreaking losses.
Cincinnati, Miami and West Virginia scored on their final possessions to come from behind to beat the Bulls. Rutgers scored on its next to last possession of regulation to tie the game and then defeated USF in overtime.
The combined stats from those four drives are most troubling. USF opponents completed 20 of 26 passes for 244 yards without an interception on those drives.
The final game typified this season with USF unable to stop West Virginia on its game winning drive. The killer came when the Mountaineers had a fourth and 10 from the USF 42 yard line with 13 seconds left and quarterback Geno Smith completed a 26 yard pass to set up the game wining 28 yard field goal as time expired.
Miami’s Jacory Harris completed seven straight passes without an incompletion on the Hurricanes final drive. Rutgers had five straight completions and then after two misfires quarterback Chas Dodd threw a 34-yard TD strike with 1:08 left that eventually sent the game into overtime.
Cincinnati’s Zach Collaros completed four of his first five passes in the Bearcats winning drive, including a 21 yarder that gave his team a first down at the USF six that led to his two-yard TD run.
Holtz now owns an indistinguishable list of non-accomplishments and failures.
The loss ends the Bulls string of going to six straight bowl games, gives the program (5-7) its first losing season since 2004 and only third since the program first started playing in 1997.
The 1-6 Big East Conference record is the program’s worst since joining the league in 2004 surpassing the previous worst in ’08 when the Bulls had a 2-5 league record. Its worst record in Conference USA was 3-5 in ’04.
As pointed out earlier this week, this is all from a man who is the reported third highest paid coach in the Big East Conference at $1.7 million per season.