You don’t hear the fans in South Bend boo their Notre Dame Fighting Irish off the field at halftime much. But their Irish are completely out of sorts and they trail the South Florida Bulls 16-0 at the half.
Although Notre Dame has outgained USF 180-144, they have three brutal turnovers and some ill-timed penalties to blame for keeping themselves off the scoreboard. The Irish were all set to cut USF’s lead to 13-7 early in the second quarter. But a holding penalty on the edge wiped out a touchdown run, and on third and goal from the 8-yard line, Dayne Crist short-armed a pass into the end zone that was intercepted by DeDe Lattimore for a touchback.
USF drove down and missed a 52-yard field goal. Then after an exchange of punts, Leon Riddick muffed Justin Brockhaus-Kann’s first punt of the afternoon and Victor Marc fell on it at the Notre Dame 20-yard line. Maikon Bonani’s third field goal, from 37 yards out, extended the Bulls’ lead to 16 points.
The Irish have made a ton of mistakes — the penalties and turnovers, plus several dropped passes — and USF has taken advantage to some degree. If anything, the Bulls could have a 30-point lead if not for their offensive execution in scoring range. The Bulls are 0-for-7 on third down so far.
USF will receive the second-half kickoff, but with thunderstorms moving through and towards South Bend, it might be awhile before the second half begins. The stands have already been cleared because of lightning in the area. This might not be such a good thing for the Bulls, because it gives Brian Kelly extra time to settle his team down and refocus them for the second half.