TAMPA, Fla. – It will be a busy sports weekend in Tampa as the Lightning, Buccaneers and Bulls are at home.
USF will get things started with a noon kickoff against Temple at Raymond James Stadium. Alex Golesh’s Bulls (4-5/2-3 AAC) need to win twice in their final three games in order to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2018.
Led by quarterback Byrum Brown, who is averaging 322 yards per game to rank sixth nationally, the Bulls employ an exciting up-tempo scheme that has them leading the nation in plays per game with 84.
Unfortunately, a defense the struggled mightily the past few years continues to have its problems. The unit is allowing 459 yards per game to rank 131st among 133 FBS teams.
The Bulls travel to San Antonio to face UTSA next Friday night before hosting Charlotte two weeks from Saturday.
The Lightning conclude a two-game homestand when they meet Carolina at Amalie Arena on Saturday night. Puck drop is 7:00.
The Bolts are coming off a 5-3 loss to visiting Chicago on Thursday evening that dropped their mark to 6-4-4. The defeat left coach Jon Cooper rather unhappy with how his club performed after a hot start in which the Lightning had a 1-0 lead while dictating terms. Yet, they trailed 4-2 after 20 minutes.
“We had the momentum in this game clearly in the first 10 to 12 minutes and we gave it back with our self-inflicted errors,” he said. “Egregious turnovers and lack of execution and, in the end, just gave them freebies.”
The Lightning travel to St. Louis on Monday and Chicago on Wednesday before returning to Amalie next Saturday when they begin a three-game homestand against Edmonton.
The Bucs (3-5) look to snap a four-game skid as they host the Titans on Sunday at 1 p.m. Last week’s 39-37 loss at Houston was particularly frustrating, and not just because they allowed a season high in points while scoring a season high. Rather, the Bucs pulled ahead, 37-33, on Baker Mayfield’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Cade Otton with 46 seconds remaining only to have the Texans go 75 yards in six plays to take the lead with six seconds remaining.
“We play together and we stay together,” said coach Todd Bowles, on Tuesday. “We go through ups and down together, we’re a close-knit group. There is progress being made by the offense and there was progress made by the defense. We have to play all together at the same time.”
The last time the Bucs lost five straight in a season was 2017. The last time they lost five straight at any point was when they lost the final four games of 2018 and the 2019 opener.
The Bucs are back on the road the next two weeks with games at San Francisco and Indianapolis.
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