The right foot of Miami kicker Jake Wieclaw dashed USF’s hopes for a successful game against the Hurricanes on Saturday, making a 36-yard field goal as time expired to beat the Bulls 6-3 in front of 57,572 at Raymond James Stadium.
The tackling power of Miami defensive back Brandon McGee may have also relegated USF starting quarterback B.J. Daniels to the sidelines for the rest of the season.
Daniels was injured on a run five minutes into the second half, after getting tackled and piled onto. He was stretched on the sideline and threw passes to loosen up before a potential return to the game, but was quickly told to take his pads off with a sprained right shoulder. He will undergo an MRI this morning.
Daniels’ departure changed the tone of the game, with sophomore Bobby Eveld stepping in. Eveld took over for an injured Daniels last year against Miami and led USF to a win, but this time he was unable to repeat such a feat.
In seven possessions with Daniels at the helm, the Bulls accumulated 184 yards and 12 first downs. In five possessions with Eveld in control, the Bulls advanced 65 yards on the four first downs.
Coach Skip Holtz said Eveld didn’t look nearly as comfortable this time around and didn’t know why.
“I wish I could answer that,” Holtz said.
A dominant performance by the USF defense wasn’t enough without any support from the offense. The Bulls did not allow an offensive touchdown and recorded six sacks against a team that had allowed a total of 13 in 10 prior games. Lamar Miller and the Miami ground game was held to 57 yards rushing on 40 attempts.
“This one certainly didn’t fall on the defense,” Holtz said. “When you give up three points during the course of a game, especially when the offense was going three and out predominantly the entire second half – you can’t keep putting your defense out there and keep asking them to play. I certainly don’t put this one on the defense.”
For USF, it’s just the latest in a series of losses to come in the final seconds of the game and keeps the Bulls one win shy of bowl eligibility. USF will have to beat either Louisville or West Virginia to qualify for a bowl.
“It’s hard to lose a game like this when they kick a field goal,” Holtz said. “I believe this is about three or four games we’ve lost literally on the last play of the game. That part is hard … From that standpoint it’s hard, it’s frustrating … we just have not been able to close the door and get it done.”