Sophomore Lindsey Lamar couldn’t even enjoy the biggest play of his career, a 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that put USF up 9-6 in the third quarter of its Homecoming game.
“It was extremely disappointing because now it seems like it didn’t matter because we lost,” Lamar said. “We had a spark for a few minutes, but we just couldn’t finish it.”
The return is tied for the third longest in school history and is the first touchdown on a kickoff return for USF since 2007, when former cornerback Mike Jenkins returned one 100 yards against Cincinnati.
Lamar’s run put USF back in front after Syracuse had taken a 6-3 lead with their opening possession of the second half.
The Bulls defense then forced a three and out on Syracuse’s next possession.
“A lot of times, it will be a play like that that will boost a team,” coach Skip Holtz said of the return. “It’s like, ‘Alright, now we’ve got it, here we go … Now we got momentum going our way.’ It’s just unfortunate we couldn’t capitalize on some of the opportunities the defense and special teams created for us.”
Lamar returned four kicks for 141 yards Saturday, ranking him third on USF’s all-time list for return yardage in a single game behind Mike Jenkins (192) and Jermaine Clemons (147).
Lamar also caught two passes for 12 yards.
Sophomore kicker Maikon Bonani made a 31-yard field goal in the 2nd quarter, but missed a 47-yarder wide left. Bonani’s extra point attempt following Lamar’s touchdown was blocked by Syracuse defensive tackle Anthony Perkins … USF was held under 100 yards rushing for the first time this season … Defensive end Craig Marshall had three sacks in the game … Junior safety Jerrell Young did not dress for the game after injuring his ankle last week against Florida Atlantic … Senior offensive tackle Jamar Bass (ankle) also missed the game. Sophomore Mark Popek got to start in his place … USF falls to 9-5 all-time in Homecoming games and 3-3 in Homecoming games versus Big East opponents.