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Snyder praises defense despite giving up record yards

Senior linebacker Sabbath Joseph said he doesn’t look too much into USF’s defensive struggles Friday against Cincinnati.

The Bulls allowed a school-record of 590 yards total offense to the Bearcats on Friday, but was able to make key stops in the red zone when it mattered.

“I’m a firm believer in there’s no such thing as a good win or bad win,” Joseph said. “I’ll take this as a ‘W,’ and I’ll run with it.”

Looking at the big picture, defensive coordinator Mark Snyder didn’t seem upset by his unit’s defensive performance when answering questions Sunday.

On third-and-3 at the USF 16-yard line, senior cornerback Mistral Raymond intercepted Cincinnati’s junior quarterback Zach Collaros, killing a drive that started at the Bearcats’ 33-yard line. The Bulls held a 17-13 lead at that point.

“They moved the ball between the 20s, and you don’t want them to, but you’ve got to play great (defense) in the red zone,” Snyder said. “That’s what we did. That was the difference in the game.

“If you stop the running game and once the field starts shrinking and there are DBs everywhere and (the opponent) doesn’t have the ability to run, it creates problems for offenses to get in the end zone.”

The Bearcats also moved the ball to the USF 16-yard line on their final drive (started at the Bearcats’ 29-yard line) with USF leading 38-30, but USF’s defense held Cincinnati out of the end zone to preserve the win.

“It speaks a little bit to getting to know our players a little bit better and what kind of mentality (they have),” Snyder said.

Unsung heroes

Some plays go unnoticed in the box score. One of several effort plays that were key in Friday’s game occurred when sophomore running back Demetris Murray took a play action fake from sophomore quarterback B.J. Daniels and sprinted down field to help block for senior wide receiver Faron Hornes’ 71-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter that put USF ahead 30-16.

“He takes off on a dead sprint, runs all the way across the field,” coach Skip Holtz said. “A lot of great individual efforts on that film.”

Sophomore receiver Evan Landi also broke up what could have been an interception on Daniels’ first pass attempt of the game.

“You can go on and on. A lot of great, unselfish individual efforts on both sides of the ball,” Holtz said.