Weve seen it before from the Bulls: high rushing statistics, first down completions and a spotty but playmaking defense. But neither the offense nor defense could capitalize on their opportunities Saturday, when the USF football team fell 40-9 to Miami.
Junior quarterback Bobby Eveld, who led USF to a 23-20 overtime win against Miami in 2010, was put into the game after a two-week battle for the position, burning his redshirt status and giving him a chance to take the leading post after senior quarterback B.J. Daniels broke his leg and sprained his ankle against UConn two weeks ago.
But his battle win didnt last long, as a left shoulder injury sidelined Eveld at the end of the first quarter, adding yet another injury to USFs growing list. He finished 3-for-8 with 29 passing yards, with the longest a 23-yard pass to senior wide receiver Victor Marc.
Miami was held to a field goal during the first quarter, but their yardage would set a precedent for the rest of the game, as the Hurricanes picked up 39 yards rushing and 90 passing.
Matt Floyd, who stepped in for Daniels against UConn, was able to connect with receivers, and picked up 40 rushing and 88 passing yards the second quarter, to Miamis 7 rushing and 92 passing. Yet Miami picked off two interceptions, then forced another turnover when junior wide receiver Terrence Mitchell fumbled a punt return that was recovered by Miami.
Senior Maikon Bonani was the only player to put points on the board with three field goals, though he missed his chance on two others.
Bonani finished what the offense couldnt.
The offense had its chance to shine when junior safety JaQuez Jenkins forced a fumble off Miami running back Duke Johnson, and USF recovered the fumble. Floyd took advantage of the momentum to bring the Bulls from the USF 20-yard line to the Miami 7-yard line with 2:09 to go in the half. Yet USF struggled to make the touchdown happen, and with poor clock management, missing a potential time out call, it moved 1 yard in two plays and set up a field goal for Bonani with 0:00 on the clock, putting USF on the board at 16-3.
Both the offense and defense struggled in the second half, and by the end of the game put up only 358 total yards to Miamis 548. Floyd finished 20-for-35 and 175 yards.
I felt the game was out of reach, coach Skip Holtz said about the teams late field goals. … I felt we needed to build on some successes.
Though the defense recorded 3 sacks and 6 tackles for loss, to Miamis 0 and 4, they were unable to hold the Miami offense in scoring, allowing both an 87-yard pass and 65-yard pass for touchdowns.
The Bulls sit at last place in the Big East and will return to conference play this weekend against fourth-seeded Cincinnati, followed by play against second-to-last Pittsburgh, which has the same conference win total as USF.
If the Bulls want to win this season, they will have to toughen up and avoid injuries, while new faces must settle in quickly and find their place on the teams roster.