USF (1-4) held off a late rally by the Cincinnati Bearcats (3-2) night and delivered the first win of the Willie Taggart era, 26-20.
The Bulls’ American Athletic Conference season started off on a familiar tone for USF, as Cincinnati ripped the ball from USF senior running back Marcus Shaw.
With 24 yards separating the Cincinnati from an early touchdown, USF kept the Bearcats out of the end zone before junior tight end Mike McFarland blocked a Bearcat field goal attempt. Freshman safety Nate Godwin picked up the ball and took it 75 yards to jump out to a 7-0 lead.
With Kloss connected on his second field goal of the night, a 52-yarder to make it 13-0. left in the second quarter, senior kicker Marvin
Cincinnati senior quarterback Brendon Kay threw a 22-yard touchdown pass with about ten minutes left in the second quarter, but the Bearcats missed the extra point which made it 13-6 in favor of USF.
Fellow seniors Julius Forte and DeDe Lattimore collaborated on a defensive touchdown later in the second quarter when Forte forced a fumble near the ten yard line and Lattimore recovered and ran it in to make it 20-6.
It was the third time Forte, a reserve, caused a turnover for USF this year. After two more Kloss field goals, USF owned a 26-6 lead through the end of the third quarter.
Kay found sophomore receiver Chris Moore wide open in the endzone for a touchdown to make it 26 -13.
He then found sophomore receiver Mehale McKay in the middle of the end zone to make it 26-20 with left in the game after an 11-play 78-yard drive.