The USF defense provided six turnovers in a 24-17 defeat against the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday at Raymond James Stadium.
The Terrapins (2-0) scored two touchdowns in the first quarter, but were held scoreless throughout the next two.
In a game that was almost completely controlled by the USF defense, the offense struggled to put points on the board. A 15-yard scramble by junior quarterback Steven Bench was the only offensive touchdown for the Bulls in the game.
Bench entered the game for USF (1-1) after the first play of the game.
“An old cliche came true: if you’re not starting, you’re getting ready for that second play,” Bench said.
Sophomore quarterback Mike White completed a pass for 12 yards on the first play, but went down awkwardly on his left arm. White was pulled from the game and coach Willie Taggart confirmed he will not play next week.
“I don’t know how long he’s out,” Taggart said. “We have to get x-rays, but he possibly has a fractured forearm.”
Bench had a difficult time running the offense after being thrown into the game after a single play. He managed only 21 passing yards in the first quarter on 2-for-8 passing.
However, Bench found his rhythm in the second quarter and helped the Bulls take a 17-14 lead shortly before halftime on a field goal from senior Marvin Kloss.
But even with the heroics of the defense and Bench’s play, USF was unable to hold onto the lead.
After the crowd-deflating blocked punt, the Bulls’ had three drives to tie or win the game, but were unable to record a first down for the rest of the game.
USF nearly completed its second win of the season, but a battered offensive unit and a sloppy fourth quarter allowed the Terrapins to seize control.
“We have to find ways to execute and make plays when they’re there,” Taggart said. “Another step for our football team is learning how to step on their throat when we have them down. We had a great opportunity against a Big Ten school and we let it get by.”