Turnovers a ‘wake-up call’ for USF

UConn's Obi Melifonwu snags a one-handed interception out of the hands of USF receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling in Saturday's 42-27 win over the Huskies. ORACLE PHOTO/JACOB HOAG

Going into Friday’s AAC East division matchup, USF coach Willie Taggart said his team must protect the football better than they did in a 42-27 win over UConn on Saturday.

Turning the ball over four times to the Huskies, including coughing up the ball on back-to-back drives to begin the second half, led the Bulls (6-1, 3-0) to give up the lead for a second straight week, ultimately coming back to win both times.

“What was a wake-up call was the turnovers we were having,” Taggart said during Monday’s AAC coaches’ teleconference. “That’s something we’re always stressing going into every game is taking care of the football, and we were so careless with it. Again, it was the second week in a row where we had to come back in the ball game…our guys have to be able to go out and play at a high level each and every week.”

Third in the AAC with 14 forced turnovers, Temple (4-3, 2-1) has found success this season when creating opportunities with takeaways, forcing nine turnovers in its four wins.

“We played them last year and lost to them last year, so we know how good they are,” Temple coach Matt Rhule said. “We’re just hopeful to eliminate some of the mistakes from last year and make this a really good football game.”

The Bulls knocked off the Owls 44-23 last year to become bowl eligible in only their second-ever meeting.