USF rushes its way to first win of season against Howard

Sophomore running back Brian Battie posted his third 100-plus-yard game with just seven carries on Saturday against Howard. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

USF football finished off Week 2 rising above Howard 42-20 on Saturday after a difficult game against BYU last week. The Bulls played well offensively with their most trustworthy method being the rushing touchdown.

All six of USF’s (1-1) touchdowns were rushing, the longest going to sophomore running back Brian Battie with a 60-yard rush.

The Bulls showed improvement from last week and held a steadier performance. However, junior quarterback Gerry Bohanon still fails to show the talent he displayed in his time with Baylor.

Howard (0-3) quarterback Quinton Williams outperformed Bohanon throughout the game. Williams completed 28 of 37 passes while Bohanon only completed 17 out of 28.

While at Baylor, Bohanon had a 62.9% completion rate with 2,200 yards and 18 touchdowns over 14 games. In his two games at USF, he has no touchdowns.

After a scoreless first quarter for USF, the Bulls found their momentum toward the end of the second after their second rushing touchdown by junior running back Michel Dukes, putting USF 14-7.

One of the contributing factors to the slow start was the defensive miscues. Coach Jeff Scott felt that if the defense played cleaner, the Bulls would have played a better game.

“Did not feel like we played very well defensively in the first half,” Scott said. “We’re fortunate to get a couple of turnovers, but really we just gave up too many. Many yards on first and second down there in the first half and allowed them to extend drives.”

USF continued to stay assertive against the Bison going into the second half. Dukes carried another ball to the endzone with a 28-yard rush to extend the lead 28-14.

By the fourth quarter, the Bulls were in cruise control. After Battie’s 60-yard rushing touchdown and redshirt freshman K’wan Powell’s 1-yard rushing touchdown, USF put themselves 42-14.

Scott was not only impressed by the Bulls’ comeback but was delighted to see six rushing touchdowns.

“Offensively [we were] really able to run the ball there in the second half,” Scott said. “Just really proud of how our guys responded there in the second half. Really kind of a tale of two halves honestly. Offensively, really pleased, six rushing touchdowns. I think it’s the first time in a long time there, but we really had about four different runners.”

With defense putting the nail in the coffin totaling 49 tackles in the second half, the Bulls held the Bison 42-20 at the end of the game.

Coming off a poor game against BYU, South Florida was in need of not just a win, but a quality win with growth. Scott could see the difference in how the Bulls responded against the Bison in comparison to last week.

“They played very well tonight and they [Howard] gave us a big challenge. I’m just pleased by the way our guys responded whenever they got challenged out there and we were able to go finish the game,” Scott said.

“So we’ll regroup, go back and watch an old video and take some lessons from that and then we gotta get ready for a big one in Gainesville next Saturday.”

USF will play No. 12 UF at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 17. The game will be streamed on the SEC Network and broadcast on Bulls Unlimited.