Monday, November 24, 2008

Bulls Hold On Against UConn to Snap Skid

By JC De La Torre

The USF Bulls will be watching with the rest of the country when the better teams take the field on New Year's Day, but they moved a step closer to going bowling themselves with a big victory over the UConn Huskies 17-13 to improve to 7-4 on the season, snapping a four game skid and finally getting their second conference victory of the season during the school's first ever Sunday contest.

In the process, the Bulls contained the nation's leading rusher, Donald Brown, holding him to 96 yds on 28 carries, his lowest average of the season (3.4 yds per carry) and no scores.

Things started out well for USF as Dontavia Bogan took the opening kickoff 64 yds to the UConn 30 yd line. From there, QB Matt Grothe drove the Bulls down to the 3 yd line where Benjamin Williams cashed it in for a 3 yd score and a quick 7-0 lead. South Florida would extend its lead in the second quarter, capping an 11 play 73 yd drive with a 29 yd Maikon Bonani 29 field goal. The score was set up by a nice 32 yd Grothe to Mark Edwards pass to the UConn 13 yd line.

UConn would get on the board after stopping the Bulls on a 4th and 1 at their own 45 yard line (why the Bulls went for it in that situation remains a mystery), as the Huskies pounded Tyler Lorenzen and Donald Brown all the way to the USF 4 yd line before settling for a 21 yd Dave Teggart field goal with 0:28 left in the half. After two quarters of play, USF led 10-3.

UConn would tie the game on a brilliant 12 play 87 yd drive that came mostly on the ground. With a first and 10 at the South Florida 43, the Huskies QB Lorenzen showed he could throw the ball in addition to being a runner, rainbowing the ball 43 yds to Ellis Gaulden for the tying touchdown. USF would go three and out, as would UConn on their next drive. As the 3rd quarter expired, UConn punter Desi Cullen shanked his 4th down punt, having it travel only 24 yds and giving the Bulls a short field at the Connecticut 48.

Grothe would rush three consecutive plays for 17 yds, then hit Jessie Hester for another 6 to the UConn 25. Running back Jamar Taylor would take it from there, slicing 25 yds for the score, giving the Bulls a 17-10 advantage with 12:38 left in the game. UConn would answer with a 47 yd drive, but had to settle for a 35 yd Tegget field goal, cutting the Bulls advantage to 4 with 9:19 left.

After another South Florida 3-and-out, UConn began to march downfield getting all the way to the USF 39 yd line. UConn QB Tyler Lorenzen would attempt to run, gaining 8 yds before fumbling, allowing the Bulls to hold on to the lead with 5:38 left to play. UConn would get one more shot late, but failed to convert a 4th and 20, allowing South Florida to run out the clock.

The Bulls victory keeps their bowl hopes very much alive. Right now South Florida has been mentioned for the Texas Bowl and Meineke Car Care Bowl as potential post-season destinations, although a strong finish by the Bulls could garner them consideration for something a little more prominent.

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