USF Bulls Fall to Maryland


Sep 6, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; South Florida Bulls wide receiver Rodney Adams (87) runs with the ball during the first half against the Maryland Terrapins at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The USF Bulls narrowly fell to the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday afternoon, 24-17.

Maryland (2-0) scored the go ahead touchdown with 12:25 left as Mattias Ciabatti’s punt was blocked and recovered by Avery Johnson in the end zone.

The Bulls (1-1) forced six turnovers but couldn’t put up points with regularity.

To make matters worst, the Bulls lost starting quarterback Mike White for the game to a left forearm injury on the first play after a 12-yard completion to tight end Sean Price.

Steven Bench took over and played pretty well in relief. He went 14-of-36 for 164 yards with one interception, which came late in the fourth quarter. He scored the lone Bulls offensive touchdown as he scampered in from 15 yards in the second quarter.

Bench connected with receiver Rodney Adams four times for 56 yards while Mike McFarland caught four passes for 55 yards. Star receiver Andre Davis was inactive after suffering an injury in last week’s win over Western Carolina.

Marlon Mack, who had 275 rushing yards last week, was held to 73 yards on 22 carries. USF were successful on third down as they converted 9 of 21 times but went 0-for-2 on fourth down.

USF’s defense started off very well. Johnny Ward got things started with an interception on Maryland’s first drive and on their second drive, Jamie Byrd recovered a Brandon Moss fumble.

Then with four minutes left in the first quarter, and trailing 7-0, Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown fumbled and freshman linebacker Auggie Sanchez scooped up the loose ball and returned it 21-yards for the touchdown. However, USF gave the lead right back as receiver Marcus Leak outran the Bulls defense for a 44-yard touchdown.

But USF’s defense forced another fumble as Derrick Calloway forced Moss to cough the football up in the second quarter and Ward recovered it.

After Bench’s touchdown run, the Bulls got the lead going into half time as kicker Marvin Kloss connected on a 34-yard field goal.

The third quarter was scoreless but Maryland took the lead on the blocked punt with 12:25 left.

Maryland would make it a seven-point game with 5:16 left thanks to a Brad Craddock field goal. Once again, the Bulls defense kept the team in the game as they forced that field goal despite Maryland starting with a 1st-and-goal from the 1-yard line.

On the first play of the next drive, Bench threw an interception and the Bulls never really got close again, despite forcing a sixth turnover.

The Bulls special teams was a large part of their demise. Along with the blocked punt, the Bulls also had another field goal attempt fail due to a poor snap, while Kloss missed a 54-yard attempt.

USF had three sacks and held the Terps to 117 yards rushing on 38 carries.

Brown threw for 203 yards on 17-of-28 passing with the two touchdowns to Leak but for the most part the Bulls secondary played very well. Maryland did convert 8-of-14 third down conversions though.

USF host N.C. State next Saturday.