USF Bulls Hold off UConn Huskies


Sep 19, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; South Florida Bulls wide receiver Rodney Adams (87) scores a touchdown during the first half against the Connecticut Huskies at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The USF Bulls dominated from the get-go but only just managed to hold off the UConn Huskies 17-14 Friday night in torrential rain at Raymond James Stadium.

A late 32-yard touchdown strike from Chandler Whitmer to Geremy Davis got the Huskies (1-3) within a field goal but the Bulls (2-2) managed to recover the onside kick before taking a knee to close out the win.

Despite a close scoreline, USF dominated the Huskies from the first snap. On UConn’s first drive, USF corner Chris Dunkley hit Whitmer in the back causing a fumble, that Dunkley would also recover.

Four runs later by Marlon Mack and the Bulls were ahead 7-0 as he scampered in from a yard out.

After forcing a three and out, USF scored on their second straight drive as Mike White hit Rodney Adams for a 30-yard touchdown with 3:24 left in the first quarter on fourth down.

USF were on their way to adding more points to close out the first half but White’s pass to Adams went through his arms and was intercepted by Byron Jones and returned 70 yards for a touchdown with five seconds left in the half.

Sep 19, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; South Florida Bulls defensive back Chris Dunkley (1) points as he runs back a punt during the first half against the Connecticut Huskies at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It appeared as though Jones may have stepped out of bounds as White attempted to tackle him but there was no concrete evidence to overturn the call so the play stood.

In the first half, UConn had one first down, 28 yards of offense and didn’t complete a pass.

UConn finally had their first completion with 5:30 left in what was a scoreless third quarter.

USF kicker Marvin Kloss added an insurance field goal with 6:03 left in the game, that ultimately proved to be the game winner, after the Bulls failed to run it in from less than five yards out.

White finished the game 10-of-18 for 113 yards with a touchdown and interception. He had great protection all night long as the Bulls offensive line, which featured a returning Thor Jozwiak, gave White time to go through his reads in the pocket.

Mack tallied 103 yards on 31 carries while D’Ernest Johnson added 41 rushing yards and Darius Tice 28.

Adams had a game high 68 receiving yards as USF held possession for a whooping 38:32.

USF put up 271 yards of offense compared to UConn’s 132. However, 75 of those yards came on their final scoring drive.
Whitmer was held to 6-of-9 passing for 88 yards while UConn had 44 rushing yards on 27 attempts.

Both team’s primarily rushed the football due to the wet conditions with UConn regularly for playing field position rather than risk throwing the football.

USF’s defense was dominant as they gave up just six first downs while not allowing the Huskies to convert any of their nine third down chances. Safety Jamie Byrd had a team high six tackles while Nigel Harris had five as well as two tackles for loss. Derri Calloway had the Bulls other sack in the game and he too had two tackles for loss. In total, the Bulls defense had eight tackles for loss.

The Bulls also got strong performances from Tashon Whitehurst and Nate Godwin, both of whom had four tackles and a tackle for loss.

The Bulls are on the road next Saturday when they face Wisconsin.