Saturday, November 3, 2012
USF ends six-game losing streak
By Andrea Adelson
No fourth-quarter meltdown Saturday night.
Rejoice, South Florida.
The Bulls put together a stellar defensive performance and held on to win a close game, beating UConn 13-6 to snap a six-game losing streak and pick up their first Big East win.
USF got its first two interceptions of the season -- and both came at crucial times in the fourth quarter. Jon Lejiste got the first with 6:27 left in the game. That pick led to a 50-yard field goal from Maikon Bonani to put the Bulls up 13-6.
The second came with UConn threatening to devastate USF in the fourth quarter again. The Huskies drove deep into USF territory, but defensive tackle Elkino Watson batted the ball in the air and came up with the game-saving pick. Watson held onto the ball on the sideline as the offense jogged back onto the field, and you understand why. This win -- and this defensive performance -- were a long time coming for a team many believed would challenge for the Big East title.
In addition to the defensive performance, USF (3-6, 1-4) was able to hang on to win without starting quarterback B.J. Daniels, who was injured following a run earlier in the fourth quarter that gave USF a first-and-goal from the UConn 8. Daniels was helped off the field while putting no weight on his left leg and was later carted off the field to the locker room. He broke his left ankle, and is out for the year.
Matt Floyd came in and could not punch the ball in for a touchdown, but on this night, stringing to together a few field goals late was enough -- because the Huskies are seemingly regressing on offense. Chandler Whitmer was able to make some plays against the shaky USF secondary, but the Huskies (3-6, 0-4) could never string together consistent drives without shooting themselves in the foot. Not only were there turnovers, there were botched snaps and lapses in pass protection. The run game managed a paltry 43 yards.