USF loses three straight, falls to Cincinnati in heartbreaker, 37-34

As originally posted here.

The Cincinnati Bearcats overcame a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter handing the USF Bulls their third straight Big East Conference loss, 37-34, during homecoming week. Bearcats quarterback Zach Collaros ran for the go-ahead 2-yard score with 12 seconds left to play.

“It went all down to the wire,” said head coach Skip Holtz. “I said earlier in the week, it’s almost eerie how similar these two teams are. We look at quarterbacks, the style of offense play and total yards. There were so many similar things in this game. I give Cincinnati a lot of credit. They made the plays they had to going down the stretch with the touchdown reception there.”

Collaros accounted for five of the six scoring plays, throwing for three touchdowns and running in for two passing for 389 yards and running for 21 yards. Bearcats running back Isaiah Pead ran for 79 yards from 22 carries.

Bulls quarterback B.J. Daniels threw for 409 yards completing 31 out of 47 passes and three scores. Daniels also accounted for the bulk of the Bulls’ running game, rushing for 54 yards from 15 carries. Daniels’ 10-yard scoring pass to receiver Andre Davis put the Bulls ahead 34-30 with 1:27 remaining. But it was the defense that could not stop the onslaught from the Bearcats offense and their own defensive miscues from penalties.

“My heart goes out to the players who competed their tails off,” Holtz said. “I said this before, but there is no quit in this football team. They went out and worked extremely hard. They practiced hard all week and I thought they put it out there.”

For the second week in a row, the Bulls were plagued with penalties ruining scoring drives and shorting the field for opposing offenses. The Bulls were penalized 10 times for 109 yards.

“They made plays. They kept plays alive. One of the plays we were in man coverage, the guy squeaks out the backdoor for 30 or 40 yards. It is hard to stay on a guy for that long a time,” said defensive coordinator Mark Snyder. “We had way too many roughing the quarterback calls. We have to look back at the film. Last week there were some good calls, but all I know it has to stop the personal fouls. We made them beat us with the big plays and they did.”

Deonte Welch led all Bulls receivers catching 5 passes for 130 yards. Sterling Griffin contributed 8 catches for 73 yards and a touchdown.

“It was an opportunity for me to step up to make big plays because a few of our receivers were out,” Welch said. “I just played my role in stepping up.”

Andreas Shields and Demetris Murray also contributed to scores.

“Both teams played hard,” said offensive coordinator Todd Fitch. “You hate to come off the short end, but it was a really good college football game. A lot of mistakes were made in the first half by both teams, but a lot of things clicked as well. My heart breaks for the players here.”

Kicker Maikon Bonani was 2-for-2 in field goals, but a botched snap prevented a third. One of the field goals could have been a touchdown before the end of the half when Daniels was stopped for no gain on second-and-goal. The Bulls let the clock run down to three seconds before calling a timeout to kick the game-tying field goal. The game was tied at 10 at the half.

The Bulls will go on another bye week before traveling to Rutgers to face the Scarlet Knights on Nov. 5.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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