The excitement surging among the South Florida Bulls after defeating No. 9 Louisville last weekend was not enough to bring them to victory in the Orange Bowl.
South Florida fell to Miami 27-7 in front of 58,308 fans Saturday night. The ‘Canes were able to hold off a young team with upset potential and dominated with a tenacious defense.
After gaining a first down to start the game, the tide turned for the Bulls when quarterback Pat Julmiste was intercepted by defensive back Lovon Ponder. Ponder, in his first start, returned the pick 42 yards into USF territory.
“When that ball was tipped I just thought, ‘I got to get it,'” Ponder said.
Miami quarterback Kyle Wright was sacked on his first play by Patrick St. Louis for a loss of six yards. After an incomplete pass to Greg Olsen in the end zone, Miami was forced to settle for a 33-yard Jon Peattie field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
Andre Hall, a key offensive player at running back for USF, gained 17 yards in two plays on the next drive. A Julmiste pass to Johnny Peyton turned into a forced fumble which was credited to Kelly Jennings. The fumble was recovered on USF’s 39-yard line by Thomas Carroll.
Miami extended its lead to 10-0 as Tyrone Moss, who scored three touchdowns, carried the ball into the end zone and Peattie kicked his 45th career field goal, bringing him to fourth place overall among UM kickers.
The first quarter scoring ended after Devin Hester returned Brandon Baker’s 40-yard punt to the USF 19-yard line. Moss finished the drive in one play, scoring a 19-yard touchdown. Peattie’s extra point made the score 17-0.
The Bulls could not move the ball in the first series of the second quarter and soon gave up possession. Moss and Quadtrine Hill were responsible for moving the ball to the USF 30-yard line. Miami was unable to get into the end zone and Peattie came in to secure a 20-point lead with a 48-yard field goal.
The remainder of the first half was disappointing for both sides. A forced fumble by the Bulls’ Carlton Hill in the end zone prevented Greg Olsen from scoring a touchdown. An interception by UM’s Brandon Meriweather proved futile as the ‘Canes were unable to score before USF answered the interception with one of its own.
After a quiet third quarter for both teams, Moss dove into the end zone on fourth-and-one for a 27-0 advantage. Facing its first shutout loss in school history, South Florida answered Miami’s touchdown with one of its own. USF’s Peyton completed a 14-yard pass on first down and Kyle Bronson’s extra point made the score 27-7.
Despite the win, Miami’s offense is still not content with its performance.
“It’s just upsetting the way we played. It should’ve been 35-0 before they knew what hit them,” said left tackle Eric Winston. “We should be playing like Hurricanes.”
Stacey Arnold can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.