TAMPA, FLA— South Florida defense pushed the Bulldogs offense to the limits forcing a game-high eight turnovers, which resulted in a 55-16 victory over South Carolina State Saturday at Raymond James Stadium.
South Florida set a school record forcing five fumbles and three interceptions on the day.
“It’s tough when you turn the football over as many times as we did tonight,” said head coach Buddy Pough. “We made a lot of mental errors that resulted in South Florida taking advantage of our mistakes which resulted in a win for them.”
“We have to fix whatever the problem is and get things back on track and be ready for conference play in a few weeks,” Pough noted.
SC State jumped on the board first on a 25-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Dillon Bredesen at the 7:15 mark in the first quarter. The Bulls responded with a 42-yard bomb from Jordan McCloud to Johnny Ford to give USF a 7-3 lead with 5:05 remaining in the quarter.
South Florida dominated the second quarter scoring 17 unanswered points on the Bulldog defense. Junior kicker Coby Weiss got things rolling for the Bulls on a 20-yard field goal at the 14:16 mark to push the lead 10-3.
A Jordan McCloud 20-yard connection to senior tight end Mitchell Wilcox gave USF a 17-3 advantage with 9:22 remaining in the quarter. The Bulldogs showed some momentum moving the football putting SCSU in scoring position at the USF 1-yard. One of five costly fumbles gave the Bulls the football back with 3:50 left in intermission.
McCloud and USF showed no signs of slowing down driving the football 80 yards on 11 plays for a 9-yard scamper to close out the first half, 24-3.
The second half belonged to South Florida controlling the tempo on offense extending their lead to 41-9 off a 32-yard run by Johnny Ford, followed by a 34-yard field goal by Shrader and a 10-yard pass from McCloud to Wilcox with 2:12 left in the third quarter. Junior running back Datron James gave the Bulldogs their only rushing touchdown with an 8-yard punch in the middle of the third.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Corey Fields who played a majority of the second half finished 9-of-18-2 for 145-yards, including a 34-yard touchdown strike to senior wide receiver Demontrez Burroughs late in the fourth quarter to put South Carolina State back on the board.
Junior quarterback Tyrece Nick threw 9-of-24 for 138-yards, while Burroughs caught five passes for 74-yards. Redshirt freshman linebacker BJ Davis spearheaded the defense with eight tackles and two tackles for loss on the night.
South Carolina State will have two weeks off before returning to action on Oct. 15th on the road against Delaware State in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener in Dover, DE.
Courtesy: SCSU Athletics