By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Bulls were ready to start the second half of the season
off in strong fashion and almost pulled off a stunner at Louisville on Saturday
B.J. Daniels’ go-ahead 12-yard touchdown pass to Andre Davis helped USF erase
an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter, but the Bulls couldn’t hold on in a
27-25 loss to the No. 16 Cardinals. Teddy Bridgewater’s 11-yard touchdown pass
to Eli Rogers gave the Cardinals a 27-25 lead with 1:35 to play, sending the
Bulls to their fifth straight loss.
Davis caught a pair of touchdown passes, while freshman tight end Sean Price
caught another important scoring reception in the fourth quarter for USF (2-5,
Senior Lindsey Lamar led a strong USF rushing attack with 15 carries for 110
yards. The Bulls rushed for 197 yards as a team in the first game since
regrouping during a bye week.
Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater continued his superb season by
completing 21 of 25 passes for 256 yards and two scores. Bridgewater added a
team-leading 74 rushing yards on 10 carries.
The Bulls grabbed a 3-0 lead on the game’s opening drive after moving the ball
with a combination of big plays. Daniels, Marcus Shaw and Lamar each rushed for
10-plus yard gains, and Derrick Hopkins came down with a 27-yard catch that got
the Bulls into Louisville territory. Maikon Bonani capped off the drive with a
36-yard field goal.
USF kept Louisville off the scoreboard in the first quarter, making the second
time the Bulls have accomplished the feat this season. The Cardinals opened the
second quarter on the USF 1 and Senorise Perry just got enough on fourth down
to help give Louisville a 7-3 advantage.
The Cardinals (7-0, 2-0) started to get rolling near the end of the half when
Jeremy Wright ran 11 yards into the end zone with 3:38 to go before the break.
The scoring play belonged to a running back, but the drive – and first half-
was all about Bridgewater. The sophomore completed all 11 of his pass attempts
for 125 yards and led all rushers with four attempts for 48 yards.
Daniels’ half was a different story. The senior completed six of 13 passes for
66 yards and lost a fumble at the Louisville 33 with 17 seconds to go before
Daniels bounced back on the first drive of the second half with a beautifully
thrown 12-yard fade pass to Andre Davis for a touchdown to help cut USF’s
deficit to 14-10. Credit Lamar for getting the Bulls deep into Louisville
territory with two carries for 42 yards.
USF’s momentum was short-lived, however, after Bridgewater drove the Cardinals
65 yards in 2 minutes, 36 seconds and wrapped things up with a 21-yard
touchdown pass to Damian Copeland. Bridgewater has thrown at least one
touchdown pass in seven consecutive games and his toss to Copeland gave the
Cardinals a 21-10 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Bulls went back to Lamar on the ensuing drive and the senior delivered by
rushing five times for 33 yards. Lamar went over the 100-yard mark with a
3-yard carry to the Louisville 1, but USF’s gamble on fourth down fell short
when Daniels was stuffed at the goal line on a QB keeper. The drive also proved
to be costly from a depth standpoint when Hopkins absorbed a head-to-head hit
that resulted in 15-yard penalty to put USF inside the Cardinals’ red zone.
Daniels continued his strong second half by getting USF closer in the fourth
quarter when he hooked up with Price for a 13-yard touchdown with 8:02 to play.
Demetris Murray’ two-point conversion run cut the Bulls’ deficit to 21-18. The
drive included a 17-yard pass to Price on a fourth-and-8 from the Louisville
Louisville was forced to punt on the ensuing drive and a short kick, plus a
penalty set the Bulls up at the Cardinals’ 49 with 6:35 to play. Again in a red
zone chance, Daniels went with a fade pass to Davis, who outjumped a defender
for a 12-yard touchdown to help give the Bulls a 25-21 lead with 3:09 remaining
in the game.
USF returns home to host Syracuse on Saturday, Oct. 27 at Raymond James
Stadium. Kickoff is set for a 7 p.m. start in the Bulls’ first home game since