Goal-line stands key to USF win in Miami
TAMPA -- Much of the focus after USF's 23-20 overtime win at Miami was on true freshman quarterback Bobby Eveld, but the Bulls' defense also stepped up against the Hurricanes, particularly when backed up to its own 1-yard line.
Miami's offense had five downs from the USF 1 and came away with three points, with a third-down fumble into the end zone for a touchback and another late drive that settled for a field goal.
"The red zone was definitely the difference in this game, the way the defense was able to step up and keep them out of the end zone down there a couple of times," coach Skip Holtz said Sunday night.
Defensive coordinator Mark Snyder -- who got a similar stand on a fourth-and-1 in overtime against Louisville two weeks earlier -- said the goal-line play was as much about attitude from his players.
"Huge building tool," Snyder said. "The really good teams I've been around have that signature stop somewhere in the season. You start to gain belief, and it's carrying over each week. It doesn't matter if the ball's this close to the goal line."
RARE FEAT: For Eveld to go into Miami and lead USF to victory as a freshman isn't something that happens often -- Clemson's Kyle Parker did so last season (in overtime as well) as a redshirt freshman. Before that, however, it had been 12 years since another freshman did so before Parker. The last time was Arizona State's Ryan Kealy, another redshirt freshman, who led the Sun Devils to a 23-12 win at Miami early in the 1997 season.
INJURY UPDATE: Several key players injured during Saturday's win were held out of Sunday's practice, but Holtz said he's confident they'll be able to play in Saturday's regular-season finale against Connecticut.
Cornerbacks Mistral Raymond (Achilles) and Kayvon Webster (undisclosed) didn't practice Sunday, nor did linebacker Sabbath Joseph. Quarterback B.J. Daniels (quad) did not practice, leaving his availability for Saturday uncertain, and while center Sampson Genus (back) and receiver Lindsey Lamar (shoulder) didn't practice, Holtz said he expects them to play.