Lamar to hospital with chest injury, 4 other injured
TAMPA -- As if taking a sixth consecutive loss weren't problem enough, USF left Saturday night's game with Syracuse with injuries to five key players, potentially impacting the season's final four games.
Most concerning was senior RB Lindsey Lamar, who rushed for a career-high 145 yards but had to be taken to Tampa General Hospital with what coach Skip Holtz described as a chest injury. Holtz did not know the extent of Lamar's injury, but said he was "definitely concerned" and that Lamar had issues with his breathing before leaving the stadium.
Lamar wasn't alone -- senior TE Evan Landi missed most of the game with an ankle injury, junior WR Derrick Hopkins was on crutches after taking a hit to his left knee in the first half, junior DE Ryne Giddins aggravated a shoulder injury and senior OG Danous Estenor left the game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.
"It was costly from an injury standpoint," Holtz said. "As disappointed and hurt as everybody is right now with the loss, my thoughts and prayers are definitely with Lindsey Lamar that he is OK."
KICKING STRONG: After hitting six field goals on eight attempts in USF's first seven games, senior PK Maikon Bonani set a school record with five field goals, including a season-long 47-yarder in the fourth quarter. Bonani broke the record set three times -- by Steve Riggs in 1997 and twice by Bill Gramatica in 1998 and 2000.
Bonani's field goals reflected the offense's inability to close out drives with touchdowns, however -- the Bulls went 3-for-3 in red-zone scoring, but settled for kicks twice early after getting inside the Syracuse 20.
MILESTONE: With a 19-yard run in the first quarter, USF QB B.J. Daniels became just the third player in Big East history to pass 10,000 yards in career total offense, moving him closer to catching Matt Grothe's conference record.
Daniels, who rushed for 100 yards in the first half and threw for another 62, came in with 9,962, on course to surpass Grothe's record of 10,875 yards, set from 2006-09. The only other player in Big East history to top 10,000 yards was West Virginia quarterback Pat White, who finished his career in 2008 with 10,529.
Daniels had a 53-yard run in the second quarter, a big part of USF's 273 yards of rushing in the opening half, but it wasn't the longest run of Daniels' career. That was a 71-yard carry in last year's win against UTEP.
FIRST STARTS: Two Bulls made their first career starts Saturday, with redshirt freshman Thor Jozwiak getting the nod at left guard and true freshman Eric Lee starting at defensive end. Jozwiak got the start with a strong week of practice, beating out fellow freshman Brynjar Gudmundsson, who played well in relief of injured starter Mark Popek last week.
Lee, with just one tackle all season, earned the starting nod because of a continued lack of production from the Bulls' ends -- junior Ryne Giddins hasn't had a sack since the opening quarter of the season. Lee made good on the coaches' decision, with six tackles, most of any Bulls defensive lineman.
THIS AND THAT: USF's revolving door at punt returner continued, as receiver Andre Davis muffed a second-quarter punt but recovered the loose ball. The Bulls then sent out receiver Terrence Mitchell, who started the year with the job but lost it after misplaying three kicks. ... Linebacker Reshard Cliett continued his strong play with 11 tackles and the team's only sack. Senior cornerback Kayvon Webster led the team with 12 tackles.