Notes: Option fumble evoked Voodoo memories
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. -- The two words that might bring out the worst in superstitious Bulls fans are a reference to the name of a botched trick play in the fourth quarter of USF's 2005 loss at Rentschler Field.
"Voodoo Five" was an ill-fated call on fourth and goal from the Connecticut 6-yard line as USF trailed 15-10 -- after a false start from the 1-yard line, receiver Courtney Denson was dropped for a 13-yard loss and the Huskies escaped with a victory. There's a USF blog named after the play, and if you don't believe there's a curse surrounding it, consider a few things from Saturday's similarly-scored 16-10 loss, which was USF's fourth straight at Rentschler.
On the first play of the second quarter -- the field had flipped a play after Marcus Shaw took a kickoff 79 yards away from that end zone -- the Bulls were on the 7-yard line, threatening to take the field when quarterback B.J. Daniels, running the option left, pitched the ball behind running back Joel Miller, and Connecticut's Dwayne Gratz recovered the live ball for the Huskies.
If that wasn't enough voodoo, USF's two field goal attempts toward that end zone, into a heavy wind, were missed. Maikon Bonani missed on a 46-yard attempt short, then on a 44-yard attempt wide left.
"We had asked before the game what was his distance into the wind, and he said 46," coach Skip Holtz said. "We were right at 46. Maybe it was 45 and we were a yard off. It was right there."
LONG WHILE: When Daniels was intercepted by UConn's Ty-Meer Brown in the second quarter, it ended a streak of 129 consecutive passes without a pick, the second-longest such streak in USF history. Daniels, who entered the game with just one interception this season, fell short of the USF record of 235, set by Marquel Blackwell in 2001.
GO FIGURE: For the last five meetings in this series, the team with fewer yards has won -- USF held UConn to 232 yards last year, and the last time the Bulls won, in 2008, the Huskies outgained the Bulls 258-247.
THIS AND THAT: Freshman defensive tackle Elkino Watson earned his first career start, but after totaling 26 tackles in the first five games, finished without a tackle Saturday. ... Junior Victor Marc is now second on the team in receptions with 15, having caught five passes for 50 yards Saturday. ... UConn improves to 7-1 in Big East home openers with Saturday's win. ... It's the second year in a row the Huskies beat USF without scoring an offensive touchdown, and the third time in five years they've scored a defensive touchdown against the Bulls.
Times writer Greg Auman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (813) 226-3346. Check out his tampabay.com/blogs/bulls and follow him at Twitter.com/gregauman.