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USF defense improves in final spring scrimmage



Here's our story on USF's spring game Saturday night, from Times correspondent Ian Lanphier. ...


TAMPA -- As bad as things were for USF's defense last week in the team's second scrimmage, it played that much better in the final one of the spring.

After surrendering 10 touchdowns and 550 passing yards in the Green and Gold Bowl, the defense cut those numbers down to five touchdowns and 394 passing yards in a surprisingly rain-free Spring Game at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday night.

Led by an energetic front four that put pressure on starting quarterback B.J. Daniels all night, the unit came out motivated after the embarrassment it suffered last week.

Junior defensive end Ryne Giddins had three sacks and brought pressure that forced Daniels, who went just 9-of-26 for 88 yards, into a number of rushed throws. Daniels also committed a safety when he was called for intentional grounding in the end zone in the first half.

While it was far from perfect -- the defense dropped a handful of interceptions and couldn't come up with multiple fumbles -- the unit finally forced a turnover in the fourth quarter, when cornerback Joshua Brown made a leaping interception in the end zone on a jump ball that was intended for wide receiver Sterling Griffin. Brown quickly made amends for a dropped interception and a subsequent unsportsmanlike conduct penalty he drew after he kicked the ball out of frustration.

"I think we did outstanding," Giddins said, "but we have got to eliminate dumb penalties. We dropped the interception and kicked the ball. We can't do stuff like that.That's why we lose games."

Bulls coach Skip Holtz was impressed with three young members of his secondary, including redshirt freshman cornerback Kenneth Durden, who returned a bad snap on a field goal 59 yards for a score.

"I think the emergence of those three corners (Brown, Durden and Fidel Montgomery), to add them to the mix with George Baker and Kayvon Webster ... creates not just one or two guys who can run, but really looking at a top five and having a lot of depth with the twos and threes out there," Holtz said.

On offense, backup quarterbacks Matt Floyd and Bobby Eveld outplayed Daniels. Floyd went 14-of-27 for 170 yards and an interception, while Eveld, who was 12-of-19 for 136 yards, threw the only touchdown pass of the night, a 4-yard slant to Griffin in the fourth quarter.

Running back Marcus Shaw had arguably the most impressive night of anyone on offense, with 13 carries for 61 yards and two short touchdown runs. Receiver Andre Davis, who had a great showing at the previous scrimmage, made the big play of the night on a 41 -yard catch along the left sideline while he was being interfered with by safety Tre Griffin.

[Last modified: Sunday, April 22, 2012 2:42pm]


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