Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Defense powers Spartans past USF Bulls

EAST LANSING, Mich. — As much as USF's offense had struggled to move the ball Saturday afternoon, the Bulls still found themselves trailing just 7-6 in the third quarter, and at the Michigan State 34-yard line, driving for a potential lead.

Then a microcosm sequence: a dropped pass, a false start, then quarterback Bobby Eveld was blindsided as he threw, and defensive end Shilique Calhoun returned the interception 56 yards for a touchdown.

It was Calhoun's second score off of an Eveld turnover, and Michigan State rode those two defensive scores to a 21-6 win before a crowd of 70,401 at Spartan Stadium.

"That hurt us. We were right there," USF coach Willie Taggart said. "We had the ball, (were) moving the ball, had the chance to change the game and really give our guys some confidence. We didn't take advantage of that opportunity, and we have to do that as a football team."

USF (0-2) showed vast improvement on defense from last week's 53-21 loss to McNeese State, but the offense — 155 yards Saturday, with two total red-zone appearances in two games — has a long way to go.

Eveld faced constant pressure and his statistics showed it as he finished 6-for-25 for 66 yards.

The Bulls went 1-for-13 on third downs, but Taggart focused his disappointment on everything around his senior quarterback.

"Six-for-25 wasn't just Bobby," he said. "Pressure on the quarterback had a lot to do with it. Bobby can't throw the ball when he's on his back. He can't complete passes when you drop the ball. It's a combined effort. Bobby's going to play well when his teammates play well."

Defensively, the Bulls were worlds better than last week's 53-21 loss to I-AA McNeese State, not allowing an offensive point until the fourth quarter, when a 15-yard punt set the Spartans up for a 33-yard touchdown drive.

"All the guys stayed positive and stayed together," said senior linebacker DeDe Lattimore, who had a career-best 15 tackles.

Down 7-3 with 13 seconds before half, facing third and goal at the 7, Taggart called for a Marcus Shaw run, which got to the 2. Rather than gamble for a go-ahead touchdown on fourth down, USF took a 21-yard field goal, trailing 7-6 at the half.

"Even if it doesn't reflect your play, you're still going to blame yourself," Eveld said of the offensive woes. "I feel I could have done a lot more to help us. … I didn't get the job done."

Eveld didn't learn until Saturday morning that he was starting over sophomore Matt Floyd, who threw two interceptions in last week's loss. Taggart said he intends to stick with Eveld, barring a bad week of practice.

"I personally don't think Bobby did anything to hurt us," Taggart said. "You're talking about turnovers. He got hit in the back."

Michigan State's first touchdown came when Eveld was sacked on his 11 and fumbled, and Calhoun scooped up the loose ball at the 4 for an easy touchdown and a 7-0 lead in the second quarter. Opposing defenses have three touchdowns on Bulls turnovers, as many as the Bulls have scored in their two games.

USF's only consistent play on offense came from Shaw's 94 yards on 23 carries. Michigan State (2-0) had allowed 11 rushing yards on 27 carries in its opening win against Western Michigan.

Taggart was frustrated by eight penalties for 55 yards, sapping momentum with timely flags.

"We didn't improve offensively," Taggart said. "I thought defensively and on special teams we did. We knew we were going against a good defense, but I still think we could execute a lot better."

The Bulls now return home for what should be a winnable game against Florida Atlantic, which has been outscored 65-19 in losses to Miami and East Carolina.

Greg Auman can be reached at [email protected]

Defense powers Spartans past USF Bulls 09/07/13 [Last modified: Saturday, September 7, 2013 9:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Cubs down Dodgers 3-2; force NLCS Game 5 Thursday

    Ml

    CHICAGO — Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, former Ray Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

  2. Bucs' Vernon Hargreaves: 'I'm not making any plays'

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Eli Manning gathered his receivers together on the sideline during the Giants' Week 4 game against the Bucs and told them he planned to target the weakest link of the secondary all afternoon.

    Patriots receiver Chris Hogan gets position in front of Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves for a 5-yard touchdown pass in New England’s win on Oct. 5.
  3. Lightning's J.T. Brown to stop anthem protest, focus on community involvement

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lightning wing J.T. Brown will no longer raise his first as a protest during the national anthem before games.

    J.T. Brown says he will work more with the Tampa police and groups that serve at-risk young people.
  4. Signs point to Jameis Winston dressing vs. Bills

    Sports

    TAMPA — The Bucs didn't sign another quarterback Wednesday, which would suggest they are confident that Jameis Winston can be active as a backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday at Buffalo if he doesn't start.

  5. FSU doesn't feel need for ongoing reminder of last year's beatdown at Louisville

    Sports

    Of course Florida State remembers what happened against Louisville last year. The 63-20 loss was one of the worst defeats in Seminoles history.

    Louisville's Lamar Jackson looks back at the action from the sidelines during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Murray State, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)