TAMPA — Facing third and 3 at the Connecticut 25-yard line with the score tied early in the fourth quarter, given a timeout from the Huskies defense, USF offensive coordinator Greg Gregory needed to call a winning play.
He got just that in a counter running play to RB Jamar Taylor, who had totaled just 43 rushing yards in the past six games, limited by an ankle injury.
Taylor ran right, got great blocks from TE Cedric Hill and Gs Matt Huners and Zach Hermann, then cut back to the middle. A downfield block by T Marc Dile set him free for a 25-yard touchdown that was the deciding score in a 17-13 win.
"I felt like our tendency in the past had been to throw the ball in those situations, and I'd come into this game saying we were going to run the ball," Gregory said. "I think Jamar's an outstanding runner, and I wanted the ball in his hands."
Taylor ran the same play for a 13-yard touchdown to give USF the lead in the third quarter in a win over Kansas in September.
"The senior offensive line, they were real pumped up for this game, and they gave me a real, real big hole to run through," Taylor said.
Bogan honored: WR Dontavia Bogan, who returned two kickoffs for 135 yards Sunday, was named Big East special teams player of the week.
Bogan, whose 64-yard return set up the first touchdown, set the Bulls' single-season records for kickoff returns (25) and kickoff return yards (652).
LB Tyrone McKenzie, who had 16 tackles including three for losses, was named to the conference honor roll for the week.
Sparse, again: For the second week in a row, the actual attendance at a Bulls home game was significantly less than the season-low announced attendance. Sunday's game, announced at 42,422, had an actual attendance of 26,677, the Tampa Sports Authority said.
Eight days earlier, the Bulls had an announced attendance of 47,216 against Rutgers, based on tickets distributed, but the actual attendance was 33,484. Between the two games, there's a difference of 29,477 fans — nearly a third of the total announced attendance wasn't there.
After drawing an announced average of 53,170 fans in 2007, that number falls to 49,690 this year — a drop of 6.5 percent, which isn't altogether surprising given the economy and USF's dropoff with four losses in five games. The average actual attendance this year — 37,595 — is down 16.5 percent from last year, when the actual average was 45,033.
Waiting: The kickoff time for USF-West Virginia on Dec. 6 will be set after Saturday's games. Starting time will be noon or 8 p.m., on ESPN2 or ESPN.
Greg Auman can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/usf.