Friday, April 20, 2018
Colleges

This time, USF Bulls offense fails in late going

TAMPA — The offense that scored two touchdowns in the final three minutes against Nevada on Saturday was nowhere to be found late in Thursday night's 23-13 loss to Rutgers.

B.J. Daniels went 2-of-8 on the final three drives. One completion — and the Bulls' only first down — came on the game's final play

Tied at 13 in the fourth quarter, USF had 6:33 to orchestrate a drive that would put it ahead. Three incompletions and 27 seconds later, Rutgers was back on offense. A three-minute drive was capped by Kyle Federico's 22-yard field goal that put the Scarlet Knights ahead.

The Bulls then had 2:48 to tie or take the lead.

Starting on the Rutgers 40-yard line after Federico sent the kickoff out of bounds, USF again failed to get a first down. Daniels threw four times, completing one. On fourth down, he felt pressure, left the pocket and threw beyond Terrence Mitchell.

Offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said USF's inability to run the ball consistently led to the pass-heavy final drives.

"We had not had a consistent running game, so we wanted to throw some controlled passes," said Fitch, whose offense was outrushed 147-95. "We had some flushouts on (the second-to-last) series and just didn't have time to execute the play properly."

Daniels agreed the lack of a running game made things much easier for Rutgers.

"It kind of makes us one-sided," said Daniels, who was 15-of-33 for 242 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions and ran 15 times for 68 yards. "We're not able to do all of what we do."

In addition to the rushing-yard advantage, Rutgers held the ball for 38:34 compared with USF's 21:26. Mitchell fumbled a punt return to contribute to the disparity.

Overall, coach Skip Holtz said Rutgers' ability to collapse the pocket made things too difficult for Daniels.

"They blitzed us. There was a little bit of pressure," he said.

"We didn't execute down the stretch."

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