TAMPA — One sign that USF didn't have a good first quarter on Saturday night? QB Matt Floyd was listed among the top tacklers with two.
The Bulls had hoped to see progress from the redshirt freshman in his third game stepping in for the injured B.J. Daniels. But he took a step back with three turnovers during the opening 10 minutes of a 27-3 loss to Pittsburgh.
On the Bulls' third offensive play, Floyd's pass went off WR Andre Davis' hands and was intercepted by S Jason Hendricks.
That set up the Panthers at the Bulls 21, and they eventually scored on Ray Graham's 1-yard run for a 7-0 lead. It was a sign of things to come.
Floyd marched the Bulls to the Panthers 5 on the next drive. But on third and goal, LB Todd Thomas intercepted him. Only Floyd's hustle and tackle prevented a touchdown.
On the Bulls' next offensive play, Floyd was sacked and the ball was knocked loose. Pittsburgh recovered at the USF 23, setting up Kevin Harper's 25-yard field goal that gave it a 10-0 lead.
Floyd added a third interception, by CB K'Waun Williams, on a deep pass during the third quarter. He finished 12-of-24 for 93 yards and threw five interceptions over the three games while neither running nor throwing for a touchdown.
SENDING THEM OFF: USF paid tribute to its 25 seniors before the game, including five bay area high school graduates: RB Lindsey Lamar (Hillsborough), FB Chris Breit (Plant), walk-on FB Spencer Cavalieri (Gaither), OT Mark Popek (Plant City) and TE Andreas Shields (Wharton).
SPARSE CROWD: USF's final home crowd of the season was announced as 35,141, the lowest of the season, down about 1,000 from its last home game against Connecticut four weeks ago. But the actual attendance was just 18,841, again down from an actual crowd of 20,665 vs. UConn.
MIMS MISSED: Junior DE Tevin Mims, who had started the first 11 games, missed the game to attend the funeral of a family friend he grew up with who died this week. Junior Ryne Giddins started in his place.
FIVE STRAIGHT: Pitt is heading to the ACC after this season, and the Panthers leave with a five-game win streak against the Bulls, the first opponent ever to do so. Cincinnati and Rutgers beat the Bulls four times in a row from 2006-09.
A BIG RETURN: USF had its best success of the season on kickoff returns, Marcus Shaw getting a 48-yarder in the first quarter. The Bulls still struggled on punt returns, giving WR Victor Marc a try but watching him not field two punts that were downed at the USF 2.