TAMPA — A stated goal of USF coach Skip Holtz heading into Saturday's matchup with Florida A&M was his backups seeing significant playing time.
With the Bulls maintaining a big lead for most of the night, second-teamers got limited reps in the first half before Holtz unloaded his bench to mixed results during USF's 70-17 win.
Holtz has continually said it's crucial the Bulls develop depth to prepare backups in the event of injuries to starters during Big East play.
"We're one play away from those guys being starters," Holtz said.
"So I was really proud with the way they went out there and played … and competed."
Sophomore Bobby Eveld, who went 3-of-11 with an interception last week against Ball State, led one drive late in the first quarter that ended when he was hit as he threw and his pass was intercepted by defensive back Devonta Johnson.
Johnson returned the ball to the USF 7, and the Rattlers scored moments later to make it 21-7.
In the second half, Eveld, who finished 9-of-12 for 95 yards, was intercepted again, this time by linebacker Bobby Jackson in the end zone. He broke through in the fourth quarter, leading the Bulls on a 14-play, 69-yard drive capped by a 2-yard rushing touchdown by third-teamer Marcus Shaw.
"I feel like we made a lot of improvements since last week, and I felt like everyone did a really nice job," Eveld said.
"I felt a lot more calm in this game and poised than I looked last week, and I think I did pretty well."
Deonte Welch, Derrick Hopkins, Ruben Gonzalez and Mike McFarland caught their first career passes.
On defense, freshman tackle Elkino Watson made seven solo tackles, including two for loss. Sophomore end Julius Forte added a sack.