Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF Bulls defense keys win over Rutgers with several big plays in second half

USF linebacker Jacquian Williams sacks Chas Dodd on fourth and 3 from the USF 41 with 3:47 remaining to effectively seal the win.


USF linebacker Jacquian Williams sacks Chas Dodd on fourth and 3 from the USF 41 with 3:47 remaining to effectively seal the win.

TAMPA — USF senior outside linebacker Jacquian Williams' eyes got wide as he saw the Rutgers offensive line open up like a highway.

"Happiest day of my life — happiest day of my life," he said of the moment.

From there, he did the rest.

Rutgers, trailing 28-27 with less than four minutes left, had fourth and 3 on the USF 41, and in a game-changing moment Williams burst through the line, grabbed freshman quarterback Chas Dodd and threw him to the ground.

An 8-yard sack. A victory sealed.

It was one of many big-time plays the Bulls got from their defense in the second half of a much-needed win Wednesday night at Raymond James Stadium.

"You have to trust your defense, and those guys are doing a great job of keeping the ball in front of them, rallying, tackling, competing together," coach Skip Holtz said.

The way the first half went, it seemed as if the first team that got a defensive stop would have the best chance at winning. Not only did defensive coordinator Mark Snyder's unit give him stops, holding the Scarlet Knights to 96 yards in the second half, it got points, too.

With USF trailing 24-20 late in the third quarter, backup defensive tackle Keith McCaskill made the biggest play of his career, staying on his assignment on a screen play to running back Kordell Young on third and 21 from the 4. McCaskill read the screen and brought Young down in the end zone for a safety.

But USF quarterback B.J. Daniels threw an interception deep in his territory on the next drive, and the Bulls were forced to make another stop on short notice. They held Rutgers to a field goal, and USF scored the winning touchdown the next possession.

"Finish strong has always been the slogan here on our defense and our team as a whole," senior safety Mistral Raymond said. "When that time comes and when you're out there on that field, you want to be clutch, and you want to seal that win."

With returners making big plays and offenses clicking in the first half, the teams combined for 34 points. After Mason Robinson's 60-yard punt return for a touchdown, Rutgers' offense, led by an effective wildcat formation, scored on three consecutive possessions, including a nine-play, 74-yard drive for a 24-17 lead with 4:16 left in the third quarter.

That would be the last touchdown of the game for the Scarlet Knights as USF's defense made adjustments and responded with a three-and-out on the next drive.

For the second week in a row, Williams, who had 11 tackles and 11/2 sacks, was involved in big plays in the final moments. Last week, he forced an errant throw by Cincinnati quarterback Chazz Anderson to seal a road victory.

"Big-time players make big-time plays," he said.

USF Bulls defense keys win over Rutgers with several big plays in second half 11/03/10 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 12:10am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Anthem protest, the latest: Jerry Jones joins Cowboys on field in show of solidarity


    As President Donald Trump continued tweeting Monday about his displeasure with NFL players for staging demonstrations during the national anthem, the Cowboys took a knee on the field just before the anthem was performed on Monday Night Football. Dallas players were joined by owner Jerry Jones, and they quickly …

    Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, center, joins the team in taking a knee before the national anthem Monday night. They stood and linked arms for the anthem.
  2. Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says players who kneel have team's support


    TAMPA — Receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson were the only Bucs players kneeling during the national anthem before Sunday's game against the Vikings, but DT Gerald McCoy said the team supports their protest "100 percent."

    Bucs tight end Cameron Brate pulls in a touchdown catch as Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo (34) hits him in the back of the head.
  3. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  4. Luke Del Rio regains UF starting job, for now


    GAINESVILLE — Luke Del Rio is once again the starting quarterback for No. 21 Florida.

    Luke Del Rio provided a needed spark when he replaced starter Feleipe Franks and rallied Florida past Kentucky.
  5. Four questions the Lightning still has to answer

    Lightning Strikes

    FORT LAUDERDALE — The Lightning made its biggest round of cuts Monday, with some of the big-name prospects heading out.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos (91) looks on from the bench during a shift change at Lightning hockey training camp in Brandon on Monday (09/18/17). In background on right is Nikita Kucherov (86). DIRK SHADD   |   Times