TAMPA — As if taking a sixth consecutive loss weren't problem enough, USF left Saturday night's game with Syracuse with injuries to five key players, potentially impacting the season's final four games.
Most concerning was senior RB Lindsey Lamar, who rushed for a career-high 145 yards but had to be taken to Tampa General Hospital with what coach Skip Holtz called a chest injury. Holtz did not know the extent, but said he was "definitely concerned" and that Lamar had issues with breathing before leaving.
Lamar wasn't alone. Senior TE Evan Landi missed most of the game with an ankle injury, junior WR Derrick Hopkins was on crutches after a hit to his left knee in the first half, junior DE Ryne Giddins aggravated a shoulder injury and senior OG Danous Estenor left the game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.
"It was costly from an injury standpoint," Holtz said. "As disappointed and hurt as everybody is right now with the loss, my thoughts and prayers are definitely with Lindsey Lamar that he is okay."
KICKING STRONG: After hitting six field goals on eight attempts in USF's first seven games, senior K Maikon Bonani set a school record with five field goals, including a season-long 47-yarder in the fourth quarter. Bonani broke the record set by Steve Riggs in 1997 and matched by Bill Gramatica in 1998 and 2000. But Bonani's field goals reflected the offense's inability to close drives with touchdowns — the Bulls went 3-for-3 in red-zone scoring, but settled for kicks twice early after getting inside the Syracuse 20.
MILESTONE: With a 19-yard run in the first quarter, USF QB B.J. Daniels became just the third player in Big East history to pass 10,000 yards in career total offense, moving him closer to catching former teammate Matt Grothe's conference record.
Daniels came in with 9,962, on course to surpass Grothe's record of 10,875 yards, set from 2006-09. The only other Big East player to top 10,000 yards was West Virginia QB Pat White, who finished his career in 2008 with 10,529.
Daniels had a 53-yard run in the second quarter, a big part of USF's 273 yards of rushing in the opening half, but it wasn't his longest. That was a 71-yard carry in last year's win against UTEP.
FIRST STARTS: Two Bulls made their first career starts, redshirt freshman Thor Jozwiak at left guard and freshman Eric Lee at defensive end. Jozwiak beat out fellow freshman Brynjar Gudmundsson, who played well in relief of injured starter Mark Popek last week. Lee, with just one tackle all season, made good on the coaches' decision, with six tackles, most of any Bulls defensive lineman.